Transformation of the village of Kamenyuki in the run-up to the Belovezhskaya Pushcha 600th anniversary festivities, 2008-2009

Events, facts, documents and evidence: The village of Kamenyuki is the administrative and tourist center of the Belovezhskaya Pushcha National Park. Kamenyuki can be thought of as composed of two parts, the one being two-storied apartment buildings along the main street and in the center, and the other, rural private houses built primarily of timber.

In the 1970ís and 1980ís Kamenyuki was considered a model, as the standard of comfort in, and appearance of, its central apartments were up to the mark set for rural communities at the time. After the breakup of the Soviet Union in the 1990ís, the villageís appearance began to deteriorate, followed by sheer dilapidation and degradation in the 2000ís. The once-model rural community very soon began looking quite unsightly. The local culture venue had been abandoned and later, demolished and removed to a dump, the street lighting systems had broken down, the wooden fence along the main street had rotted and crumbled, the asphalt of the pedestrian walks and side streets had worn out, some of the plaster and coating had come off, and many roofs had sprung a leak.

Õŗ The shots below show the village prior to the redevelopment and modernization.

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(A destination sign bearing the villageís name, October 10, 2004)
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(The part of the village consisting of two-storied apartment buildings, 1 and 2: August 4, 2004; 3: May 5, 2006; 4: March 10, 2005)
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(The part of the village consisting of two-storied apartment buildings, February 27, 2005)
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(Two-apartment houses, 1: March 31, 2005; 2: March 8, 2005; 3: February 7, 2005; 4: June 23, 2004)
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(The part of the village consisting of wooden private houses, 1: February 7, 2005; 2 and 3: March 8, 2005; 4: March 10, 2005; 5: May 10, 2005; 6: December 5, 2004; 7 and 8: October 6, 2004)
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(The part of the village consisting of wooden private houses, 1: February 7, 2005; 2: March 8, 2005)
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(Newly-built private houses, 1 and 2: October 10, 2004; 3 and 4 : October 27, 2009)

The village has a fairly large amount of greenery. Forty-year-old lindens grow along the main street. The trees smooth over the unsightly appearance of the brick buildings somewhat.

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(The linden alley, 1: August 21, 2004; 2: July 7, 2004; 3: September 30, 2004; 4: February 27, 2005; 5: March 8, 2005; 6: March 10, 2005)

The plan of preparations for the Belovezhskaya Pushcha 600th anniversary festivities in 2009 included an extensive redevelopment effort targeted at the residential buildings, various infrastructural facilities, as well as landscaping and cleanup of the communityís territory.

Interestingly, there was some initial investigation into the feasibility of changing the communityís status to a so-called agro-town (!?). You will agree that the idea sounded odd, to say the least, when applied to the administrative center of a national park. The village of Kamenyuki, surrounded by the woods, had hardly any relation to farming, with its small private gardens and growing tourism. As it turned out, according to Belarusian laws, compact construction of new homes in rural areas, the very type of construction projected in Kamenyuki, can only be funded by the state if it is in agro-towns. There were plans to build fifteen new private houses in the village. Fortunately, government intervention removed the red tape.

The shot below shows a notice posted on the village councilís building that refers to Kamenyuki as an "agro-town" instead of a "village".

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(The notice referring to Kamenyuki as an "agro-town", August 29, 2008)

You can study in detail the types of work carried out in Kamenyuki, by clicking on the hyperlinks below :

The work was supervised by district officials, and the managers and technical officers of construction organizations.

The shot below shows a notice announcing the cleanup in Kamenyuki.

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(The cleanup notice, August 6, 2009)

The shots below show officials doing a routine inspection of the sites under redevelopment.

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(Officials performing routine inspections, 1 and 2: September 5, 2009; 3: September 15, 2009)

The photographs below show the changes in the appearance of Kamenyuki following the landscaping, renovation and infrastructural modernization effort.

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(The renovated houses as seen from the front, late August to early September 2009)
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(The renovated houses as seen from the back, late August to early September 2009)

These photographs show the renovated main road with the linden alley along it.

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(The renovated main road, late August to early September 2009)

Here is how the side streets looked after they were renovated.

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(The renovated side streets, September 15, 2009)

General view of the village after the renovation.

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(A general view of the village after the renovation, late August to mid-September 2009)

These photographs show the entrance to the village from a distance.

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(A general view of the village from a distance, 1: September 27, 2009; 2 and 3: November 2, 2009)

All in all, Kamenyuki received an extensive facelift, its appearance undergoing a noticeable positive transformation.