The two-storey Gomel palace of Field Marshal Pyotr Rumyantsev was built between 1777 and 1796 to a Neoclassical design attributed to Ivan Starov. The palace replaced the ruined castle of Gomel's previous owner, Michael Frederick Czartoryski. The central part is surmounted by a square belvedere with a wide flat dome. The six-columned Corinthian portico faces an extensive English park. The main portico is placed on a high platform and is supported by four Corinthian columns.
After Pyotr Rumyantsev's death in 1796, the grounds were slowly improved by his son Nicholas (1754-1826). His brother Sergei was the next owner. He was never interested in country housekeeping and promptly sold the palace to the crown (1834). Gomel was immediately purchased by another Field Marshal, Ivan Paskevich, who had both the palace and the park substantially renovated. He employed architect Adam Idźkowski to add a four-storey tower and a three-storey wing to the existing structure.
After the Russian Revolution the palace was nationalized to house a local museum. Paskevich's daughter-in-law Irina had to move from the palace into an ordinary flat. The buildings sustained heavy damage in the Russian Civil War and World War II. They were shared by the Gomel History Museum and the local pioneers' palace until the late 1990s. The current Neoclassical interiors result from a late 1990s restoration campaign.
The park contains a modern statue of Count Nikolay Rumyantsev. The original marble statues of Euripides, Venus, Athena, Ares, Bacchus, and the Nymph were lost. It was only in 2006 that the replacement statues were put in place. The Paskevich art collection also boasted several paintings by Ivan Kramskoi, Marcin Zaleski, and January Suchodolski, as well as a marble bust of Count Rumyantsev by Antonio Canova.
The bronze equestrian statue of Prince Joseph Poniatowski by Bertel Thorvaldsen, which Paskevich had brought from Warsaw as a trophy in 1842, was dismantled by the Poles during the Polish-Soviet War and transported back to Warsaw, only to be destroyed by the Germans in the 1940s. Its copy stands in front of the Presidential Palace, Warsaw.
Other buildings on the grounds are the Russian Revival chapel with the tombs of Ivan Paskevich and his family, a winter garden (which originated as Prince Paskevich's sugar-mill), several subsidiary outbuildings, and a set of cannons captured by Paskevich's soldiers in the course of the Russo-Turkish War (1828–1829).
By far the most conspicuous landmark in the park is the Neoclassical church of Sts. Peter and Paul. It was commissioned by Count Nikolay Rumyantsev from architect John Clark in 1809 but was not consecrated until 1824. The church is the seat of the local Orthodox bishopric.
An image of the residence is featured on the Belarusian 20,000-ruble bill.References:
The Old Town Hall of Wrocław is one of the main landmarks of the city. The Old Town Hall's long history reflects developments that have taken place in the city since its initial construction. The town hall serves the city of Wroclaw and is used for civic and cultural events such as concerts held in its Great Hall. In addition, it houses a museum and a basement restaurant.
The town hall was developed over a period of about 250 years, from the end of 13th century to the middle of 16th century. The structure and floor plan changed over this extended period in response to the changing needs of the city. The exact date of the initial construction is not known. However, between 1299 and 1301 a single-storey structure with cellars and a tower called the consistory was built. The oldest parts of the current building, the Burghers’ Hall and the lower floors of the tower, may date to this time. In these early days the primary purpose of the building was trade rather than civic administration activities.
Between 1328 and 1333 an upper storey was added to include the Council room and the Aldermen’s room. Expansion continued during the 14th century with the addition of extra rooms, most notably the Court room. The building became a key location for the city’s commercial and administrative functions.
The 15th and 16th centuries were times of prosperity for Wroclaw as was reflected in the rapid development of the building during that period. The construction program gathered momentum, particularly from 1470 to 1510, when several rooms were added. The Burghers’ Hall was re-vaulted to take on its current shape, and the upper story began to take shape with the development of the Great Hall and the addition of the Treasury and Little Treasury.
Further innovations during the 16th century included the addition of the city’s Coat of arms (1536), and the rebuilding of the upper part of the tower (1558–59). This was the final stage of the main building program. By 1560, the major features of today’s Stray Rates were established.
The second half of the 17th century was a period of decline for the city, and this decline was reflected in the Stray Rates. Perhaps by way of compensation, efforts were made to enrich the interior decorations of the hall. In 1741, Wroclaw became a part of Prussia, and the power of the City diminished. Much of the Stray Rates was allocated to administering justice.
During the 19th century there were two major changes. The courts moved to a separate building, and the Rates became the site of the city council and supporting functions. There was also a major program of renovation because the building had been neglected and was covered with creeping vines. The town hall now has several en-Gothic features including some sculptural decoration from this period.
In the early years of the 20th century improvements continued with various repair work and the addition of the Little Bear statue in 1902. During the 1930s, the official role of the Rates was reduced and it was converted into a museum. By the end of World War II Town Hall suffered minor damage, such as aerial bomb pierced the roof (but not exploded) and some sculptural elements were lost. Restoration work began in the 1950s following a period of research, and this conservation effort continued throughout the 20th century. It included refurbishment of the clock on the east facade.