Wednesday, 13 June 2018

Belarus: Minsk Attractions

Sightseeing from a bus, visiting some prominent landmarks and a short walking tour around my hotel were things I did on my first day in Minsk.

Among all attractions, the Old Town of Minsk is my favourite. Located on the eastern side of the Svislach River,  the Old Town is not really that old as the historic 17th and 18th century buildings that stand on its ground are just replicas of the originals. These structures were recreated not too long ago (in the 1980s) but have successfully evoked a historical ambiance. I spent a delightful time appreciating the marvelous architecture here.
This building with two towers and baroque style architecture is Holy Spirit Cathedral which was built during the 17th century, reconstructed in the 18th century and restored several more times over the centuries.

The Holy Spirit Cathedral is still a functional place of worship. Peeking inside you can see how devout the believers are.

Liberty Square is a lovely heritage square within the old town. Standing in its midst is a prominent monument  called The City Scale Sculpture. 

Another prominent building with baroque architecture is St.Joseph Church. Originally built in the 18th century this building has gone through multiple restoration over the years. It is now used to store some ancient archives.   

 I caught sight of a cute truck shop selling a myriad of items near the historical monuments.

In the vicinity of the historical buildings, there is a row of small wooden stalls selling souvenirs. The tiny space in each stall is fully utilised to display as much items as they could fit.

The National Library of Belarus is one of Belarus's most iconic monuments and a must-see in Minsk. This 22 storey library is one of the largest libraries in the world. It has 8 triangular faces and 18 square faces and the bizarre geometric design has been turning heads since its construction. Visitors are only allowed to read but not to borrow books from this library.

Just beside the library stands the bronze monument of Francysk Skaryna, a printing pioneer who contributed much to the development of the Belarusian language.

Another famous site I visited in Minsk is the Island Of Courage And Sorrow. This small island surrounded by Svislach River is home to a memorial which was built in honour of Belarusian soldiers who perished in the war with Afghanistan (1979 to1989). The most prominent landmark of the memorial ground is a little chapel with figures of grieving women. Visitors are advised not to smile if they wish to take photos with this monument.

Another monument to look out for in this island is an evocative bronze statue of a boy angel weeping sorrowfully by a fountain.

Just across The Island Of Tears is the oldest surviving district of Minsk known as Trinity Suburb. This picturesque suburb by the edge of Svislach River is a recreation of Mink's pre-war buildings. 

A drive along the 15 km Independence Avenue which is the longest street in Minsk culminates in Independence Square. This square covers an immense area and is the biggest square in Belarus. 
There are beautiful glass cupolas and lovely beds of flowers on the square. There are also prominent landmarks surrounding the square namely Red Church, The Government House and Belarusian Pedagogical University (tall building in the background).  

Church of Saints Simon and Helena also known as the Red Church is an early 20th century Roman Catholic church. 

A substantial amount of space within the city of Minsk is dedicated to recreational parks. I managed to visit two parks near where I stayed. Dzerzhinsky Garden is a very long narrow park between two rows of building blocks. This park features beautiful flower beds, fountains, benches and the statue of a prominent figure at one end. 

The Statue of Felix Dzerzhinsky (a revolutionary leader and statesman of Belarus) can be seen at the entrance into Dzerzhinsky Park. 

Another park I visited was Michajlauski Garden Square.

The most prominent feature of this garden square is a bronze statue of a sexy lady sitting on a bench


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