Photo of the Day for June 30, 2014

June 29, 2014 7:00 pm

Expedition to the concentration of ethnotoponyms (ethnically-, tribally- or geographically-related toponyms) around the district center of Ljakhavichy (Ляхавічы) in western Belarus (part VII):  Rusinavichy (Русінавічы).

Rusyns (Ruthenes, Ruthenians) were Slavic inhabitants of Rus’ (Kievian Rus’), territory later incorporated into the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth and now lying in Ukraine and Belarus.  The train station in Rusinavichy is named after the Rejtan (Рэйтан, Rejtan) family.  Tadeusz Rejtan was a patriot of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, famous for his 1773 gesture of defiance against the first partition of the Commonwealth; the former Rejtan estate and mausoleum at Hrushauka (Грушаўка), a great pilgrimage site for all who treasure the history of the Commonwealth and the patrimony of Belarus, lies just a few kilometers to the northeast of the station.

Вандроўка па этнатапонімах вакол Ляхавічаў (частка VІІ):  Ятвезь, Вялікая Лотва, Літва, Туркі, Сакуны, Ляхавічы, Русінавічы, Жомайдзь (Клецкі р.), Мазуркі, Цыгань, Літоўка, Русіно.

Train station.  Вакзал.

Photos of the Day for June 29, 2014

June 28, 2014 7:00 pm

Expedition to the concentration of ethnotoponyms (ethnically-, tribally- or geographically-related toponyms) around the district center of Ljakhavichy (Ляхавічы) in western Belarus (part VI):  Ljakhavichy (Ляхавічы).

Ljakhavichy, a district center of 11,000 people in Brest Region, derives its name from the word Ljakh (Лях), meaning Pole:  Lech was the name of the legendary founder of the Polish nation.  The many place-names across Belarus containing variations on the name Ljakh (Lech) attest to the eastward migration and settlement of Poles in the Middle Ages.

Ljakhavichy’s renowned and long-impregnable fortress was dismantled ignominiously in the early 19th century under  Russian imperial occupation.  Like most other cities in the region, Ljakhavichy had a large Jewish population and the city’s main square retains several 19th-century buildings of typical Jewish masonry construction.  The Soviet regime destroyed or desecrated two Roman Catholic churches in Ljakhavichy; since the early 1990s new Roman Catholic and Orthodox churches have been built.

Вандроўка па этнатапонімах вакол Ляхавічаў (частка VІ):  Ятвезь, Вялікая Лотва, Літва, Туркі, Сакуны, Ляхавічы, Русінавічы, Жомайдзь (Клецкі р.), Мазуркі, Цыгань, Літоўка, Русіно.

Mausoleum of the Saltan family (1830s), Ljakhavichy cemetery.  Часоўня Салтанаў (1830 гг.), ляхавіцкія могілкі.

Mausoleum (19th century), Ljakhavichy cemetery.  Часоўня (19-а стаг.), ляхавіцкія могілкі.

One of a series of formerly Jewish-owned 19th-century brick buildings lining the city’s main square.

Photo of the Day for June 28, 2014

June 27, 2014 7:00 pm

Expedition to the concentration of ethnotoponyms (ethnically-, tribally- or geographically-related toponyms) around the district center of Ljakhavichy (Ляхавічы) in western Belarus (part V):  Sakuny (Сакуны).  The village of Sakuny lies right across the road from Turki and just two-and-a-half miles (four kilometers) from Ljakhavichy.

The Sakuny were a sub-group of the Dryhavichy  — one of the principal Slavic tribes who from the early Middle Ages inhabited lands now part of Belarus.  The Sakuny lived principally along the River Ptsich (Пціч) and its tributary Aresa (Арэса, Раса) in central and south-central Belarus.  They were called Sakuny because they pronounced the reflexive pronoun “sja” (ся) as “sa” (са).  Descendants of the Sakuny continue to live in, and carry on Sakuny traditions in, several villages of Staryja Darohi (Старыя Дарогі) District of central Belarus.  I have not been able to find out when Sakuny in Ljakhavichy District was settled, nor did I have time to visit the Sakuny cemetery; however, there are graves in Ljakhavichy cemetery with the surname Sakun.

“Belarusians” (“Беларусі“), an album of photographs of Belarusian ethnographer Isaac Sjerbau (Ісак Сербаў), has a selection of his photos of Sakuny from 100 years ago.

Вандроўка па этнатапонімах вакол Ляхавічаў (частка V):  Ятвезь, Вялікая Лотва, Літва, Туркі, Сакуны, Ляхавічы, Русінавічы, Жомайдзь (Клецкі р.), Мазуркі, Цыгань, Літоўка, Русіно.

У фотаалбуму “Беларусі“ магчыма глядзець цудоўныя фатаграфіі Сакунаў здыманыя ў другім дзецяцігоддзі 20-а стагоддзя этнографам Ісакам Сербавам.

Granny Zina (90), Sakuny 2014.  Спадарыня Зіна (90), Сакуны 2014 г.

Photos of the Day for June 27, 2014

June 26, 2014 7:00 pm

Expedition to the concentration of ethnotoponyms (ethnically-, tribally- or geographically-related toponyms) around the district center of Ljakhavichy (Ляхавічы) in western Belarus (part IV-b):  Turki (Туркі).

Place-names derived from the word Turk or Tatar are spread widely across Belarus; evidence suggests that Tatars and other Turkic peoples first settled in the Grand Duchy of Lithuania early in the 14th century at the invitation of Duke Gediminas.

Вандроўка па этнатапонімах вакол Ляхавічаў (частка ІV-б):  Ятвезь, Вялікая Лотва, Літва, Туркі, Сакуны, Ляхавічы, Русінавічы, Жомайдзь (Клецкі р.), Мазуркі, Цыгань, Літоўка, Русіно.

Granny Maryja is 90 years old.  I was able to take her a copy of this photo a month later.  Спадарыні Марыі 90 гадоў.  Прывёз ёй копію гэтага партрэту праз месяц пасьля яе здымаў.

Those who remain in Turki work hard to keep up their homes and gardens; however, as in so many other villages many people have migrated to larger towns, leaving their homesteads untended.

 

Photos of the Day for June 26, 2014

June 25, 2014 7:00 pm

Expedition to the concentration of ethnotoponyms (ethnically-, tribally- or geographically-related toponyms) around the district center of Ljakhavichy (Ляхавічы) in western Belarus (part IV-a):  Turki (Туркі).  Place-names derived from the word Turk or Tatar are spread widely across Belarus; evidence suggests that Tatars and other Turkic peoples first settled in the Grand Duchy of Lithuania (GDL) early in the 14th century at the invitation of Duke Gediminas.

Вандроўка па этнатапонімах вакол Ляхавічаў (частка ІV-а):  Ятвезь, Вялікая Лотва, Літва, Туркі, Сакуны, Ляхавічы, Русінавічы, Жомайдзь (Клецкі р.), Мазуркі, Цыгань, Літоўка, Русіно.

View of Turki from the east.  Выгляд на Туркі з узходу.

Old Tatar cemetery.  Старыя татарскія могілкі.

I came across Maryja and Ljavon working diligently in their garden plot.  They said the Tatars who used to live in Turki have all left for Ljakhavichy and other towns; Turki is now Orthodox.  Калі прыехаў у Туркі бачыў спадарыню Марыю й спадара Лявона ў агародзе.  Сказалі, што татары, якія жылі ш Турках ужо пераехалі ў Ляхавічы й іншыя месцы.  Туркі ўжо праваслаўным.

Photos of the Day for June 25, 2014

June 24, 2014 7:00 pm

Expedition to the concentration of ethnotoponyms (ethnically-, tribally- or geographically-related toponyms) around the district center of Ljakhavichy (Ляхавічы) in western Belarus (part III):  Litva (Літва).  More than a score of villages in Belarus carry the Baltic name, or are derived from the name of, Litva.  What eventually became the Grand Duchy of Lithuania arose in the area around Navahrudak, just to the northeast of Ljakhavichy-Baranavichy.

Вандроўка па этнатапонімах вакол Ляхавічаў (частка ІІІ):

Ятвезь, Вялікая Лотва, Літва, Туркі, Сакуны, Ляхавічы, Русінавічы, Жомайдзь (Клецкі р.), Мазуркі, Цыгань, Літоўка, Русіно.

A cottage in the interwar Polish style, almost expressionist in its offset porch and front door.  Хата польскага міжваеннага стылю, нагадвае экспрэсіянізм у сваім зрушаным ганку.

World War I German bunker.  Нямецкі дот з Першай сусьветнай вайны.

Photos of the Day for June 24, 2014

June 23, 2014 7:00 pm

Expedition to the concentration of ethnotoponyms (ethnically-, tribally- or geographically-related toponyms) around the district center of Ljakhavichy (Ляхавічы) in western Belarus (part II):  Vjalikaja Lotva (Вялікая Лотва).

Вандроўка па этнатапонімах вакол Ляхавічаў (частка ІІ):  Ятвезь, Вялікая Лотва, Літва, Туркі, Сакуны, Ляхавічы, Русінавічы, Жомайдзь (Клецкі р.), Мазуркі, Цыгань, Літоўка, Русіно.

Examples of the variety of gable symbols and window lintels in Vjalikaja Lotva.  Шчыты й ліштвы ў в. Вялікая Лотва.

Photos of the Day for June 23, 2014

June 22, 2014 7:00 pm

У радыусе менш за 20 кіламетраў ад Ляхавічаў па Ляхавіцкім, Баранасіцкім і Клецкім раёнах знаходзіцца прынамсі 12 этнатапонімаў, якія адлюструюць некалькі з этнаграфічных слаёў адметнай культурнай спадчыны беларускай нацыі:  Ятвезь, Вялікая Лотва, Літва, Туркі, Сакуны, Ляхавічы, Русінавічы, Жомайдзь, Мазуркі, Цыгань, Літоўка ды Русіно.  На працягу наступных двух тыдняў Radzima Photo будзе паказваць дзымкі з веснавой вандроўкі па гэтых 12і гарадах ды вёсках.  Пачынаем з вёскай Ятвезь (Баранавіцкі раён).

Overshadowed by by 450 years of Russian state imperialism and by more ebullient expressions of Polish, Ukrainian and Lithuanian nationhood, Belarusian nationhood is nevertheless as rooted and specific to itself as the other three.  One of the marks of the rich texture and organic development of the Belarusian nation is the number and location of ethnotoponyms — towns and villages with place names referring to ethnic, tribal or geographic identity of peoples who settled in the region from the early Middle Ages to medieval times.   The area of Ljakhavichy, Baranavichy and Kletsk Districts in western Belarus is notable in this regard.  In a radius of less than twenty kilometers (12 miles) from Ljakhavichy there are at least a dozen ethnotoponyms reflecting some of the tribes and ethnic groups out of which the Belarusian nation formed itself:

Ruthenian/Rus’:  Rusino (Русіно), Rusinavichy (Русінавічы);

Polish:  Ljakhavichy (Ляхавічы), Mazurki (Мазуркі);

Other Slavic:  Sakuny (Сакуны);

Baltic:  Jatvjez’ (Ятвезь), Zhomajdz’ (Жомайдзь), Litva (Літва), Vjalikaja Lotva (Вялікая Лотва), Litouka (Літоўка);

as well as Tatar (Turki/Туркі) and Gypsy (Tsyhan’/Цыгань)

Normally one finds an ethnotoponym as a sign that a village of one ethnic group was surrounded by villages of another, more numerous ethnic group or tribe.  What the concentration of various ethnotoponyms around Ljakhavichy and Baranavichy reflects is the intense interest in settling this area on both sides of the River Shchara (Шчара), a major left-hand tributary of the River Njoman (Нёман),  and how thoroughly mixed the major groups became.

The photos over the next two weeks follow the itinerary of a day-long mid-spring expedition to these twelve towns and villages.  We start here with Jatvjez’ (Baranavichy District), one of several such-named villages in Belarus.  The Jatvjez’ (Jats’vjahi – Яцьвягі) were a Baltic-language tribe whose area of settlement included what are now large portions of western Belarus.   Jatvjez’ in Baranavichy District contains two parallel main streets, unusually widely-separated by cultivated fields.

The Orthodox church of St. George, built in 1994, has traditional vernacular-style cupolas instead of the unfortunate and alien golden onion domes which the Moscow Patriarchate-dominated Orthodox Church in Belarus is intent on imposing on new and historic churches alike.  Царква Сьв. Юр’я (1994 г.), з укаранелымі ў беларускіх традыцыях бунькамі замест іншаземных залатых цыбулінаў.

Photo of the Day for June 22, 2014

June 21, 2014 7:00 pm

Procession, feast of the Resurrection, Al’homjel’ 2014.  Хрэсны ход, сьвяток Уваскрашэньня, Альгомель 2014 год.

Moving counter-clockwise in the Orthodox tradition, the procession stops on all four sides of the church during the third and final circuit for a reading from the Gospels and blessing of parishioners with holy water.

Photo of the Day for June 21, 2014

June 20, 2014 7:00 pm

Feast of the Resurrection, Al’homjel’ 2014.  Сьвяток Уваскрашэньня, Альгомель 2014 год.

Here, in a profound example of Christian and pre-Christian synchretism at the end of the service, parishioners kneel to let the icon, borne at the head of the procession, pass over them.