What to See in Minsk (Belarus)
Minsk is the capital of Belarus. The city is located in the center of the country on the Minsk Upland. Minsk was founded in the 11th century at the confluence of the Svisloch and Nemiga rivers. It was the center of the Principality of Polotsk, and after the Tatar-Mongol invasion it became one of the main cities of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania, and later the Commonwealth. The city was badly damaged during the Great Patriotic War. In 1974, Minsk was awarded the title of Hero City.
The main historical districts of Minsk are the Upper Town, the Trinity and Rakovskoe suburbs.
According to ITYPEJOB, the upper city began to be settled in the 12th century, and in the 15th century it became the center of Minsk. In the area of the Upper Town, the largest number of historical monuments have survived to this day. Here, at the confluence of the Nemiga and Svisloch rivers, in ancient times there was a Zamchische, meaning the “beginning” of the city. Now one of the many squares in Minsk is located in its place. The current center of the Upper City is Freedom Square.. In the 21st century, work was carried out to reconstruct the ensemble of the square. Here you can see the reconstructed City Hall of the 17th-18th centuries, the Gostiny Dvor of the 16th-18th centuries, the Holy Spirit Cathedral, on the site of which the Bernardine Convent stood in the first half of the 17th century. The miraculous icon of the Mother of God is kept in the cathedral. Its author is considered St. Luke the Evangelist. During the Tatar-Mongol invasion, the icon was drowned in the Dnieper, but in 1500 it appeared on the Svisloch River. Also on Freedom Square is the current archcathedral church of the Blessed Virgin Mary, built in 1700-1710. In addition, the Bernardine monastery of 1652, the Jesuit Collegium of the 18th century, the Church of Mary Magdalene of 1847, the Exaltation of the Cross Church of the 19th century, the memorial church of Alexander Nevsky, Russia in the Russian-Turkish war of the late 19th century, the Church of St. Joseph, the House of Masons of the 18th century and the Catherine’s Church of 1613.
Trinity Suburb occupies the central part of Minsk. It got its name from the name of the Catholic Church of the Holy Trinity erected here in 1506, near which a large trading square arose. The Trinity Suburb was the outskirts of the city, where trade and craft people settled. The development of the Trinity Suburb took place at the same time as the development of the Upper Town. To this day, ancient residential buildings and a reconstructed church of the Holy Trinity with an ancient icon of the Mother of God with Jesus and a miraculous statue of St. Roch have been preserved in this area.
Area Rakovskoye Suburb is one of the most ancient districts of Minsk. It began to be settled in the 11th century. In the Rakovsky suburb there is a memorial complex “Pit” – the place of the mass execution of Jews. The obelisk dedicated to the tragic events was opened in 1946. The central place of the complex is occupied by a black obelisk, which stands at the bottom of a deep ravine overgrown with trees. Stairs lead here from the top of the ravine, along which there are monuments in the form of hunched people going to be shot. Commemorative inscriptions in Russian and Hebrew are engraved on the obelisk.
The main street of the modern city, where the most outstanding buildings of the 20th-21st centuries are concentrated, is Independence Avenue. The avenue was laid along the ruins of Minsk at the end of World War II. It has a length of 2900 m. Independence Avenue starts from Independence Square. On the square are the House of the Government of 1934, the Belarusian State University, the building of the capital’s mayor’s office and the Church of Saints Simeon and Helena of the early 20th century, popularly known as the “Red Church”. Walking along Independence Avenue, you will see the main sights of the city: the Palace of the Republic, Oktyabrskaya Square with the sign “The Beginning of the Roads of Belarus”, the Minsk Vernissage, the House of Officers and the Museum of the Great Patriotic War. Museum of the Great Patriotic War was opened during the Great Patriotic War, and its first exhibits were documents and materials of those times. Today it is one of the best museums in the world that tells about the events of the Second World War. Independence Avenue is crossed by the Svisloch River, on its banks there is a park named after Yanka Kupala. The park was laid out in the middle of the 20th century in honor of the famous Belarusian poet at the place where the poet lived from 1927 to 1941. In the center of the park there is a monument to Yanka Kupala. In 1959, the Y. Kupala Literary Museum was built in the park with a recreated interior of the poet’s house and with collections of his documents and manuscripts. On Independence Avenue is one of the symbols of Minsk – Victory Square. In 1954, in memory of the Soviet soldiers and partisans who fought against the Nazi invaders, a monument was erected on the square. It is made in the form of a 38-meter obelisk crowned with the Order of Victory, at the foot of which the Eternal Flame burns. The pedestal of the monument is decorated with bronze high reliefs and four bronze wreaths, and there is a memorial hall in the pedestrian underpass built under the monument.
There are many interesting museums in Minsk. This is the Belarusian National Museum of History and Culture on Independence Avenue, the building of which is the “pearl” of modern architecture in Minsk, the Belarusian State Art Museum with a collection of paintings of the 17th-20th centuries, the Museum of Ancient Art, the Museum of Folk Architecture and Life, the Museum of Samovars and Household Items of the 19th century and many literary museums.
Minsk is full of parks and squares. In the city, you can walk along the Gorky Central Children’s Park, where vacationers are offered a variety of attractions, the Chelyuskintsev Park of Culture and Leisure, Victory Park, the Central Square, which was formerly called the Alexander Garden, the Park of Stones and the Central Botanical Garden. The Central Botanical Garden was founded in 1932. It has an area of about 153 hectares and is one of the largest botanical gardens in Europe. Several thousand names of plants are collected here. Stone Park is located between Akademgorodok and the Uruchcha microdistricts and covers an area of 6.5 hectares. The park was laid out on the site of a former swamp and is now an open-air museum of glacial activity. Here is a collection of more than 2000 boulders that were brought to the territory of Belarus glacier. Stones have the most diverse structure and diameter from 10 cm to 5 m or more. In the central part of the park, on an area of 4.5 hectares, there is an exposition “Map of Belarus”. This is a real map of the country, made of stones. Instead of rivers, hiking trails run along it, instead of large reservoirs, small artificial ponds have been created, and large cities are marked by tall fir trees. The stones are exhibited here according to the place of their discovery, that is, in which region of the country they were found, in that region on the map they are located. The park also has an exposition “Life-giving provinces”, which tells about the territories from which the glacier began to descend, “Petrographic collection”, which shows the whole variety of rocks brought by glaciers, “Shape of glacial boulders” and “Stone in human life”, where stone products are presented. An interesting alley of boulders with giant stones.
21 km from Minsk on the Minsk-Moscow highway is the “Mound of Glory”, created in 1966 in honor of the heroic deed of Soviet soldiers in the fight against Nazi Germany. The mound is an earthen mound 35 m high. 4 bayonets 35.6 m high each emerge from its top. Around the base of the bayonets there is a ring of Glory, decorated with words of gratitude and bas-reliefs. A concrete staircase, consisting of 241 steps, leads from the foot of the mound to the monument. There is also an observation deck at the top of the hill. In 1966, a commemorative plate was laid at the monument, under which a special capsule was buried with a message to posterity. The ethnographic complex “Dudutki” is located 40 km south of Minsk on the Ptich River., which consists of the Museum of ancient folk crafts and technologies and the temple. These places called Dudichi are mentioned in the Tale of Igor’s Campaign. In the 19-20 centuries, representatives of the world-famous Yelsky family lived here, thanks to which various crafts began to develop in the village and numerous fairs were held. The ethnographic complex was founded in 1993 on an area of 160 hectares. The atmosphere of village life of the 19th century has been preserved here with numerous craft workshops: pottery, forges, cheese dairies and bakeries. In each workshop, you will get acquainted with the production processes and have the opportunity to try your hand at handicraft. There is a real mill in the complex, which was built in 1905 in the village of Berezovka, Gomel region and in 1994 was transferred to the museum. On the territory of the complex “Dudutki” there is also a restaurant of Belarusian cuisine and a bathhouse. In 2007, a Temple was built here.