You can't tell at first glance, but Derechin, Zelvensky district, is an old place with a 600-year history. In addition to classic sights like церкви и neogothic church there are also mysterious lost objects in the agricultural town - Dominican monastery и Palace of the Sapieha family. Both of these structures were located in the very center of Derechin and formed the building. Thanks to old photographs and drawings, today we can find out what these buildings looked like.

The lost heritage of Belarus: the klyashtar in Derechin
Drawing by Napoleon Orda from 1877. It shows a church already partially dismantled into bricks.

Although Derechin is called one of the main residences of Sapieha, there were prominent owners before them. So the monastery of the Dominican order with a baroque church was built at the beginning of the 17th century with the support of Polubinsky Konstanin Alexandrovich, clerk and marshal Slonimsky. Initially, this complex was made of wood, but by 1690 it was rebuilt in stone.

The place where the Dominican church was in Derechin

What the monastery in Derechin looked like
Zdymak crushed the mills ў 1913-20; from the Kalektsy Kazimier Lachnovič, from the site be-tarask.wikipedia

In 1742, the church in Derechin was re-consecrated in honor of the Ascension of the Most Holy Virgin Mary, apparently that period was the heyday and maximum rise of the monastery.

The Lost Legacy of Derechin
The foundation and the crypt of the church still remain underground on the site of the monastery.

It is known that the monastery operated until 1832, after which it was closed. The Derechi church existed until 1863 (possibly 1867), after which it was unexpectedly destroyed by fire. Local parishioners petitioned for the construction of a new Catholic church, but they were denied this.

The Lost Legacy of Derechin
View of the buildings from the side of the new church, old photo from the first half of the 20th century, source: (Kazimier Lachnovič)

The monastery buildings and an unusual bell tower stood in Derechin for quite a long time - they were dismantled already in the post-war years.

Derechi Dominican Monastery
View from the main street (a good landmark in the area is the new neo-Gothic church)
History of the agro-town Derechin
At this place there was a monastery and a church in Derechin

Today, on the site of the ancient monastery, there is a “Sapegaўskі” park, there are information shields, as well as 2 memorial mounds. More information about the lost history of Derechin can be found in the local museum, where there is also a collection of old photographs.

Palace in Derechin in the painting by Napoleon Orda
Another painting by Napoleon Orda, it depicts a palace and a monastery

It is curious that the secrets of Derechin do not end there either. It is known that there was a memorial column near the tower of the church (visible in the picture below), but what is unusual is that there were at least 3 such columns in the place. Only one has survived, the one in the village of Aleksichi.

Column near the church in Derechin

Ruined church in Derechin

Below is a point with a mark of the place where the Dominican church and monastery were located:

If you are in these parts, I recommend to go look at Church in Zelva and former Palace of the Radziwills in Dyatlovo.

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