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 Sightseeing and places of interest in Minsk

Cathedral of St. Peter and Paul
Built in 1613, the `yellow church` is the oldest surviving church in Minsk. Though Orthodox, it was looted in 1707 by Peter the Great`s Cossacks. The building was closed by the Bolsheviks at the beginning after the October revolution, reopened by the Nazis, closed again by the Soviets in 1944 and reopened once more in 1992. Evening services 18:00.
Address: Rakovskaya 4
Cathedral of the Holy Spirit
Built in 1642 to serve Bernadine nuns, the convent`s consecration was delayed for 40 years because of the Muscovite invasions. In 1741 the original structure was damaged by fire but later reconstructed. The convent was liquidated in 1852 and the building given to the Russian church for use as a monastery - but half a century later it was closed altogether by the Bolsheviks. Today after ongoing renovations, the church is a pleasant stop. Evening services 18:00 except Mondays.
Address: Kirila i Mefodiya 3
Church of St. Simon and Helena
The `red church` was built by a noble Polish family in 1908-1910 upon the premature death of their two children. The towers house three bells named after the church`s founder, his father and his dead son. When the Bolsheviks came to power, the church became a cinema then a film studio, and later became a popular meeting place for the opposition in the 1980s.Worship services: 09:00, 19:00, Sat 10:00, 12:00, 19:00, Sun 09:00, 11:00, 13:00, 19:00.
Address: Sovetskaya 15
Maryinsky Cathedral
This Roman Catholic cathedral survived all the century`s wars, but in the 1950s its two towers were knocked down and a Stalinist facade thrown over the front. The twin towers have since been restored, with copper domes sparkling more impressively than the Holy Ghost across the road. Evening services 19:00.
Address: Svobody 9
St. Aleksander Nevsky’s Church
A splendid little red brick affair with two golden onion domes. It was built in 1898 to commemorate the victory of the tsar`s armies over the Turks, closed by the Bolsheviks, reopened by the Nazis, then closed by the Soviets. During the war, a bomb crashed through the roof and landed in front of the altar, but did not explode.Evening services 18:00-20:00.
Address: Kozlova 11
The Mir Castle
Mir Castle is a unique monument of Belarusian architecture of the 16th century. It was founded by Duke Ilinich near the village called Mir at the end of the 15th century. He built the castle instead of the wooden farmstead that existed there. During hundreds of years, Mir Castle was time and then destroyed and restored. In the year 2000, this construction was added to Unesco's World Heritage list. And now the castle is being successfully restored.
The original construction was in Gothic style, but as the building was subsequently reconstructed, it absorbed architectural styles of Gothic, Baroque, and Renaissance. For instance, in 1568, the castle passed into the hands of Dukes Radziwils. Soon afterwards the Dukes completed the building in Renaissance style.
The red-brick castle is a square-planned building with towers at the corners. The fifth tower has a drawbridge and a forged grille. Mir Castle was built as a fortress and it was adapted for armed attacks. The defensive elements give the building a certain solemnity.
One of the Castle's greatest features is its varied and ornamental construction. Each of the five towers is made in its own way. The number of embrasures and their designs vary. Pattern arrangements on the walls are also different. Yet, tower disposition at the corners, square footing and octahedral top give entirety and completeness to the construction.
Obelisk to Hero City Minsk
Obelisk to Hero City Minsk was open on the 4th of July, 1954. This monument was erected to Soviet soldiers and partisans who died the death of a hero during World War II.
Obelisk is 38 meters and topped with the Order of Victory. The very square where it's set is called the Square of Victory (previously the Round Square). Four sides of the monument are decorated with bronze high reliefs called patriotically "The 9th of May, 1945", "The Soviet Army in the Years of the War", "The Partisans of Belarus", "The Glory to Fallen Heros". Four bronze wreaths around the Obelisk symbolize four battle-fronts.
It's interesting to note that G.V. Zaborsky, who was the chief architect of the project, started to work on it in 1942, long before the war ended. He believed in the victory and in one interview said: "It would be desirable to embody it in one of the majestic monuments deserving of people's great feat, on one of the most beautiful squares of home unfettered Minsk."
Address: Victory Square
Troitskoye Predmestye
The first settlement on the left bank of the river Svisloch appeared in the 12-13th century. Historians suppose that the name of the place - Troitskoye Predmestye (Trinity suburb)– originates from a Roman-Catholic Trinity Church that was situated there. In the 14th century the Voznesensky monastery was erected on the top of the mountain. In 1620, on its site Anton Maslyanka built a stone church. In the 15–17th century Trinity suburb, Nizhny market and Rakovskoye suburb were surrounded by stone fortifications. Troitsloye Predmestye mostly consisted of wooden buildings, where the gentry lived. Troitskoye Predmestye is a birth place of the outstanding Belarusian poet Maxim Bogdanovich. Yanka Kupala's house was located here. In 1982-1985 the historical place was being carefully restored and now it is one of the most favorite place of the citizens and tourists.
Address: Bogdanovich St., 7a
Phone: 375-17-284-15-84, 375-17-284-06-65 (The Maxim Bogdanovich's Literary Museum )
Ancient Belarusian Culture Museum
A must for travelling archaeology and ethnology freaks, including such cultural treats as a sumptuous collection of folk garments and the remnants of an ancient boat dug up a few years ago by a nosey forester in the silt of the river Sozh.
Address: Surganova 1/2
Tel: (+375-17) 284 27 32
09:00-17:00 except: Fri: 09:00-17:00
Belarusian Theatre & Music Culture Museum
Organise exhibitions and concerts in what used to be the living room of the late Vladislaw Ghalubok.
Address: Starovilenskaya 14
Tel: (+375-17) 268 64 03
09:00-17:30 except: Mon: 09:00-17:00, Fri: 09:00-17:30
Fire Museum
Everyone`s a hero in Belarus, and that includes the firemen. Every one of them a brave soul indeed, they can and will personally conduct you around this excellent little museum charting the history and the ups and downs of these gallant gentlemen. Visits must be booked in advance, and remember, tours are conducted in Russian only.
Address: Kozlova 28, building 8
Tel: (+375-17) 236 91 22
09:00-17:00 except: Fri: 09:00-17:00
First Congress of the Russian Social-Democratic Workers’ Party Museum
Home to the first party congress way back in 1923, the building was destroyed in the Great Patriotic War. Such was (and is) its importance that the structure was completely rebuilt after the war, and remains a testament to all things Soviet.
Address: Skroriny 31a
Tel: (+375-17) 236 68 47
10:00-18:00 except: Fri: 10:00-18:00
Great Patriotic War Museum
A must-see to understand modern-day Belarus, this museum presents the full horrors of World War II from the perspective of the Belarusians and (as the `patriotic war` was led by this particular Fatherland) the Soviets. You won`t find much mention of the Allied efforts, but you will get insight into the suffering of the Belarusians and the immense sacrifices made by the Soviet army to liberate their territory - and a few others - from the `facist-German` [sic] occupiers. After passing a magnificent statue of Lenin, you can visit some original tanks and planes in the back yard of the museum. All texts are in Russian, and it is highly recommended to phone or drop by in advance to arrange a guided tour in English so you understand more of what is shown.
Address: Skoriny 25a
Tel: (+375-17) 226 15 44
Literary History Museum
In praise of native scribbler Vasil Bykov in memory of his heroic contribution to Belarusian prose. You`ll also find the personal belongings of other Belarusian authors here, although unless you speak Russian or Belarusian, the place will be quite meaningless.
Address: Bogdanovicha 15
Tel: (+375-17) 234 56 21
10:00-17:00 except: Fri: 10:00-17:00, Sat: 10:00-16:00, Sun: 10:00-16:00
Museum of Folk Architecture
A charming, tiny village situated on the picturesque banks of the river Ptich.
Main office: Chicherina 1, village: Pashkevich 3, Ozertso, 15km southwest of the Brest highway
Tel: (+375-17) 234 02 31
10:00-15:00 except: Fri: 10:00-15:00
National Museum of History and Culture
Extremely depressing even if you speak the lingo. Non-speakers are likely to chew off their own arms after a few minutes, although the one notable exception to the dreary rooms full of dreary exhibits is the charming glass cabinet display of potatoes in the basement. Indeed, many people in this part of the world refer to the Belarusians as `potatoes`. So now you know.
Address: Karla Marxa 12
Tel: (+375-17) 227 43 22
11:00-19:00 except: Fri: 11:00-19:00
Minsk State Circus
While bureaucracy was stifling, artists were well trained and audiences enthusiastic. Now money is running out, hurry to see the spectacle while it lasts. Get the dirt-cheap tickets from the ladies in the metro stations.
Address: Skoriny 32
Tel: (+375-17) 227 78 42
Minsk Zoo
Address: Tashkentskaya 40, Chizhovka district
Tel: (+375-17) 240 23 97
10:00-18:00 except: Fri: 10:00-18:00
Gorky Park
A nice place to feed the polluted ducks in the filthy river and generally wander about under the weeping willows.
Yanka Kupala’s Park

Yanka Kupala's park was founded on the right bank of the River Svisloch according to the project of architect I. Rudenko in the middle of the 20th century. Before World War II on this site there were several wooden buildings that were ruined in the first days of the war. Among them was the house, where the poet lived in 1927-1941. At first in the center of the park the monument to Gritzevetz stood. In 1972 the monument to the great Belarusian poet Yanka Kupala was built. One of the favorite places of citizens is the fountain 'Venok' (wreath), dedicated to the ancient holiday 'Kupalye' (bathing). In 1959 the Yanka Kupala's museum was constructed. In the new building architects tried to convey the interiors and the atmosphere of the original house. Unfortunately, the biggest part of Kupala's archives was lost during the fire. But due to the dedicated work of poet's wife and the members of the museum now it has at its disposal a big collection of autographs, photos, documents and poet's personal belongings.
Address: Yanka Kupala St., 4
Phone: 375-17-227-79-43 (Yanka Kupala's State Literary Museum)


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