A friendly country to Russia, which was not lucky enough to become a transport hub due to political differences and the cessation of air travel, but which gladly welcomes guests and tourists … Of course, we are talking about Belarus. It will be possible to get there in 2021 from Russia both by plane and by train, but for travelers-motorists the borders are still closed. All travelers must have a PCR test and a passport – Russian or foreign.
Let’s figure it out together which points of interest should be marked on the map of the capital – Minsk, so that …
- Marvel at the monumentality
- Understand the history of the city
- Join the art
- Learn modern Minsk
Marvel at the monumentality
Minsk was very unlucky – during the war years it was badly wounded during the bombing and practically destroyed, so in the post-war years it was decided to build a new, shining city. The scale of the idea is obvious already at the railway station, where travelers are greeted by two towers in the Stalinist Empire style – the so-called “Minsk Gate”. A 10-minute walk from them begins Independence Avenue: 8 km between the former Lenin Square and Victory Square. On the way, you will come across the following interesting places:
Government House, and next to it – the sudden red church of Saints Simeon and Helena. Seeing a church on a socialist street is quite unexpected, but this particular church was very lucky.
Main post office: be sure to send someone a postcard with a beautiful stamp. Sending to Russia costs about 1.7 Belarusian rubles (50 Russian rubles).
GUM: dare to go inside, enjoy the atmosphere of the past in the buffet and on the marble staircases, and don’t be afraid of prices. If you get to the sale, you can profitably buy goods from Belarusian manufacturers.
October Square and the Palace of the Republic: places of worship, the very center of the city.
Park named after Yanka Kupala: named after the Belarusian poet, is notable for the atmosphere of relaxation in the center, as well as the opportunity to ride a bike, feed squirrels and look at the Svisloch River.
Victory Square: no less hidden underground than above, where the Victory Monument is erected and the Eternal Flame is burning. In the passage to the metro station there are commemorative plaques with names and a memorial wreath. The metro, by the way, is worth a visit: in Minsk they approached it on a communist scale and built underground palaces with “correct” slogans and Lenin.
Understand the history of the city
But, of course, Minsk is not only monumental Soviet buildings. You can see how diverse this city can be here:
The Upper Town and Trinity Suburb: the stylization of the Old Town located by the river is a kind of authentic houses, hostels, museums and cafes, mixed with an old pharmacy, antique shops and second-hand bookshops. The place is touristy, but cozy.
8 Marta Square: the historical center of the city, where the Cathedral is located. You have probably seen this white building in the photographs from Minsk, as if rising upward is an Orthodox church. Next to it is the center of Catholicism in Minsk, the Church of the Virgin Mary – another white temple, no less delicate and aesthetic.
Pishchalovsky Castle: a sight to be seen from the outside. This castle was built at the beginning of the 19th century as a prison and has always functioned exclusively in this sense. It looks scary from the outside – walking in the center, you will definitely notice it.
Join the art
There is no shortage of museums and theaters in Minsk, so the main thing is to choose where to go. The coolest museum is, of course, the national art museum. Here you will find Belarusian masters, portraits of the oldest family of Belarus – the Radziwills, and Russian painting – an interesting mix worth visiting. Among the theaters, the local “Bolshoi” is worthy of at least an external inspection: it is called that – the National Academic Bolshoi Opera and Ballet Theater. There – for the classics, and for something more unique – in the small Kupalovsky theater, to watch “Pavlinka”.
There are also many beautiful places for recreation in Minsk: firstly, you can hover on the Ferris wheel in Gorky Park, and this is good entertainment not only for children. Secondly, take a walk in the two-storey Osmolovka district – here post-war small houses coexist with old trees, and all this is a 10-minute walk from the noisy Victory Square. Thirdly, you can leave the center and visit the Loshitskiy park – pure relaxation in an escape from the bustle of the city.
Learn modern Minsk
The best impressions remain for those who are trying to get into the rhythm of the city. Three places that are definitely in the top among local connoisseurs:
A loft-style street living on the site of the factory buildings: everything is very craft, street food and creative. Once upon a time there was a gallery of contemporary art “Ў”, but in October 2020 it was closed, so for interesting things – to Kozlova Street, where the second item of this collection is located, namely:
The main gallery where you can see contemporary art – both works of artists of the twentieth century are exhibited here, as well as completely new and slightly insane exhibitions.
First, there is an observation deck and several art galleries. Secondly, the building is a bit futuristic both outside and inside. Thirdly, it is worth going on a tour, even if you don’t want to read anything or work in the coworking space: the library is a little more than just books.
Minsk is very different, like Belarus itself, so come and get acquainted – it is interesting and beautiful here!
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