Taking up photography now and, for example, 100 years ago is a completely different matter. Any centuries-old photographs are highly valued among collectors and enthusiasts. In addition, such photographs help to see familiar and not so familiar places in a completely different light. Of course, this also applies to attractions (historical sites). In this article I want to talk about the photographer Teofil Eugenius Boretti whose photographs depict many iconic places of our country. Theophilus Boretti was born on December 17, 1860, in Warsaw. His family had Italian roots, his father worked as an architect, and his mother raised children. It is interesting that in the Boretti family several brothers were interested in photography, and also an uncle who even had his own professional photo workshop in Minsk, operating until 1898.

Theophilus Eugeniusz Boretti
Theophilus with his wife Stefania, source: be.wikipedia.org

Theophilus also decides to open his own photo studio and chooses Nesvizh for work. Since 1890 he has been actively traveling around the territory Belarus, shoots a lot of landscapes, architecture and of course people.

Separately, it is worth highlighting his series of photographs and subsequently book-album “Widoki stron rodzinnych Adama Mickiewicza” (“The beauty of Adam Mickiewicz’s native places”). Boretti presented this album in Lvov, the work was appreciated, but unfortunately only one copy of this edition has survived to this day.

album “Widoki stron rodzinnych Adama Mickiewicza”
scan from ebay site

There were other albums with photographs, including those dedicated to places in Slutsk, Novogrudok, and Nesvizh districts. Theophilus died in 1910, at the age of 49. His photographic works left a certain mark on history, but such glory and fame as, say, the photographs of Jan Bulgak were not found.

Sights of Belarus in photographs by Boretti


In 1894, Theophilus Boretti actively traveled around the Novogrudok region, and his route included Lubcha Castle. Pay attention to another whole part of the palace and the tower of Gothic architecture.

Lyubcha Castle photo Boretti 1894

Castle of Kishek and Radziwills in Lyubcha


Another object of the Novogrudok region, which Theophilus preserved in his photographs in the best possible way - utility yard Murovanka in Shchorsy.

Murovanka, Shchorsy in Boretti's photo from 1894


Thanks to old photographs from the late 19th century, you and I have the opportunity to see iconic historical objects before they were completely rebuilt. For example it looked like this Nesvizh Town Hall.

Old photo - town hall in Nesvizh

Nyasvizh town hall

And here is another attraction of Nesvizh - Slutsk Gate.

Old photo of Nesvizh Boretti

Nesvizh Gate

Mir castle

Of course one of the most important tourist sites of our country could not go unnoticed by the traveler-photographer. It's nice to see that some places look even better than they did 130 years ago.

Mir Castle old photo

about the castle


Ruin Novogrudok Castle и Church of the Transfiguration of the Lord Theophilus Boretti photographed it from a popular angle.

Castle in Novogruduk photo Boretti

Mindovga Castle Novogrudok


In the photographs Boretti can be seen as beautiful estate of the Kashitsa family “Obrina”, which has survived to this day in the form of ruins of outbuildings. Today this is the village of Pervomaiskaya, Korelichi district.

Manor Kashitsey "Obrina"

This is what the place where the palace was located looks like today:

The place where the manor of the Kashitse family was located


Manor and park complex of the Radziwills in the town of Polonechka.

Polonechka old photo from 1894

Homestead in the village of Polonechka


When I spoke about the pricelessness of old photographs for history, I was not exaggerating. For example wooden palace of the Radziwills, which burned down in the second half of the 20th century, and today is completely lost.

Manor of the Radziwills “Radziwillimonty”

Former estate of the Radziwills Red Star

Great Court

Classic estate with a manor house in the town Great Court was built by representatives of the Brokhotsky family. Theophilus Boretti also visited here, documenting not only the estate before major reconstruction, but also the chapel-tomb and dovecote.

Garadzeya, Siadziba Brakhotskikh

The estate of the Brokhotskys "Gorody" in the Great Courtyard


The picture shows neatly protruding towers Church of St. Anne in Voroncha. On this trip, Boretti visited the Merzheevskys, whose estate he also photographed.

Church in Voroncha in a photograph by Boretti

Church of St. Anne in Voroncha village


It would be appropriate to admit that Boretti also has some rather strange photographs that do not reveal this or that object. Perhaps the author was simply not allowed on the threshold of one or another palace-estate (oh Theophilus, how familiar this is) or the trees of the park did not allow him to choose a good angle? We no longer know the truth. So one of the most beautiful and massive classical palaces in the old photo looks cropped by 2/3.

Dreams photo Boretti


It’s sad, but some historical objects no longer exist in reality, but this only increases the value of old photos. The list of such places includes the lost Obukhovichi-Chapsky Palace in Svoyatichi.

Photo Boretti Belarus


There is a similar story with the Tuganovichi estate, where the Vereshchakov estate was located. In the photo below you can see part of the landscape park and the greenhouse.

Tuganavichy old photo


Did you know that Rogachev had its own castle, built in the first half of the 16th century, on the banks of the Dnieper? This building has not survived to this day.

Rogachev Castle in the photo Boretti


Restoration and reconstruction of religious buildings are often carried out on the basis of old photographs. As an example - unique town hall in Chechersk.

Chechersk Town Hall

Chechersk Town Hall

Lake Svityaz

At times, Theophilus Boretti also took up landscape photography. In his photographs you can see a variety of parks, natural monuments and even lakes. Look at the photo of the mystical Lake Svityaz.

Lake Svityaz old photo from 1894

Lake Svityaz


The Church of the Holy Great Martyr Barbara has a rather unusual pseudo-Gothic architecture and in some ways even resembles a small castle. During the Soviet years церковь blew up, but enterprising people in the early 2000s were able to restore this unique architectural monument.

Boretti photo of Belarus


Theophilus Eugeniusz Boretti traveled not only around the central part of Belarus, but also went to distant cities; below is a photo of the Resurrection Church in David-Gorodok (the church has not survived).

Davyd-Garadok zdymak Boretti

Of course, these are not all the photographs of attractions that the photographer took - there are many more of them.



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