GDL in the end of XVII century by the eyes of the Czech Jesuit
Jirzhi David - Czech Jesuit
, who in 1686-1689 was the head of the Catholic mission in Moscow. In 1690, after the expulsion of the Jesuits by Peter the Great of Russia he issued a treatise entitled to present state of Great Russia or Muscovy (Status modernus Magnae Russiae seu Moscoviae). Critical edition of this work was published in 1965.
... Brest is already Lithuania, the Collegium belongs to Poland. The whole town is a wooden, full of Jews, out there they have a famous synagogue, and in the day when I arrived, they got away with killing two soldiers. Brest has a monastery of United Basiliyan and bishopric, which is headed by Leo Zalensky, a former student in the theological Faculty in the Alamovka. He is also the Bishop of Vladimir and Kiev's protothronius. I visited his Russian department and the monastery.
From Brest to Nisa (Slonim?), nearly thirty miles. The road goes mostly through the forest, and six miles to go only through the forest. On this road it is impossible to buy anything, only from Jews in towns. Here on the plain, is a Carthusian monastery, which looks like a palace. Also in Zhirovichi a monastery of the United Basilians, known in Poland for the famous icon of the Virgin Mary. And so Zhirovichi is more like a village. Nissa - sprawling city, where once had our College, but the descendants of the landlord confiscated the land, that was left is a wooden residence for 4 people. From Nisa to Nesvizh is ... miles. Nesvizh is a fairly large city, but was ruined by Moskovians. There is the residence of the Radziwill princes and a house of third our parish in Collegium. In half a mile or less is there a hill, where is a Church of St. Michael, who, I was told, on this site dispersed the Moskovians that were going to Poland. Now that the church house parish third, moved from Collegium. From Niasvizh to Minsk eighteen miles. The road is mainly on the plain. Minsk is a really big city, even divided on upper and lower. Its suburb is full of Jews. We have a residence there for twelve persons. In a small temple of the residence you can see the image of the Virgin Mary, which was carried by Moskovians, but [people] say that [Virgin Mary] told somebody to return it to Minsk. And so it happened. There are some great monasteries of the Dominicans, Franciscans, Benedictines and United Basilians.
From Minsk to Mogilev is forty miles, and almost all the time there are forests and swamps. At the inn, which has always belonged to the Jews, there is nothing to buy, just as was mentioned above. Mogilev - a small city, partly of stone on a high mountain. Beneath it, a huge wooden suburb stretches far, it takes a full bed river Berezovka [author probably mixed up Dnieper with the Berezina] People here mostly Schizmatyks [Orthodoxes(Eastern)-derog.]. We have a residence there and serve the mass in the parish church. From Mogilev to Kadyn? 14 miles. The road is dangerous through the water. The area there has hills covered in forest.
To Minsk you can go two ways. The first way goes through Shklou, two or three miles, and the road is shorter and more convenient. Shklou is wooden city, which lies on the river Barysfen, wich you need to cross. Again it was full of Jews, and Schizmatyks mixed with Catholics. There is also a monastery of the Dominicans. From there Kadyn 12 miles. The second way is through Orsha, the road is though longer than trough Mogilev, but not as forested. Everywhere on this road, inns and villages occupied by the Jews. Orsha - a small town, population is mostly Schizmatyks. What we have there is a squalid wooden Collegium, which is open to raids of Moskovians. Berezovka divides around the castle, whose ruins stick on the hill. To Kadzyn 12 miles and the same from there to Smolensk. But Kadyn lies on the border of Lithuania and across the river begins Muscovy, or rather the Smolensk province, which used to belong to Lithuania. Kadzyn, a tiny wooden town, we'll see two large ambassadorial houses where settled the ambassadors, who travel to Moscow. The surroundings are occupied by Jews, who here, like everywhere else, live in great numbers. A lot of other city residents are Schizmatyks.
... Another route from Wroclaw to Warsaw more convenient ... From Warsaw to Vilnius 80 miles, the path a little more difficult to find the shelter and almost always in Jewish inns. From Vilnius to Minsk, about 30 miles across the plain, but the wetland. And there is little that can be bought. Everyone who comes here must deal with the fact that in every Polish and Lithuanian city, especially if there are Homestead of a noble, is required from each traveler the fee, regardless of how good the road or not, or bridges have to repair or not . Thus, we have numerous problems.