New East Digital Archive

Good manors: fantasy homes of the new rich, Belarus-style

12 December 2014

Driving through the suburbs of Minsk, photographer Vitus Saloshanka, a Belorusian native who moved away in 2001, was struck by the way in which familiar places had changed. “I saw something I’ve never seen in Minsk before,” he says. “Contrast, social differences.” Dozens of new country houses had popped up in the fields outside the city, which, at a distance, resembled castles transforming the landscape into a kind of distant fantasy land. This was not the suburbia he recalled. “The houses belong to the first wave of businessmen or leaders, who made money easily and quickly, and who wanted to show their individuality,” says Saloshanka. But for the photographer, they were more than just a manifestation of the obsessions of the nouveau-riche. They were also a sign of the times. “The houses represent a new sense of self-awareness in Belorusian society as well as a search for a new cultural identity. Who are we? Where are our roots? How is this expressed in the form of architecture?”

See the first part of Vitus Saloshanka’s project on Minsk here.