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The first hall of the museum is a hall dedicated to the castle period of Ruzhany. Since ancient times, the owners of the castle were the ancient Orthodox Belarusian Sapieha. The most outstanding representative of the clan is Lev Sapega – Chancellor of the GDL, the creator of a unique code of laws – the Statute of 1588, a copy of which can be seen in the museum. He studied at the University of Leipzig. It was in Germany that Lev Sapega changed his religion from Orthodoxy to Calvinism. A few years later, he takes Catholicism and the Orthodox clan Sapeg becomes Catholic. Lev Sapega bought Ruzhany place in 1598 and immediately expressed a desire to build a castle there. To do this, he invited the Florentine architect Santi Gucci, who builds three floors of cellars, pours an artificial earthen hall, and builds a stone castle in the Renaissance style from above. Lev Sapega was very fond of books – in his home library there were about 2800 books. Some of them can be seen in this hall of the museum. Also in the museum there is a unique exhibit: the original of the seal of the genus Sapere of the 17th century. The youngest son of Lev Sapieha Kazimir Lev Sapega achieved the place of the town of Ruzhany with the Magdeburg right – the ancient European right of self-government in 1637. In 1644 Vladislav IV Vaza, the king of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, visited Ruzhany together with his wife. They are with their court. There were so many guests that they simply did not fit in the castle, and they had to evict the local residents of Ruzhany from their own homes. It was the beginning of January – the fierce winter reigned, but it did not bother anyone. About the arrival of high guests, the festivities lasted nine days. The Queen’s maid of honor received a ring of gold with emeralds, and Cicelyna herself was given so much gold that he had to be carried in a separate cart. Sapieha enjoyed great influence in the Commonwealth, which was not liked by representatives of other magnate families, in particular the Radziwills. During the internecine war the town of Ruzhany was destroyed to the ground, and Sapieh Castle was burned down. Evidence of these bloody events are in the museum: bullets, a spearhead, stone cores. Almost the entire archaeological layer of that time was packed with bullets – how cruel this internecine war was. The next room of the museum is dedicated to the palace period. This period is associated with the activities of Alexander Sapieha. He was very fond of entertainment – together with his wife they even founded a court theater in Ruzhany. It is Alexander Sapega who invites to Ruzhany the young Saxon architect Jan Samuel Becker, in order that he built a palace here. And Jan Samuel Becker erects a palace in the style of late classicism with elements of baroque and rococo. Copies of the drawings can be seen in one of the windows of the museum, and the original is in the Warsaw National Library. One of the most unique exhibits of this time is the stamp cartouche, which was crowned by the entrance gate through which visitors enter the museum from 1772 to 2008. He was removed before the restoration. It is in excellent condition, and this attracts the attention of visitors. In the same room is the exact model of the Ruzhany Palace. On the first floor of the main building there were offices in which the most important questions of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania and the ballroom were being decided. On the second floor there were guest bedrooms, as well as the rooms of Sapieha itself. If a nobleman came to Ruzhany, he was taken here. From the main building there were two arcades, which were connected in the Eastern and Western corps-twins. The Eastern Corps – or the theatrical-manezhny, was divided into two parts. In one there was an arena for horses, and in the second – a theater. The theater was truly unique for its time, because its scene allowed to change the scenery during the performance three times. It was there that the last king of the Commonwealth, Stanisław August Poniatowski, came. The building opposite is the Western Corps. It housed an archive, a library and a gallery. By the way, there are several theories about the Western Corps. Some scientists believe that it was not built at all, others – that it was only laid, and still others believe that it did not last long. In the eastern wing there was a chancery, and in the western wing there was a guard. After Alexander’s death, the estate passes into the hands of his son – František Sapieha. His favorite pastimes were the squandering of parental money in London and Paris, in Ruzhany he, because of his complicated relationship with his father, practically did not live. It is František who surrenders the Eastern and Western buildings to the Jewish family of Pinos who organize the cloth production in them. The next owner is Eustace Sapieha. The fate of Eustache was determined at a time when he decided to support the gentry uprising of 1830-31. Unfortunately, it was suppressed, and the perpetrators were punished by confiscating property. Eustace Sapieha was forced to emigrate to Britain, and the above-mentioned genus Pinosov simply took advantage of the moment and bought out the whole palace.

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