In the city Birch, Brest region, the legacy of the GDL times has been preserved - monastery of the Carthusians. Founded in the middle of the 17th century, a huge monastery complex today is a ruin. However, despite the rather abandoned view, this place can be safely included in the top of the most interesting sights of Belarus. Therefore, if you are in these parts, I highly recommend stopping by. 

Ruins of the Carthusian monastery in the city of Bereza

The monastery itself included: Church of Saint Joseph (partially survived the bell tower), entrance bram (restored) the cells of the Carthusian monk brothers, a refectory, a library, a hospital, a pharmacy, large and small outbuildings.

Interesting places in Belarus - Bereza

How did it all begin?

The history of the construction of the monastery is connected with the activities of the family Sapiehato which place Birch passed into possession in the first half of the 17th century. V 1646 year monks from Gdansk Kartuzov sent a letter Leo Sapieha, in which they stated a request to settle on lands Sapieha and found his own monastery. Lev Sapega was distinguished by his special piety and enthusiastically accepted the request of the monks of the Carthusian order. Bishop Gemblitsky gave the appropriate permission, after which the chancellor was visited by monks who chose birch site for a future monastery. So in 1648 year construction of one of the largest religious complexes on the lands of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania begins.

Monastic complex of the Carthusians Bereza

The Carthusians were one of the numerous Catholic orders founded around 1084 of the year Shatrezach near french Grenoble. The basis of the idea of ​​the Cartesians was the renunciation of worldly affairs, rigid asceticism and solitude, including prayers. The monks put in the forefront the development of their physical and intellectual abilities through everyday work.

Monastery in Bereza

Work on the monastery was carried out during forty years old, under the personal control of Lev Sapieha (later his son Kazimir), who even invited an Italian architect to implement this grandiose project.

Sights of Belarus - Monastery in Bereza

Berezovsky monastery

Abandoned places of Belarus - monastery in Bereza

Monastery of the Carthusians в birch served not only as the abode of the spiritual, but also as a receptacle for the wealth accumulated by the order. Servants of the order proved to be usurers who were approached for financial assistance. Years after the completion of the construction, the Berezovsky monastery became known as the largest estate, on which about 2500 peasants worked. The order owned two brick factories, a sawmill, a manufactory for the manufacture of tiles and lime. A tannery, half a dozen mills and numerous brovary.

Carthusian monastery in Bereza

Monastery of the Carthusians

Monastery ruins in Bereza

The monastery of the Carthusians in Bereza was periodically captured and destroyed. So during the Northern War, the beginning of the 18th century, the monastery was completely plundered. The 19th century did not become a new heyday Berezovsky Carthusians. After the monks supported the uprising of 1830, the stage of repression began. First, residential buildings were taken away from the monks and handed over to the Russian military. Then, after the uprising of 1863, the monastery was abolished. The buildings began to be disassembled into bricks, and new barracks were built from it. By that time, the church had already begun to collapse and looked neglected.

Church of the Carthusians in Bereza

Order of the Carthusians in Belarus

Architecture

The monastery was located in an area that was distinguished by some isolation and isolation, which completely suited the order. The architecture of the complex had a pentagonal shape and belongs to the style mature baroque. The buildings of the complex are spread over 50 hectares of land. The part of the ruins that can be seen now is only 1/5 of the real size of the monastery.

Monastery in Bereza

20th century

At the beginning of the 20th century, some of the buildings of the former monastery were still quite functional. It is believed that in the 30s the buildings were partially restored. monks-pallets. However, this period can hardly be called a “new heyday”. Until 1939, a camp for political prisoners operated on the territory of the former monastery complex.

old photo of the monastery in Bereza
Main building, photo by Mikołaj Rozanow, from the Globus of Belarus website

The main building of the monastery in Bereza

In the sixties, the complex again passed to the military, who did not particularly follow the monastery buildings. As a result, the whole complex is a ruin. The only exception is broad bramawhich was restored after 2012.

Gate of the monastery in Bereza

Gate of the monastery in Bereza old photo
author of the photo: Mikołaj Rozanow, from the site: Globe of Belarus

Brama of the Carthusian monastery in Bereza

It is difficult to say what fate awaits this unique architectural monument. Birch - a rather interesting tourist destination, especially since the M1 highway is located nearby. True, the years go by, but since my last visit (5 years ago), visually nothing has changed. One gets the impression that the locals do not care much about this object. Below are some more photos from different periods:

Fortress wall Bereza

Brama and part of the wall in Bereza

The ruins of the monastery in Bereza

Monastery in Bereza

Pushkin Street (exit to Komsomolskaya) leads to the ruins of the Carthusian monastery. Entrance to the territory is free, there is parking for a car nearby.

Not far from Bereza is the agricultural town of Peski, where you can see the unique gate of the Puslovskys, as well as their family estate.

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