For the first time Minsk is mentioned in the “Tale of Bygone Years” of the 11th century. Over the long centuries of existence, he managed to visit both a brilliant capital and an ordinary provincial city. The architecture of the Belarusian capital is a bizarre interweaving of styles and eras. The streets and squares are decorated with baroque Catholic cathedrals and traditional Orthodox churches, medieval houses with tiled roofs are mixed with modern museums.
Tourist trips to Minsk are gaining more and more popularity. The Belarusian capital offers not only interesting sightseeing routes, but also excellent cuisine and a varied entertainment program for quite adequate money. There is no fuss and noise in Minsk, but there are green parks, picturesque alleys and hospitable people.
What to see and where to go in Minsk?
The most interesting and beautiful places for walking. Photos and a short description.
The historical center of the Belarusian capital, which has retained the features of the 12th century in its appearance. From the 16th century, the Minsk nobility began to settle in the Upper Town. The architectural monuments of this area demonstrate a mixture of styles: from classicism and baroque to modern and eclecticism. Since the 16th century, temples, monasteries and prayer houses of various denominations have been erected on the squares and streets of the Upper City.
An architectural complex located on the site of a monastery of the 10th century. Until the 19th century, the territory was occupied by the city market, then stone mansions were built in its place and a park was laid out. Nowadays, the buildings are used for museums, exhibition galleries, cafes and souvenir shops, one of the houses houses an opera house. The appearance of the Trinity Suburb is almost completely preserved in its original form.
Minsk City Hall
Architectural monument-remake built in 2004. The new town hall is a copy of a 17th century building. It was blown up on the orders of Nicholas I in the middle of the 19th century after the abolition of the Magdeburg city law on the territory of Minsk (this set of laws gave broad powers to local authorities and made them quite independent in their politics). The idea to restore the town hall appeared in the 70-80s. XX century.
The largest square in Minsk, surrounded by famous sights. Construction began in the 30s. XX century according to the plan of the architect I. Langbard. Until 1991, the square was named after V.I. Lenin, then after the collapse of the USSR it was renamed. This place is popular with the townspeople and guests of Minsk, here people like to make appointments and dates near the musical fountain.
Square of victory
The majestic wide square, designed and built in the first half of the 20th century, was originally called the “Round Square”. The architectural dominant of the area is the Victory Monument made of gray granite, erected in memory of the Great Patriotic War of 1941-1945. It is decorated with high reliefs glorifying the feat of Soviet soldiers. The Eternal Flame burns near the monument.
National Library of Belarus
A modern multifunctional center located in a building with unusual architecture. The first library building was built in 1926. At the end of the 80s. XX century, it was decided to rebuild and modernize the premises. The project of M. Vinogradov and V. Kramarenko won the all-Union competition, but work began only 13 years later and ended in 2006. The new building of the Library resembles a faceted diamond in shape, which symbolizes the knowledge of the world and the value of teaching.
Historical and architectural monument of the early 19th century, designed by Kazimir Khrschanovich. The customer was the landowner R. Pishchallo. The main prevailing style of the building is pseudo-Gothic, which makes the castle look like a medieval fortress. One of the most reliable prisons in Europe was located here, where revolutionaries, rebels and other dissatisfied with the authorities were kept.
House of the Government of the Republic of Belarus
The complex is located on Independence Square. The Belarusian parliament and the cabinet of ministers sit inside. The Government House was erected in 1934 on the site of an area with wooden low-rise buildings. The building was built in the typical for that time manner of "Soviet gigantomania", during the 30s. it was the tallest building in Minsk. The interior is decorated with a rare five-ton star-shaped chandelier.
Palace of the Republic
The building, on the territory of which solemn state events are held in honor of the Independence Day of Belarus and the Day of Victory in the Great Patriotic War. Also, the New Year tree is held here every year, pop stars perform, festivals, press conferences and business meetings are organized. In front of the palace there is a monument "Kilometer Zero of Belarus" in the form of a granite pyramid, from where the distance of all roads of the country begins.
"Gate of Minsk"
The architectural complex in the solemn "Stalinist Empire" style, consisting of two symmetrical 11-storey towers. The attraction is located on the Railway Station Square. The towers are decorated with a large dial of a German watch, the coat of arms of the USSR and sculptures of a soldier, a collective farmer, a worker and an engineer. The Gates of Minsk is a recognizable symbol of the city, the successor to the wooden Star Gates of the old Zamchische district.
Bolshoi Opera and Ballet Theater
The main and only opera stage of the Republic of Belarus. The building was built in the 30s. XX century, designed by G. Lavrov and I. Langbard in the architectural style of Soviet constructivism. The construction is classified as a monument of national importance due to its cultural value. The theater has a children's music studio and the team "Belarusian Capella".
Yanka Kupala Theater
One of the oldest Belarusian theatres. It opened its doors to the public in 1920. The stage is located in the premises of the Minsk provincial theater, built on civil donations at the end of the 19th century. In 1944, he received a name in honor of the Belarusian literary classic and poet Yanka Kupala. Next to the theatre, there is a 19th-century landscaped Alexander Square, decorated with a sculptural group "Boy with a Swan".
National Art Museum
The museum is considered one of the largest galleries in Eastern Europe. Twenty museum collections contain more than 27 thousand works of Belarusian and world art. The museum exhibits paintings, sculptures, graphics, icons, textile panels, decorations. Belarusian art is represented by a collection of more than 11 thousand exhibits. The museum has several branches - in Mogilev, Minsk and Raubichi.
National History Museum
The exposition is located in the premises of one of the branches of the State Bank of Russia, built at the beginning of the 20th century. The collection was created on the initiative of the Minsk Society of Natural Science Lovers. Initially, the museum had five sections: ethnographic, historical, archaeological, natural science, art. During the Second World War, the collections were badly damaged, so the museum funds had to be formed from the very beginning.
Museum of the History of the Great Patriotic War
Museum where exhibits of the war period 1941-45 are stored and exhibited. The museum team conducts active educational and patriotic activities: organizes mass thematic events, initiates scientific research, and gives press conferences in the media. Fascinating excursions are organized for visitors, during which you can learn the nuances of the history of the Great Patriotic War.
House-Museum of the I Congress of the RSDLP
A small wooden building on Zakharyevskaya Street, where in March 1898 the first congress of members of the Social Democratic Party (the future Bolsheviks) took place. Already in 1923, a memorial museum was opened here, but the building was destroyed during the Second World War. By Stalin's decree, it was restored in 1948. The funds contain documents, newspaper issues, materials of the party. Inside, the atmosphere of the end of the 19th century is recreated.
Cathedral of the Blessed Virgin Mary
The Catholic Cathedral of the beginning of the XVIII century, which was erected at the Jesuit monastery. The temple was visited by famous historical figures: Peter I, King Charles XII of Sweden, Hetman Mazepa, Nicholas II and others. The building was damaged during the Second World War, in the 50s. its appearance was greatly changed and adapted to the physical culture society. The cathedral was restored by 2000, now it is the main Catholic church in Minsk.
Cathedral of the Descent of the Holy Spirit
The main temple of the Orthodox Church of Belarus. Initially, the monastery of Cosmas and Demyan was located here, but in the 17th century the building was transferred to the Catholic Church and it housed the Bernardine Order. The cathedral returned to Orthodox believers only in the 19th century. In 1870, a monastery was opened at the temple. After the Revolution of 1917, church services were discontinued, but since 1942 the temple has been working again and has not been closed again.
The official name of the temple is the Church of St. Simeon and St. Helena. This is a picturesque Catholic church in the center of Minsk, built of red brick. It was erected at the beginning of the 20th century at the expense of the aristocrat Edward Voynilovich, whose children Simon and Alena died at a fairly early age. To perpetuate the memory of his beloved offspring, the nobleman decided to build a church and donated an impressive amount of money for this purpose.
Cathedral of the Holy Apostles Peter and Paul
The oldest church in the Belarusian capital, a valuable historical and architectural monument of the early 17th century. In the 18th century, the Russian Empress Catherine allocated funds for restoration, so the cathedral was renamed in her honor. In 1991, the original name was returned to the cathedral. The interior walls of the building are decorated with magnificent frescoes. The icon of the Three Vilna Martyrs with the relics of saints is kept in the temple.
The monastery belonged to one of the branches of the Franciscan order, which is known in Belarus as the Bernardine Order. At the beginning of the 17th century, the Catholic brothers were content with a modest wooden church, but the fire of 1644 destroyed all the buildings. The stone temple and the monastery were erected a few years later. In the middle of the 19th century, these lands, along with their property, were confiscated from the Bernardines, and later the monastery was given to the Orthodox Church.
Island of Tears (Island of Courage and Sorrow)
The memorial complex in the bend of the river Sviloch opposite the Trinity suburb. It was created in honor of the memory of the soldiers who died during the military conflict in Afghanistan in 1979-1989. The complex is an artificial island connected to the shore with an arched bridge. In the center of the Isle of Tears is a memorial chapel. The names of all Belarusians who died in Afghanistan are displayed on its walls.
City park for walks and recreation with rides, playgrounds and recreational areas. The territory also has a dance floor, a summer stage and specially equipped places for intellectual games. The park appeared in the 1930s. XX century, in 1974, a large-scale reconstruction and replacement of old attractions was carried out. More recent reconstructions were carried out in the 2000s.
Central Children's Park. Maxim Gorky
One of the most beautiful and oldest public parks in Minsk. It is believed to have been founded in 1805. At first it was the governor's garden, which was intended for the rest of the noble public. At the end of the 19th century, the fashion for sports came, and tennis courts, croquet lawns, and a stadium appeared in the park. After the Revolution of 1917, all classes received access to the territory. Today, the park has been converted to entertain children of all ages.
Park complex of the XVIII-XIX centuries with an area of more than 100 hectares. This is a great place for quiet walks and relaxation away from the noisy streets. In summer, you can ride a bike in the park, in winter there are ski slopes on the territory. The first evidence of Loshitsa appeared already in the 16th century. According to the legend, the ghost of Jadwiga Lyubansky, the wife of the owner of the Loshitskaya estate, Evstafiy Lyubansky, wanders around the park. The girl drowned herself in the river because of guilt for cheating on her husband.
Natural open-air museum in a former river bed. The territory has the status of a natural monument. Here on the lawns among the paths there are more than two thousand boulders of various sizes and shapes. Most of the Museum of Boulders is occupied by the exposition "Map of Belarus", made up of natural materials. Stone millstones with ancient Slavic runes were found on the territory of the park.
The zoo was opened in 1984 and in our time continues to develop and expand. At first it was a small zoo at the Minsk Automobile Plant, in 1997 the zoo was transferred to state funding. On the territory there is a dolphinarium, a monkey house and a lion castle. The number of animals is constantly growing, new modern enclosures are being built for them. The Minsk Zoo is actively engaged in animal protection activities.
The famous memorial complex erected on the site of a burned village during the Second World War. The composition perpetuates the memory of all the people who suffered, were killed and maimed by the German occupiers. Visitors are greeted by the figure of a man with a dead son in his arms. This is Iosif Kaminsky, the only adult survivor of the fire in Khatyn. All monuments on the territory of Khatyn are made of gray granite, which symbolizes the ashes from the fires.
Ethnographic Museum of Folk Crafts near Minsk. On the territory there is an old mill, a pottery workshop and a smithy, a poultry yard, a bakery and a brewery, a zoo and a stable. In a cafe with national cuisine, visitors can taste Belarusian dishes. There is a hotel in the Dudutki complex, where those who wish can stay for a few days.
A defensive fortress of the 16th century in the city of Mir, a popular attraction and a UNESCO heritage site. The complex is located 100 km. from Minsk. The building is a unique example of "Belarusian Gothic", it is the easternmost building of the original Gothic architecture in all of Europe. The castle survived several sieges and restorations, it has practically retained its original appearance.