• Vadim Sidorovich

Story and photos of Haliandernja in Naliboki Forest

In the beginning of 18th century on the right banks of the river Vusa there were settled down several Dutch families from the Netherlands. The particular place of their settling was a plot of dry land of about 20 hectares in the confluence of the Vusa river with the small river Kramanitsa that is outlet of the Kroman' lake. Also, that place was situated in the downstream of confluence of the Vusa river and the river Bystraja. The Nioman big river was on the distance of about one kilometer only and that place was actually within the Nioman valley.

That sort of Dutch settlers had certain privileges in land acquiring in the Great Lithuania (the former state in the area), and they had to produce cheese and thus to carry this culture to the Lithuanians. This production required a lot of milk and respectively keeping of many cows. In this place in the large valley of the river Nioman as well as in other valleys of the mentioned rivers there were meadows, grassy marshes and large swampy clearings. That was very convenient area to raise cows. That is why this place was chosen by the Dutchmen not by chance. Thus, a small settlement, that is called Haliandernja (haliendry means Dutch people in Belarusian), appeared there and it still exists.

Nowadays, Haliandernja is a small hamlet having three separate houses. There are only two permanent inhabitants of about 60-65 years old (man and his wife). The two other houses looks like abandoned ones, but actually they have owners, who live somewhere in towns. The living persons are seemingly retired and they have got well-developed house economy that includes horse, cow, pigs, poultry, dog and cats. Every warm season white stork couple nests on the family yard. The nest is situated on the roof of cellar.

Road at Haliandernja hamlet, Naliboki Forest, 2017

On the above photos that were taken in January 2013 you see the living house and yard of Haliandernja as well as on abandoned house (below at the right).

The road that is coming from the Haliandernja hamlet to the Bor village that is situated on the distance of 2.5-4 km from Haliandernja. You see the last inhabitant of Haliandernja, who is driving hourse to the Bor village.

In the period from the late 18th century and till the First World war in Haliandernja there were water mill with sawmill in the same building and well as tavern. The right drawing was done by Anna Sidorovich and the right one by Valiantsina Tsiekhanovich.

Floating bridge across the Nioman river on the way to Haliandernja and further to the Naliboki borough from the left side of Nioman that was somewhere between the Kupijsk village and Liubcha borough. The Haliandernja hamlet was an important place at the road, because there were mill, sawmill and tavern. Photo was taken by Jan Bulhak in 1910.

Russian officiers and soldiers in Haliandernia after hunting on hares in the hamlet surroundings, Naliboki Forest in October 1916. Photo from the collection of Yury Tsekhanovich.

Aliaksandzier Zurawiel and a friend of him, Gutman after hunting on waterfowl in the Nioman valley. They stayed nearby Zurawiel’s house in the Haliandernia hamlet, Naliboki Forest, late summer of 1930. Photo from the collection of Henryk Zurawiel.

Aliaksandzier Zurawiel was a forester in the hamlet of Haliandernia that was situated at the large Nioman valley near the river Bystraya, behind which, towards Naliboki Forest, stretched a huge grassy marsh. The family of Aliaksandzier Zurawiel lived in Haliandernia in a small house of a poor peasant type. His wife was Pawlina, a member of the family of the Hryhartseviches, exactly from the family of Biernard Hryhartseviches from Naliboki. Aliaksandzier with Pavlina had two sons Henryk and Jury. His duties were typical for the forester: led forest accountings, apportioned forest plots for tapping, firewood, for harvesting of wood for construction, in general managed forest exploitation and forest plantation in his forest terrain, carried out some management support in hunting affairs and did many other smaller odds. Aliaksandzier Zurawiel liked to hunt and spent a lot of time doing that. His family was not wealthy at all. Living in a small house in Haliandernja, Aliaksandzier spent most of the earned money on a new house in Liubcha. However, he did not have a chance to live in his new house. Together with other Polish forest officials and their families, Aliaksandzier Zurawiel and his family in February of 1940 was sent to Siberia. After the Soviet Amnesty of Polish officials in August 1941, all of them went to Persia and Aliaksandzier died quite young in Tehran. Pavlina and her sons gradually reached the UK, where Henryk and Jury still live.

Forester Aliaksandzier Zurawiel from the Haliandernja hamlet with wolf killed in Naliboki Forest, December, 21, 1930. Note in Polish on the back of the photo. Photos from the collection of Henryk Zurawiel.

Peasant with white stork fledgling on his yard in the Haliandernja hamlet in 1949. Photo by Uladzimir Datskevich (from the collection of Mikola Cherkas).

The Bystraya river in the place that is not faraway from the Haliandernja hamlet. The photo was taken by Ivan Daniliuk in 1949 (from the photo collection by Mikola Cherkas).

The remains of the Vusa river at its confluence with Nioman (at the right) and old river bed of the Vusa river in the place (at the left) that is not faraway from at the Haliandernja hamlet in the 1960s. Photo were taken by Anatol' Famiankow in 1967.

The Kramanitsa river nearby its mouth in the Vusa river at the Haliandernja hamlet still in the 1960s. Photo were taken by Anatol' Famiankow in 1967.

Huge oak perhaps of 4-5 century old that was growing at the forest edge bordering with the Nioman valley nearby the Haliandernja hamlet still in the 1960s. Photos were taken by Anatol' Famiankow in 1967.

The last remainders of the Vusa river bed in the Haliandernja locality, Naliboki Forest, 2015. The downstream of the Vusa river ( in the downstream of the Kliatsishcha village) was deteriorated in the 1860s, when the Zhowta-Niomanski and Shubona-Niomanski canals were built for the facilitation of bog ore mining and its transportation from the Hala Balota and Krasnaye localities to the iron husbandries in the villages of Kliatsishcha and Rudnia Nalibotskaya as well as for the transportation of iron and iron ware from there to the Nioman big river. Since the beautiful medium-sized river, which was very high in the habitat carrying capacity, became disappearing. It has been really the beginning of crashing of the main ecological treasure of the Naliboki terrain, more specifically the huge wetlands that was situated between the Vusa river valley from the east to the Banakava river from the north-west and includes several really large swamps mainly in the localities of Pawdniovaye Wiunishcha, Krasnaye, Hala Balota and Kazialiets.

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