old place Benica known in history since the mid-15th century. At first, the settlement consisted of several scattered farmsteads. Some of them belonged to Tatar families, and some belonged to representatives of the local nobility, among whom were the Volovichi, Oleshkevich, Komarov, Ostroukhi and some others, constantly arguing about the boundaries of their small estates. Such disputes did not subside; sometimes issues were resolved by purchasing the lands of a neighbor, and sometimes by force. However, by 1653, Benitsa completely came into the possession of a representative of the Kotsell family, Samuel Hieronymus. Under the Kocells, a Bernardine monastery would subsequently be founded in Benice and built Trinity Church, and also laid out the family estate.


The construction of the church began on the orders of Michael Casimir Cozzel, perhaps one of the most famous representatives of this family. After completion of the work, Benitsa becomes one of the most important residences for the Cozzels.

Benitsa Napoleon Horde
The estate of the Kocells and Shvykovskys, drawing by Napoleon Orda 1875-77

To build their future palace, they even invited the Italian architect Carlo Spampani, who by that time had already completed the estate Radziwillimonty for the Radziwills.

What did the estate in Benitsa look like?
This is what the Kotsell manor house looked like, photo from the first half of the 20th century. Source: be-tarask.wikipedia

Spampani's wooden version of the Cotzell manor was probably completed in 1781. The house was made of larch, had one floor on a stone base, but with a high attic. On the sides of the main entrance there were small symmetrical wings, and the dominant feature was a rather modest portico on 6 Doric columns. Unusually, this wooden palace stood until the outbreak of World War II.

Benitsa strachannaya spadchyna
1900, photo from their archive Izabella Parowicz

At the same time as the manor house, outbuildings also appeared in Benice. Among them, a one-story sviran stood out (pictured below), located opposite the main entrance of the palace. The building had an atypical narrow rectangular shape and a porch reminiscent of the front portico of a house.

Benica sviran
Sviran Kotselov. Source: Museum of Photography in Krakow, photograph taken after the First World War.

The estate was surrounded by a large landscaped park, on the territory of which there were several picturesque ponds.

Where was the Kotell manor in Benica?
This is what the former estate looks like today

The last owners of the Benitsa estate were the Shvykovskys. After nationalization, the church and Orthodox church began to be used as warehouses, and a collective farm grew up on the territory of the estate complex. Some of the ancient buildings of the Kocells continued to be used right up to the 90s, but today the only reminder is the ruins of an unknown building made of rubble stone.

Ruins of the Kotelov estate

Finding the place where the palace stood can only be done by comparing old and modern maps; there are no clues on the landscape. Now it is quite difficult to imagine that there was once a rich courtyard on this site.

Lost Heritage - Kotzell Manor
Presumable place where the estate stood
Syadziba and Benitsy
Syadziba Kotselau da 1918, krynitsa: be.wikipedia.org

Interesting fact: near the road leading from the estate to the center of Benitsa, there was once a memorial column in honor of the constitution of May 3, 1791. Similar objects were found throughout the territory Belarus, they were mainly placed by estate owners; apparently the Kocells were no exception. The column, like the palace, has not survived to this day.

Memorial column in Benica

The best thing to remember is that the Shvykovskys once lived on these lands and the Kotsells serve Church of the Intercession and Trinity Church.

Benitsa Church of the Intercession

Trinity Church in Benica

Below is a point with the place where the estate was located:

If you are in these parts, I recommend stopping by Lebedevo to look at the interesting neo-gothic chapel.

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