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What was feared in Minsk 100 years ago?

Added Thu, 22/04/2021
Дата публикации
Thu, 03/03/2016

In 1901, Dorofey Bohan's book "Minsk Legends and Legends"was published. Some of them he heard from old-timers, some, apparently, came up with himself. Part of the legends he presented in verse form. All the legends are scary, mystical, these are stories about the most mysterious places in Minsk.

What places in the city were Minsk residents afraid of? First of all, it is the Sviloch River.

 The whirlpool on Svisloch, from which the mermaid comes out. It's like the girl was drowned here by her own mother when they fell in love with the same guy. Here-Water, not funny, as in the famous cartoon, but terrible: he sobs at night, remembering his unfaithful wife, with whom he once threw himself into the pool, so that she would not go to another.

This fear of Svisloch is quite understandable. Every year, suicides and careless bathers drowned in it. Svisloch threatened even those who were afraid to swim in it. During the spring floods, the territory of the current Pobediteley Avenue near the Sports Palace (former Tatar vegetable gardens and Ludamont) was flooded. The Rakovskoe Suburb, part of the Upper Town and the Central Avenue, was also flooded.

The current carried old huts, farm buildings, dead cattle, poultry, and rats through the city. The press of that time wrote that some owners, returning home a few days later, saw pigs in the house, who were escaping from the water on the master's beds.

Once Minsk amateur photographers, whose houses, apparently, did not touch the disaster, happily photographed a wooden toilet, which was carried out by water for the citizens to see. However, there was little joy in those days.

"There is salvation from fire — water, but there is no salvation from water,"an old Minsk woman always said in her family.

Komarovsky swamp — another unlucky, mysterious place

Devils and evil spirits lived in the swamp, and people disappeared in the swamp. Bohan devoted two legends to the Komarovsky swamp in his book.

One is about an old monk from the castle monastery, who, having managed to distance himself from all passions, could not get rid of one thing — the craving for gold.

During the prayers, the ghost of the robber began to appear to him. Once again seeing the ghost, Monk Anthony decided to dismantle the floor of the temple in that place. And he found a coffin, and next to it a chest of gold. At this moment, a cry was heard in the church: the fool Fedka Komar somehow made his way into the church.

Antony had to promise Fedka half the gold for his silence, but first of all, the gold had to be hidden from the brothers. They went to the swamp to bury the box: they crossed the Nemiga, Svisloch, passed through the Gatehouse — and turned into a thicket of acacia, hazel and fern.

At the last moment, when the hole for the casket was already dug, the monk regretted giving Fedka the promised gold. Then Fedka Komar suddenly turned into the same ghost from the church, laughed demonically, and the monk Anthony began to fall into the ground with his casket. So he disappeared. And the Komarovsky swamp was named after the mysterious Fedka.

Another legend is associated with the old tavern on Komarovka, at the exit from the city, which by the end of the XIX century was already abandoned, writes Dorofey Bohan. Behind the tavern was an unknown grave.

Her origin was rumored to be connected with a Jewish sorcerer, a tavern keeper named Itsko, a peasant girl and her fiance. Old Itsko fell in love with a peasant daughter, Anna, began to woo, and when she rejected his advances

(Don't be equal, you filthy Jew,

With Vanya dear,

You won't buy poor Anna

With your gold) —

he'd used his magic to drive her crazy. The unfortunate madwoman was buried on Komarovka: at the Borisovsky tract, behind the Komarovskaya tavern.

The anti-Semitism of the Belarusian peasants, fueled by the Russian Black Hundreds, "settled" in the swamp next to the traditional demons and spirits — other "strangers", i.e. Jews.

Unhappy love locals explained another memorial sign that stood in the area of Nemiga Street, between the current streets of the King to the Collector.

The monument is solid, made of slabs, the origin of which, however, has disappeared from the memory of Minsk residents. At the end of the XIX century, it was said that it was a monument on the grave of brothers who killed each other after falling in love with a girl.

Another creepy place for our ancestors is, of course, a cemetery. The legend of the "best of the local Christian cemeteries" — the Golden Hill — Dorofey Bohan wrote down from the words of a local resident, "not vouching, of course, for the historical fidelity of the predicted".

This is the legend of the cruel tycoon Z., who inspired fear in all the surrounding area, but eventually began to repent and donate to the construction of temples to save his soul. He decided to decorate the old wooden chapel in the cemetery on the Golden Hill.

He ordered the icon from a local artist, completely forgetting how unfairly he had once offended him. The artist painted an icon, and on it-an incredibly beautiful all-seeing eye with a tear on its eyelashes. The magnate liked it so much that he regretted giving the image to the church and hung it in his bedroom.

He did it in vain: one night the icon lit up, and when the count began to run away, it flew after him and chased him until he stumbled on the bridge and fell into Svisloch, where he drowned. And the icon seemed to be in the chapel at the Zolotogorsky cemetery.

In the legends, as in the mirror of time, his fears, vices, needs are reflected. Modern Minsk residents will not be afraid of the mysticism of a century ago, many of the ideological images of that time are outdated for us. But places with an extraordinary aura, associated with mysterious stories, have remained in every modern city. And for us, educated and well-read, there is still something that remains beyond understanding. What we're afraid of, what we can't explain.

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