Acquaintance with Belarus
Belarus is the land of forests, fields, rivers and lakes. As well as the land of hospitable and kind people, amazing architecture and unforgettable impressions!
Blue-eyed Belarus is located right in the heart of the European continent, on the territory of just over two hundred thousand square kilometers. The Republic is famous for its nature, safety, clean cities and kindness of locals.
Thousands of tourists discover Belarus every year. It is worth to start with the glorious city-hero of Minsk, the capital city of Belarus. Guests of the capital will appreciate the amazing cleanliness of streets, neat facades of houses, wide, solemn avenues, and, albeit small, but extremely high-quality historical center. The city will astonish you with the abundance of parks and recreational areas, the beautiful waterfront of the Svisloch river, a quiet and peaceful environment. Despite the capital's status, the city is very quiet and safe. At any time of the day or night, you can easily stroll around the city center and outskirts.
Nothing can impede a comfortable rest. Two of the main attractions to visit are the main and one of the largest in Eastern Europe square and avenue, bearing the proud name of "Independence". The historical center is represented, first of all, by the Trinity suburb, which is an ancient city quarter of the XIX century, as well as the Liberty square, a symbol of the Magdeburg law (the privilege of self-government). Among the modern attractions it is worth mentioning The National Library, which is converted into the largest disco-ball in Europe because of the LED screens covering all the surface of the building and the Church of All Saints, as well as the main sports Victors Avenue.
Once upon a time, the modern territory of Belarus was called the country of castles. It is not a coincidence, because every big and small city had its fortifications. In total, there were more than 100 castles on the territory of Belarus. Unfortunately, most of them were ruined during the numerous wars that shook the Belarusian land over the past few centuries. Today our country has about 20 castles (including ruins), However, there are castles which are to be visited necessarily. To be in Belarus and to not visit the famous castles of the Radziwill family is comparable to a crime!
Nesvizh and Mir castles are the real gems of Belarus. Both castles are inscribed in the UNESCO World heritage list. Every year hundreds of thousands of tourists visit both castles. The castles were built in the XVI century and after experiencing many damages are now in excellent condition. Nesvizh castle is an excellent example of a Palace and Park complex, and the castle in Mir is of defensive style.
In the South-West of the country there is the ancient Brest, which will celebrate its millennium in 2019. Over the centuries the fate not only of the country, but also of the World was defined many times in the city. Brest is the first among other Belarusian cities which received municipal government according to the Magdeburg law. Brest peace was signed in 1918, according to which Soviet Russia withdrew from World War I and, of course, the Belovezha Accords of 1991, which
put an end to the Soviet Union. The main city attraction is the Brest fortress, which became a symbol of heroism of the Soviet soldier during the second world war. The historical center of the city is represented by the Sovetskaya street, which resembles tiny streets of the Western Europe. But the main peculiarity of this street is that every day at a certain time a lamplighter lights lanterns. This ritual is especially loved by the city-dwellers.
It takes one hour to reach the famous Belovezhskaya Pushcha, the last relict forest in Europe, inscribed in the UNESCO list as a world heritage site as a natural phenomenon. The forest is divided into two parts, Belarusian and Polish ones. In the "Belarusian" part there is the residence of Belarusian version of Santa Claus, enclosures with animals, the Museum of Nature and more. The symbol of Belovezhskaya Pushcha and the whole country is the Belarusian bison, which can be found in excursion enclosures or in the wild.
The Northern part of Belarus also prepared a lot of interesting things. The ancient city of Polotsk, which was the capital of the Polotsk Principality, the first state in Belarus. Polotsk is the cradle of the Belarusian statehood. The center of the Belarusian Orthodoxy, the city with a large number of museums and the beautiful St. Sophia Cathedral. Many famous people were born in the city. Among them there were the mighty Vseslav the Wizard, the Prince of Polotsk, Euphrosyne of Polotsk, the Christian Holy enlightener, Francis Skaryna, the Eastern European pioneer in printing books and a symbol of the formation of the Belarusian education, Simeon of Polotsk, the enlightener and many others. And in the course of geographical research carried out at the beginning of the new Millennium, it became clear that the center of Europe is located in Polotsk. In honor of this event the memorial sign appeared in the city. So if you want to be in the center of Europe – welcome to Polotsk.
Not far from Polotsk, an ancient Vitebsk is located. The real Northern capital of Belarus! The city is native to the great artist Marc Chagall. While staying in Paris, Chagall called the French capital his second Vitebsk. And believe me, the artist said it for a reason, because Vitebsk, in ancient times, was called "the small capital of the Renaissance". Walking around Vitebsk you can get acquainted with many architectural monuments located in the city. For example, the old Annunciation Church, built in the 12th century, but unfortunately destroyed in the early 60s of XX century and now it is restored. Today, the Annunciation Church is the only monument of ancient Byzantine-Balkan architecture in Eastern Europe.
In addition, there is a beautiful Church of St. Barbara in Vitebsk. You can stroll through the historic streets of Vitebsk to the Governor's Palace, where during the war of 1812 stopped the French Emperor Napoleon. And in the heart of the city is one of the symbols of Vitebsk – city hall, which now houses the local history Museum. And of course you need to visit the house-museum of the great Marc Chagall, who believed that the most important cities in his life was Vitebsk, although during his life the famous artist managed to live in many cities of the world.
One more interesting city to visit is Mogilev. Mogilev is located on the Bank of the Dnieper river in the East of Belarus. One of the oldest cities in Belarus lies on the picturesque banks of the mighty Dnieper. The city with centuries-old history was first mentioned in the Chronicles in 1276.
Mogilev is a failed capital of Belarus, because there was a project to transfer the capital of the BSSR from Minsk to Mogilev. In this regard, a "capital square", the Lenin square with administrative buildings and a monument to Lenin appeared in this city.
In addition to the monuments of the Soviet era, beautiful buildings and cathedrals, witnessing the fact that the city was rich preserved in Mogilev, e.g. the Church of St. Stanislaus, a monument of architecture of the XVIII century, the wonderful Church of St. Nicholas, a monument of the Belarusian Baroque of the XVII century, a favorite temple of Nicholas II, the last Emperor.
During the tour we will walk along the pedestrian street of the city-Leninskaya street, where the city buildings of the late 19th – early 20th centuries have been preserved.
Gomel possesses the Palace and Park Ensemble of Rumyantsevy- Paskevichi It is a vivid embodiment of the Belarusian architecture and is often visited by tourists. By visiting this architectural work you can become a part of the life of famous Belarusian families for a moment, and feel the uniqueness of the Belarusian holidays. Tour to Gomel is one of the points of many programs that provide interesting and unusual pastime in Belarus – ecotourism, holidays, children's rest and recreation for active people.
In addition, there are many fine museums in Belarus. Among these is the Museum “Stalin Line” and the Museum of ancient crafts and technologies "Dudutki". The “Stalin line” is a military history museum dedicated to military fortification, which was opened to the 60th anniversary of the victory in the Second World war. The "Stalin's line" is located less than 25 kilometers from Minsk in the North-West direction. Once the "Stalin Line" was a long line of defense, which stretched from the Baltic sea to the Black sea for a distance of 2000 km. On the territory of the complex there is a large armament warehouse: infantry fighting vehicles, tanks, artillery, aircraft, special military equipment. The Museum contains all kinds of trenches, anti-tank ditches. At the "Stalin Line" everyone will be able to shoot from the legendary small arms of the World war II.
In the Museum "Dudutki" the life, traditions and customs of the Belarusian people are shown, in addition to an exciting tour, guests will enjoy tasting of local food. This museum is known in Belarus on a par with Radziwill castles. The museum was opened in 1994, every year attracts hundreds of thousands of tourists from abroad. During the tour, you will get acquainted with folk crafts, such as pottery, blacksmiths, cheese making, weaving and, of course, moonshine. Guests of “Dudutki” will be able to act not only as spectators but also to stay in the role of
artisans. The Museum also houses a collection of antique cars. During the tour, everyone will have the opportunity to taste local products.
Do not forget about the Minsk Museum of the Great Patriotic war. Minsk WWII Museum is the largest repository of relics of the great war. The new building of the Museum was built in the complex with the obelisk "Minsk-hero city" and appeared on the 70th anniversary of the liberation of Minsk from Nazi occupation in the summer of 2014 and represents a single architectural ensemble, which is executed in the form of symbolic rays of the salute. Each ray depicts the reliefs on the events of the war.
The Museum consists of four parts due to the number of years of the war. The Museum has 10 exhibition halls, and Museum funds have almost 145 thousand exhibits. The new building is equipped with the latest technology. The Museum of the Second World war is a mandatory stop during a trip to the capital.
Khatyn memorial complex is located 52 kilometers away from Minsk. Khatyn village was burnt by the Nazi together with the residents on March 22, 1943 and became the main symbol of the tragedy of the Soviet people in the Great Patriotic war. Khatyn has become a Holy place. Khatyn is a sad reminder of the horrors of war. During the visit to the memorial you will get acquainted with the history of not only the Khatyn tragedy, but also of many other cities and villages of Belarus.
Without exaggeration, the most beautiful place in our opinion is the village of Gervyaty, which is located near the border with Lithuania, in the North-West of Belarus. In the center of a small village there is a real pearl of Belarus – the Trinity Church with a beautiful landscape design. In front of the temple there are perfect English lawns, as well as many coniferous plants and amazing flowers. The neo-Gothic Church itself, having survived numerous wars and the period of post-war desolation, was restored and received an unspoken title "Belarusian Notre Dame". Gothic churches are the most suitable for organ concerts, as they have excellent acoustics. The temple regularly hosts organ concerts, which should be ordered in advance.