Did you know that once upon a time Molodechno had its own Triumphal Arch? It was built in the first half of the 20th century, on the border of the then town and farm Gelenovo. It all started with the fact that for the Polish military in these parts since 1922 a military camp was built where the garrison of the 86th Infantry Regiment (Minsk Rifle Regiment) was located. The number of inhabitants increased rapidly, which in fact led to the fact that in 1929 year Molodechno received the official status of a city. In the same year, they solemnly opened and Molodechno Triumph Arch, the construction of which was carried out in honor of the head of the Second Polish Republic Jozef Pilsudski.

Where was the Triumphal Arch in Molodechno?
Approximate placement of the arch in the modern landscape

The arch looked really impressive and was called "Minsk gate". From the side of the old part of the city, passers-by saw statues of knights and lions, and along the edges there was a small balustrade of Doric columns (four each). The walls were decorated with bas-reliefs on various military themes.

Triumphal Arch of Molodechno
1929 source: Narodowe Archiwum Cyfrowe Poland
Where was the arch in Molodechno?
1938 year
source: Kolekcja Zofii Żurawskiej

On the other hand, the gate attracted attention with its second level, where there was a small chapel, from where the chaplain blessed the soldiers during military celebrations. At the very top of the arch for some time there was a statue of a knight with a sword and a raised torch, but back in the 30s the sculpture was dismantled, replaced with a flagpole.

Triumphal arch in Molodechno on old photos
1930 year
source: Narodowe Archiwum Cyfrowe

There are several versions and assumptions on the Internet about exactly where the arch was located. All of them differ literally by meters. A good reference point is the house down the street Masherova 2, the gate was located almost on the same level with it.

Stop Drama Theater Molodechno

Polish arch in Molodechno
Approximately at this place there was a gate, view from the side of the stadium (reverse part of the arch)

A curious story is connected with the chapel, which was in the arch, or rather with its bell. After the city Molodechno became part of the BSSR in 1939, all Polish attributes and statues were dismantled. The bell was no exception. Then many of these items disappeared from view for a long time, remaining forgotten in warehouses and in the Houses of Culture. And then suddenly this bell is found in Minsk, at the address Independence Avenue 16, in a house with a clock tower.

The lost heritage of Molodechno
Photo taken after 1930
Old photo of Molodechno, view of the arch
1933 year
source: archivist Uladzimer Sadovskag from molodechno.net

In Soviet times, although the arch was devoid of decorative frills, it still remained intact. At the foot of the gate, they decided to keep the statues of lions, on which children of that period so loved to be photographed.

The situation began to change in the 60s, when Molodechno began to grow more and more. The former Gelenovo, which used to be considered a suburb, is now very close to the new city center.

Arch in 1950
This is what the arch looked like in the 50s, there was a bus station right there

After the construction of the regional highway P56 was completed, they were already actively talking about the fact that the Minsk Gate should be demolished. Main reason - it is difficult for oncoming cars to pass in a narrow arch. Alternative solutions to the problem were not considered and in the early 60s the Arc de Triomphe was demolished.

Triumphal Arch in Molodechno
Photo from the late 50s

Today, no reminders of this unique monument have been preserved. Although a few years ago, a beautiful sign with a stylized image of an arch and the inscription “Gelenovo” hung at the Drama Theater bus stop.

Stop Drama Theater Molodechno
The sign was in the top left corner.

Suddenly you want to see this place, below is a mark on the map with the coordinates where the gate used to be.

In the old part of the city you can see the former Trinitarian monastery and Church of the Intercession.

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