Minsk has something to offer everyone, be it a seasoned art lover or a regular tourist who arrived for the weekend.
Minsk Top Tourist Attractions on Foot
Independence Avenue (Praspiekt Niezaležnasci) is one of the key tourist attractions of Minsk. It is a 15-kilometer thoroughfare that crosses the city from the center to the north-east. It is one of the longest thoroughfares in Europe and is included in UNESCO World Heritage List.
The avenue passes through the biggest squares:
- Independence Square (Plošča Niezaležnasci);
- Kastrychnitskaya Square (Kastryčnickaja Plošča);
- Victory Square (Plošča Pabiedy);
- Jakub Kolas Square (Plošca Jakuba Kolasa).
The notorious murderer of John Kennedy, Lee Harvey Oswald lived on Independence Avenue 31 in the early 60’s (near the Svislach river and Victory Square).
The second biggest thoroughfare of Minsk – Praspiekt Pieramožcaŭ – begins at the Upper Town near the Trinity Hill.
Independence Square. The key things to see there are the Belarusian State University and the House of Government (please note that it is prohibited to take photos of the latter one).
The House of Government was built in 1930 by Iosif Langbard who designed many of the most important Soviet-era buildings in Minsk, and his style defined the appearance of modern Minsk. His works include Central House of Officers, the National Academy of Sciences, and the National Academic Bolshoi Opera and Ballet Theatre.
Upper Town and Trinity Hill
Upper Town (Vierhni Horad) is the heart and one of the key tourist attractions of Minsk. There you can feel the atmosphere of the early 19th century city. Have a walk along the block-paved streets, listen to street musicians, enjoy a cup of coffee at one of the cafes or have an unforgettable party on weekends. In summer the Upper Town hosts various live music concerts while in the winter holiday season you can attend a Christmas fair. One of the country’s main orthodox cathedrals the Holy Spirit Cathedral is situated there.
In 15t–19th centuries Trinity Hill was inhabited by craftsmen and merchants. Nowadays, this tourist attraction accommodates mostly restaurants, artist studios, and offices. The Maksim Bagdanovich (Bahdanovič) Literary Museum is located there as well. Next to Trinity Hill you can find the Island of tears – a monument dedicated to Belarusian soldiers lost in the war in Afghanistan during 1979-1989.
Kastrychnitskaya Street is the former industrial Minsk street that has turned into a cultural and happening place within recent years. The street has gained great popularity both among locals and foreign tourists. It has become a big tourist attraction due to the abundance of bars, restaurants, and cafés. Offices of Belarusian advertising agencies, IT companies and fitness centres can be found there as well. The buildings that once had been plants are now used as coworking spaces. The walls of these buildings are covered with murals that appeared thanks to the Vulica Brazil street-art festival.
One more Minsk tourist attraction is the Red Church of Saints Simon and Helena which was built in 1910. The church was built by order of a landowner Edward Woyniłłowicz in memory of his children who died from a disease. The sketch of the church was created by his daughter Helen who saw a beautiful church in her dream. This neo-Gothic church stands among the pieces of Stalinist architecture. The Belarusian Cinema History Museum hides behind the church.
One more church to visit in Minsk is the Cathedral of Saint Virgin Mary. The church was built in 1700-1710 in the baroque style. If you would like to listen to an organ concert, the Church of the Holy Trinity is what you need. If you feel that the topic of religion is yet not covered enough, head to the Church of the Holy Apostles Peter and Paul.
At the Military Cemetery you can find graves of famous Belarusian writers and poets like Yakub Kolas, Yanka Kupala, Pavlyuk Trus, Kuzma Chorny.
During the warm season Gorky Park offers a number of simple cafés, rides and attractions, including a Ferris wheel that gives a wonderful city view.
Loshitsa (Łošyca) Riverside Park is probably the most romantic park in Minsk that features straight trails, ancient apple orchards and cozy pavilions. During the second half of the 18th Stanislaw Pruszynski redesigned the estate into a residence and welcomed there many distinguished people like the king Stanislaw August Poniatowski, Russian Emperor Paul I, a Belarusian writer Vincent Dunin-Martsinkevich, a Polish composer Stanislaw Moniuszko, and many others.
Its last owners, Eustacjusz Lubanski and his wife Jadwiga, transformed the house into an elegant mansion where they held theater and literary evenings. The beautifully landscaped park featured exotic plants. Nowadays this is one of the most beautiful parks in Minsk, popular not only among Belarusians but foreign tourists.
The Central Botanical Garden is one of the largest botanic gardens in Europe and the main attraction for those who are interested in botany. There you can find a rich collection of over 10,000 plants gathered from all over the world.
At Chaluskintsau Park (Čaluskincaŭ Park), which is located next to the Botanical Garden, you can enjoy a walk among old pines, feed squirrels, taste spun sugar or ride old merry-go-rounds – if you miss the times when you were a carefree kid, the park is a perfect place to bring back your happy childhood memories.
Victory Park (Park Pieramohi)
You can take a walk along the shore of the Kamsamolskaje Lake and have a picnic in the shade of its trees. There is also the Bird Island that houses various species of birds. If simply enjoying the views and illuminated fountains seems too boring and you would prefer more energetic activities, rent a bike and ride along a cycle track or have a ride on a catamaran.
Tractor Builders’ Village (Pasiołak Traktarabudaŭnikoŭ) is a residential area built right after the Second World War. There you can see old buildings with beautiful balconies, empire-style pilasters, columns and arcades.
Not only Stalinist style is present in the architecture of Minsk. The Asmalouka (Asmaloŭka) district is a vivid example. It is a neighbourhood with two- and three-storey houses decorated with bay windows, and buttresses. The district is popular among Belarusian and foreign filmmakers.
Minsk Tourist Attractions for Enquiring Minds
The National Library of Belarus is a must-see tourist attraction of Minsk. It is still considered one of the most controversial symbols of present-day Minsk because of its design. The library comprises more than 2 million books and offers books for all tastes. In case you get tired of examining the library, you can enjoy Minsk views from the observation deck and have a cup of coffee in its cozy café.
Belarusian National Arts Museum contains a prominent collection of Belarusian works of art. At this Minsk attraction, you can find a large collection of classical Russian paintings, old Belarusian icons, the collection of paintings of Belarusian artist Mai Dantsig, collection dedicated to Socialist Realism, and portraits of the Radziwily family, a powerful magnate family widely known across Europe.
Head to Ў Gallery if you want to dive into the atmosphere of Belarusian contemporary art. This attraction will offer you to enjoy the works of Belarusian and foreign artists, performers and photographers.
If you are looking for education and personal development, look no further than Korpus Culture Center. There you can attend exhibitions, concerts and take part in workshops, educational programs and other activities. This is probably one of the best places in Minsk to meet young cultural activists and broaden your horizons.
One more cultural attraction in Minsk is Art-Belarus Gallery. It features a fine collection of paintings by well-known Belarusian artists like Marc Chagall, Valenty Vańkovič, Chaim Soutine, Ossip Zadkine, and others.
The Museum “Zair Azgur Memorial Studio” will let you dive into the atmosphere of the 20th century through the works of the Belarusian sculptor Zair Azgur. The museum collection comprises over 430 sculptures, and it seems to be the place with the largest number of Lenin’s and Stalin’s sculptures.
Belarusian National History Museum contains about 377,000 exhibits: archeological finds, books and manuscripts, icons, musical instruments, weapons, coins, jewelry and clothes. If you are interested in history you should definitely visit this attraction.
Opera and Ballet Theatre is a vivid example of the Soviet-era constructivism. Inside the building is decorated with natural stones, marble and granite. Floors are made from several kinds of granite and are embellished with ornaments. Gypsum details, ceiling paintings, golden stucco and red velvet curtains and drapery cannot but impress.
If you are a cinemagoer, you can go to one of the Minsk cinemas like Centralny, Raketa or Pobeda to feel the authentic atmosphere of Soviet movie theaters. If you care more about quality sound and comfortable seats, then head to Silver Screen. There you can enjoy not only movies but also some plays and concerts records.
Minsk Tourist Attractions for Water Enthusiasts
If you would like to spend a day swimming and sunbathing, you should go to Drazdy. There you can become closer to nature: forest waterfalls, wheat fields, – and you don’t even have to leave the city! Just follow the cycle track near Minsk Arena.
You don’t need to go far from Minsk to take the plunge on a water slide. At the Lebyazhy waterpark you can enjoy various slides, salt rooms, and saunas. Another option is to go to Dreamland – there you can find a number of waterslides and a lazy river, though this waterpark operates only in summer. The open air pool Olimpiyskiy is one more good option to relax on a warm sunny day. If it is cold and rainy in Minsk, head to the Freestyle waterpark – no matter how bad the weather is, good mood is guaranteed.
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