Two small wooden houses
In the center of Minsk, almost opposite each other, on the opposite sides of the river Svisloch, two almost identical wooden houses are situated. Both were constructed in 19th century. Both have a great historical value nowadays. They are - the house - museum of the artist Valentij Vankovich and the House - museum of the First congress of RSDWP (Russian Social-democratic Working Party).
The museum of classicism (The house of Vankovich)
Almost in the center of modern Minsk the modest private residence held out. Experts consider it to be the pearl of the architecture of the beginning of 19th century: as repeatedly researches confirmed, this house is constructed in strict conformity with the canons of classicism, according to the proportions of "golden section". Sometimes citizens of Minsk even don’t notice it because of the heap of modern stone buildings. But if suddenly they appear in front of a blue facade with snow-white columns, they are amazed with the harmony of the building.
The house was constructed at the end of 18th century and belonged to the brother of the artist Valentij Vankovich well-known far outside Belarus. V.Vankovich's talent was pointed to since his childhood, during his education in the Polotsk Jesuit College and the Vilna University. Being the best pupil, he was sent to the Petersburg Imperial academy of arts to perfect himself. There he was noted: his works got gold and silver medals of the academy. Because of the lack of money the artist could not continue his study abroad, as it was usual at that time, and returned to Minsk. Here he became famous for the portraits of his contemporaries, most famous of which is the portrait of the poet Adam Mitskevich.
In the House of Vankovich the life of the beginning of 19th century is recreated: the furniture of the typical estate of a landowner, with studies, drawing rooms, portrait galleries. The house - museum is the branch of the National art museum. Now only the main house of the estate is built up. According to the plan of restoration, two wings and the fence of all plot of the estate will be restored.
Valentij Vankovich lived a short life. When Valentij was 42 he died in Paris where he visited his friend A. Mitskevich. The artist left the enormous gallery of excellent romantic portraits. Only small part of them was kept in the museums and private collections of England, France, Italy, Poland, Lithuania, Russia and not a single on the native land.
The museum of communism (the House of the 1st congress of RSDRP)
On March, 14, 1898 in the house of the railway worker Peter Rumjantsev, that stood on the river Svisloch, not far from the main city highway - the street Zaharjevskaja (nowadays it is the Skorina Avenue), an event, long years considered fatal for 1/6 part of the Earth and even for a world community, took place. Here the creation of the Russian social-democratic working party (afterwards - the CPSU), having changed the destiny of mankind, was proclaimed.
However, Bolsheviks themselves did not recognize the First congress of the Party for a long time. The matter is that it occurred in the absence of the young leader Uljanov (Lenin), (he was in deportation at that time), and basically collected the social-democrats of pro-Western orientation. Lately it was announced, that the congress had only symbolical value; it set the beginning of the numeration of congresses and announced the name of the party. Neither the rules, nor the program of a new communist party were accepted. Purposes also remained obscure. The Congress was conducted silently, secretly, in the eye of the police, under the guise of the name-day party of Olga Mihajlovna Rumjantseva.
Nevertheless by the 25-anniversary of the congress that small house was transformed into a museum. During the war the house was completely destroyed, but, after the release, it was built up in the first place. Now its exposition is interesting not only for the fans of the history of communistic movement, but also as the museum of the life of the end of 19th - the beginning of 20th century.