The Brothers Tyszkiewicz

The first son Konstanty was born in the family of Count Pius Feletsianovich Tyszkiewicz in 1806. Besides him there were two more sons and a daughter in the family: Eustachy, Florian and Pawlina. The brothers Konstanty and Eustachy left behind an invaluable heritage for future generations.


Historians say that their father greatly influenced the upbringing of children. He was a well-educated person, who was interested in history; made genealogy records. He was also a good householder and he easily resolved economic problems.

Ludmila Shut:

Once in the early twentieth century my grandmother visited Logoysk for some affairs.
At that time, the Tyszkiewicz Palace stood in the center of the settlement. It was surrounded by amazing lime alleys, large rose flower beds, lovely gazebos. Everything was beautiful and had a well-groomed look. Near the palace there was a glade for the festive gatherings on public holidays. Historians say that there was no such order in other estates.

When Konstanty and Eustachy were quite small, a lot of interesting, creative people came to visit the Tyszkiewicz family. One of them was Napoleon Orda, a musician and artist. His most famous work was the drawing of the Tyszkiewicz Palace. Pius Feletsianovich was a musical person. He played the violin and the harmonica, that was popular at that time. Haydn’s and Mozart’s music was always played in the palace. Besides, Pius Feletsianovich made friends with a famous musician Osip Kozlovsky. The family often came to Krasny Bor to visit a composer and pianist Florian Miladovsky. Moreover, their father told a lot about the history of their homeland and their family.

The first museum in the country

Their father knew the value of a good education and he was determined to give his sons the best schooling possible. Konstanty graduated from the Jesuit College in Polotsk, and then the Zabelsk Theological College in Vitebsk region. But he received the most significant education at the University in Vilna (Vilnius). He graduated from Vilnius University and got a law speciality. The eldest son was the first heir in the family at that time. So Konstanty decided to return to Logoysk, to his roots. In his homeland Tyszkiewicz began to search rare things and gather collections for home museum. Eustachy helped his brother with all matters. They walked through the outskirts of Logoysk and excavated mounds and a churchyard.

eramic Portraits of the Brothers Tyszkiewicz

Ceramic Portraits of the Brothers Tyszkiewicz

Despite his old age, their father helped them sometimes. He was in his eighties at that time. As the whole Pius lived 102 years.
The Brothers Tyszkiewicz took up at first two and then three rooms of the palace for the museum. Most of the exhibits were found during excavations; others were presented by friends. In 1842 the Brothers Tyszkiewicz opened a private home-museum in Logoysk. It was the first museum in Belarus. It seemed not to be enough to them. Thus they wanted to create a national museum.

Logoysk was a part of Russian Empire at that time, so Konstanty petitioned to Petersburg for permission to open a national museum. Two cities were offered to place the museum: Minsk and Vilna. The long-awaited permission from Petersburg was granted three years later. It was decided to open a national museum in Vilna. Brothers took out the exhibits on the carts as there were no cars and good roads in those difficult days. Each of the exhibits was of a great value, and transportation of the exhibits required great caution. Theи «museum» way was the following: Logoysk — Ostroshitsky town — Krasnoye — Molodechno — Smorgon — Oshmyany — Vilna. It is inconceivable that the Brothers Tyszkiewicz had to go many miles for their honourable work.

On their way back Konstanty and Eustachy visited their sister in Radoshkovichi and then went home to their old father. The Museum of Antiquities (Muzeum Starożytności) was opened to the public in Vilnius (Vilna) one year later. Archaeology, numismatics, old books and documents were presented in an exposition. Much attention was paid to Ethnic Culture. Today, unfortunately the museum does not exist: everything was lost irretrievably. The major part of valuable exhibits was taken to other countries, something got lost in hard times.

journey-cruise on the Vilia river

Before his journey-cruise on the Vilia river Konstanty Tyszkiewicz was interested in rivers Gaina and Berezina. He studied the landscape, the depth of the river, settlements and got acquainted with local people. An interesting story has come up to our days. While traveling on the river Gaina Konstanty happened to hear singing of villages. Standing on the same riverside, all people of one village began to sing and the people of the other village joined up the singing. So they called to one another. In 1856 Konstanty started building the fleet of five ships to sail on the river Vilia. The aim of the expedition was to mark the settlements on both sides of the river, measure the depth of the river, explore a relief and landscape, record legends and tales.
The Tyszkiewicz coat of arms was placed on the main ship called «Mary».

The ship «Mary»

The ship «Mary»

Two other vessels were named «The Adjutant» and «The Profit». Two more vessels had no any names- those were the auxiliary ships. All the vessels were built in Logoysk and then dragged to the village Kameno. It was just the place where the famous journey-cruise started. This resulted in the book «The Neris and its Banks».

Book. The riversides of Vilia

The title page of the book «The riversides of Vilia»

In the afternoon on the 5th of June, 1857, there were lots of people near the bridge over the Vilia. The whole flotilla rocked on the river. It was evident that a real expedition was arranged. But there was a great mistake in the construction of the ships: an acute raised keel could be used only in deep water but in no way in the shallow river Vilia. «The Profit» was the first vessel which could not remain standing on the water. A small flat-bottomed vessel,called laiba, appeared instead. It was given to travellers by Mr. Snezhko, a landowner of the neighboring manor. Immediately after the sailing off, the ship «Mary» ran aground on a sandbank. So they had to replace the vessel again.

Sketch. The ship «Mary» ran aground

Sketch. The ship «Mary» ran aground

Cast off… One of the members of this expedition was the famous river transport worker Basil Buslavsky Sapezhko, who knew rapids and rocks along the river banks very well.

There were also a surveyor Jerzy Shantyr and an artist Martel Yanushevich. This scientific expedition explored the river Vilia for four months: from Kamensky Bridge to the mouth of the river — 682 miles. There was the research supported by the detailed program. The upper Vilia up to the village Kameno was investigated by the other team that went along the river on foot. They held a lot of archaeological excavations, recorded legends, songs and tales. The travel archive was deposited to the library of the scientific community of Vilnius. The results of this research provided the basis for the book of Constantine Tyshkevich «The riversides of Vilia». But the author did not have occasion to see his book. Three years later, after his death, the book «The riversides of Vilia» was published in Polish in Dresden thanks to the efforts of the Polish writer and historian Joseph Ignatius Kraszewski. This local monograph became a result of enthusiastic and selfless work of a remarkable scientist and his associates.

The book «Memory. Vileyka region». Natalia Efimova

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