A country friendly to Russia, which was not lucky enough to become a transport hub due to political disagreements and the cessation of air travel, but which gladly receives 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 the borders are still closed for motorists. All travelers must have a PCR test and a passport, Russian or foreign, with them.
Let's figure out together which points of interest should be marked on the map of the capital – Minsk, in order to…
- Amazing monumentality
- Understanding the history of the city< /li>
- Join art
- Get to know modern Minsk
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 already evident at the railway station, where travelers are greeted by two towers in the Stalinist Empire style – the so-called “Minsk Gates”. A 10-minute walk from them begins Independence Avenue: 8 km between the former Lenin Square and Victory Square. Along the way, you will come across the following points of interest:
Government House, and next to it – a sudden red church of Saints Simeon and Helena. It is rather unexpected to see a church on a socialist street, but this particular church was very lucky.
General Post Office: Be sure to send someone a postcard with a nice stamp. Sending to Russia costs about 1.7 Belarusian rubles (50 Russian).
GUM: come inside, enjoy the atmosphere of the past in the buffet and on the marble stairs 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.
Yanka Kupala Park: named after the Belarusian poet, it 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 is hidden underground than at the top, where the Victory Monument is installed and the Eternal Flame burns. In the passage to the metro station there are commemorative plates with names and a memorial wreath. The metro, by the way, is worth a visit: they approached it in Minsk on a communist scale and built underground palaces with the “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:
Upper Town and Trinity Suburb: Stylization of the Old Town located by the river – a sort of authentic houses, hostels, museums and cafes, mixed with an old pharmacy, antique shops and used bookshops. The place is touristy but cozy.
8 March Square: the historic center of the city, where the Cathedral is located. You have probably seen this white building in the photographs from Minsk, as if ascending upwards – this 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 openwork and aesthetic.
Pishchalovsky Castle: a landmark that is best viewed 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. From the outside it looks creepy – walking around the center, you will definitely notice it.
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. There are Belarusian masters, portraits of the oldest family of Belarus – the Radziwills, and Russian painting – an interesting mix worthy of a visit. Among the theaters, the local Bolshoi is worthy of at least an external inspection: it is called the National Academic Bolshoi Opera and Ballet Theater. There – for the classics, and for something more unique – to the small Kupala Theater, to watch “Pavlinka”.
There are also many beautiful places to relax in Minsk: firstly, you can hang out on the Ferris wheel in Gorky Park, and this is good entertainment not only for children. Secondly, take a walk around the two-story 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 Loshitsky manor park – pure relaxation in an escape from the bustle of the city.
Get to know modern Minsk
The best impressions are those who try 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 crafty, street food and creative. Once there was a gallery of contemporary art “Ў”, but in October 2020 it closed, so for interesting things – go to Kozlova Street, where the second point of this selection is located, namely:
The main gallery where you can see contemporary art – both works by artists of the 20th century are exhibited here, as well as completely new and slightly crazy exhibitions.
The National Library
First, there is an observation deck and several art galleries. Secondly, the building is a bit futuristic both outside and inside. Thirdly, it's worth going on a tour, even if you don't want to read anything or work in a coworking space: a library is a little more than just books.
Minsk is very different, like Belarus itself, so come and get acquainted — it's interesting and beautiful here!