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Very close to the Belarusian-Lithuanian border between Smorgon and Molodechno is a small town of Zalesye. Today it looks like a provincial agro-town, although there you can see the interesting interior of the railway station and the statue of the Virgin Mary nearby. But 200 years ago the glory of Zalesye rattled throughout the district. The place belonged to one of the richest families of the Commonwealth – Oginsky. Thanks to the most famous representative of this family – Michael Cleophas Oginsky – Zalesye became the center of culture throughout Vilnius Region and even got the name “northern Athens”.

Representatives of the Oginsky clan bought these lands in the second half of the 18th century. Originally the palace looked quite different. He was passed on from generation to generation until he went to his uncle Mikhail Kleofas Oginsky – Xavier.

Xavier Oginsky rarely visited Zalesye and, in addition, had no heirs. So he transferred his possessions to Michael Cleophas, who managed his estate on his own. As it turned out, this was a very correct decision.

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