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The Palace of the Rumyantsevs and the Paskeviches is a unique landmark in the heart of Homiel and one of the most popular attractions of the country. In the end of the18th century Belarusian lands became part of the Russian Empire. Empress Catherine II gave Homiel to her favourite, General Field Marshal Piotr Rumyantsev-Zadunaisky, for his outstanding victories in the war against Turkey. He decided to replace a wooden castle of previous owners, the Chartaryjsky family, with a new two-storey neoclassical residence on the bank of the river Sozh. The construction took more than 15 years. In the early 1830s the palace was passed by the Rumyantsev's descendants to the state treasury. Later it was sold to a military commander Ivan Paskevich in 1834. The new owner of the palace made renovation and created an attractive park.
The park was filled with different species of trees and shrubs from all over the Russian empire and from abroad. Ivan Paskevich also ordered to build a watchtower with a clock mechanism at the top. The tower was of 32 meters high and housed a library and a rich art collection inside. The last owners were the son of Ivan Paskevich Fedor and his wife Irina. They hold splendid receptions, balls and official events, which were visited by members of the royal Romanov family. After the October Revolution the palace was nationalized and a local Museum of Art and History was created within its walls. Most of the collections were removed and sold abroad. Throughout the 20th century the palace also housed a telephone station, a library, a puppet theater, a youth center and was destroyed and restored several times.
The current interiors result from a modern restoration campaign. Nowadays the whole museum complex unites the palace, a chapel and a tomb, a winter garden, a watchtower and a picturesque old park. The ground floor of the central part of the palace has exactly the same interior as in the past thanks to the precise restoration based on historic documents. This part of the palace still houses the Column Hall, the White and Red Living Rooms and the hall of ceremonies. These rooms are still used for exhibitions, balls, concerts and meetings attended by top officials from different countries. Did you know that the magnificent park around the palace used to be a cemetery in the Middle Ages? In the 1990s, many human bones were found during the reconstruction of the basement in the St Peter and Paul’s Cathedral nearby. It is also known that Fedor Paskevich loved his dogs so much, that he even organized for them a very luxurious funeral. And nowadays you can find their tombstones in the park.
Photo: static.panoramio.com,toby.by, profi30_livejournal.com
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