If you want to touch truly old historical sites on the territory of Belarus, then you should definitely go to the village Kamai, where a unique architectural monument has been preserved - Church of Saint John the Baptist. The temple may not impress with its appearance, but its walls have preserved the history of several centuries.

Kascel Kamai

What do kamaski kascel interiors look like?

Construction of the monumental church in the town of Kamai began in 1603 under the leadership of Jan Rudomin-Dusyatsky and lasted about 3 years. As often happens, the name of the project architect is unknown.

Kamaisky church

Church of St. John the Baptist Kamai

The original version of the church looked a little different and was more reminiscent of churches in Murovanka и Synkovichi. The church also had 4 towers in the corners and as many as 3 apses. After the mid-17th century war with the Swedes, the badly damaged building was rebuilt - however, the facade remained unchanged and has reached us in its original form.

Church in the village of Kamai

The side chapel, which adds such a noticeable asymmetry to the church, was built in 1778. The crypt is located underneath it.

Kamai Crypt

Quite a lot of ancient slabs have been preserved in the crypt, some of them are the burial places of the Oshmyany marshals. There is also an interesting fact: during the examination of the Kamaia crypt in 2016, a cache with a casket was discovered where holy relics were kept; they could be dated to 1673. As you explore the church, pay attention to the casket.

Bell in the Kamai Church

Of course, what is attractive about the architecture of the ancient church is its defensive component.

Kascel at the village of Kamai

There are walls up to 2 meters thick and a harsh appearance, which is only diluted by arched niches located on the main facade and unusual round windows in the towers (originally loopholes).

Unusual Kamai windows

Door of the Kamai church

The history of the church is unique in that during the period when Kamai was part of the Russian Empire, the temple was not closed for services. This did not happen either in 1831-33 or even after 1861.

Engraving, church in Kamai
engravings on wood, vyjava kascela 1878, krynica: be-tarask.wikipedia

On the central façade of the church, it is important to note two towers, about 16 meters high and about 6 meters in diameter. Between them is a triangular pediment with arched niches and a window.

Church of John the Baptist Kamai

If you manage to look inside the temple, then in the interior be sure to examine the main altar, decorated with wooden statues of Saints Peter and Paul.

Kamai altar

Above the entrance to the temple, do not miss the ancient 18th century organ and the miraculous icon of the Mother of God, apparently painted back in 1610.

Organ in the Kamai Church

On the left wall there is a painting “Christ and the Orphan”, painted by Alfred Romer, who lived for many years on the Korolinovo estate, Postavy district. Under the painting there is a memorial plaque in honor of this artist and the Romer family coat of arms.

Alfred Izidar Romer

The modern history of the church remains a little vague. According to one version, the temple was closed during the Soviet years and returned to believers in 1985. But according to another, no, and it is believed that services were held here even during the period of active struggle against religion. Why was this possible? There is a completely rational explanation: the then rector of the church, Father Juozas Bulka, saved a famous partisan from German soldiers during the war, which earned him a good attitude from the Soviet authorities. This story has its inconsistencies, but such a version exists.

Old pasta 1916

Among the many interesting facts associated with the church in Kamai, there is this: During the Northern War, Swedish troops damaged the temple with cannonballs, which fortunately was restored. And so, as a reminder of those events, they decided to embed Swedish cannonballs into one of the walls. But I couldn’t find which one exactly.

Chapel with the crypt of Kamai

Church Kamai apse

In front of the church you can see another small attraction of the agricultural town of Kamai - a stone cross.

Stone cross Kamai village

The cross was carved from a huge granite boulder around the 15th-16th century. In the center there is a small niche for a crucifix, and at the base there is an information plaque in the form of a stone.

Kamai stone cross

The cross is approximately 2,5 meters high.

Cross in Kamai village

There is also a small park named after “Branislav Rutkoskag”.

Kryzh near the village of Kamai

In 2010-2011, the temple was actively restored, the consequences of the 2007 hurricane were restored.

Sights of Belarus Kamai Church

The Kamai Church of St. John the Baptist is active and open to everyone, below is the location on the map:

Kamai is part of a very interesting tourist route extending from the city Deep to urban area Lyntupy. I also recommend visiting Church of St. Anne in the village of Mosar and of course St. Sophia Cathedral in Polotsk.


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