Memorial Complex Buynichskoe Field, Mogilev Region – Belarus. (Pic Credits: commons.wikimedia.org)
Belarus has rightly been listed as one of the Top tourist destinations to visit in 2019 by Lonely Planet. Belarus is a landlocked country in Eastern Europe. It is divided into six regions and has many tourist attractions and places of historical importance. Among them are monuments located in many parts of the country, and dedicated to the heroes of World War II.
One such unique monument is the Memorial Complex Buynichskoe Field, a short distance outside the city of Mogilev. Due to the significance of the battle of 1941 in the history of Belarus, the memorial called “Buinichi Field” was built on that place in 2002. The main feature here is the Chapel, beneath which the discovered remains of the Red Army soldiers are located. Remains of military equipment are also placed throughout the complex. One unique exhibit is that of a rare model of a German tank, which had been retrieved from the bottom of the river and is still in excellent condition.
Here’s our list of some of the stunning and historic buildings in Belarus….
Kholm Gate, Brest Fortress. (Pic Credits: flickr.com)
Brest Fortress is a 19th-century Russian fortress in the Brest region of Belarus. The fortress still stands in its original outline of a star-shaped fortification. Originally there were 4 gates to enter the core of the fortress called the Citadel. Today, however, only Kholm Gate and Terespol Gate can be seen. And most parts of the barrack lie in ruins. The Kholm Gate was named after the town of Chełm (Kholm in the East Slavic), which was directly connected to the gate by a road. In 1965, the Brest Fortress was awarded the status of “Hero Fortress” for its crucial part in the early years leading to World War II.
St Nicholas Garrison Church, Brest Fortress. (Pic Credits: commons.wikimedia.org)
In the mid-1800s, the St Nicholas Church was built in the Brest Fortress. It was a Russian Orthodox Church in the Byzantine style. The interior was decorated with eight columns and had seven windows inside the altar area through which daylight streams. The majestic dome was crowned with a St. George’s Cross.
The temple was rebuilt in the mid-1900’s into a Roman Catholic garrison church and was one of the most beautiful temples built in the central part of Europe. Restoration works began in 1994 and the building was returned to the Orthodox Church. On June 18, 2001, a bronze bell weighing 1 tonne was raised at the belfry of the church. It is one of the largest bells cast in the last 100 years in Belarus.
Brest Millennium Monument. (Pic Credits: en.wikipedia.org)
The Brest Millennium Monument completed in 2011, is a 15.1 metres high monument made of granite and bronze. It was built to commemorate the Millennium of the city of Brest, Belarus. It is located at the intersection of Sovietskaya Street and Gogol Street where one can walk around it and admire it from all angles.
The monument consists of 3 statues honouring remarkable historic personalities associated with Brest and 3 more statues representing abstract images of a warrior, mother, and a chronicler. A 3.8 metre high angel of mercy with a cross stands at the top of the granite column.
In April 2011 a belt of high reliefs depicting history-making episodes of Brest was installed around the monument. It depicts 6 chronological historical vignettes of the city of Brest like the legendary founding of Brest; constructing the city; defense of the Brest Fortress; and Belarusians in space flight.
Gomel Palace & Park Ensemble. (Pic Credits: commons.wikimedia.org)
Gomel Palace & Park Ensemble is an old large noble estate decorated by a park. This two-storey palace of the Rumyantsevs and later the Paskeviches was built in the late 1700’s in a Neoclassical design. The grounds of the residence stretch for 800 meters along the steep right bank of the Sozh River. An image of the residence is featured on the Belarusian 20,000-ruble bill. After the Russian Revolution, the palace was nationalized and housed the local museum for 90 years.
The Palace & Park Ensemble also includes the Burial Vault of the Paskevich Princes, the Winter Garden, and the Observation Tower. The most famous landmark in the park is a Neoclassical church of Sts. Peter and Paul which is the seat of the local Orthodox bishopric.
Pripyatsky or Pripyat National Park is located in a natural reserve in Gomel Region, Belarus. Founded in 1996, it takes its name from the Pripyat River. It was built to preserve the natural landscapes around the river.
The park is home to 256 species of birds and 51 species of mammals. In the rivers and bayou there are 38 species of fish and the flora there is represented by 929 species of plant. Wildlife & nature enthusiasts go there specially for photo safaris.
Gomel Circus. (Pic Credits: ru.wikipedia.org)
The Gomel State Circus, Belarus was built in 1972. It is a futuristically styled building in the centre of Gomel and is one of its most recognizable features. The auditorium of the circus seats 1544 spectators. In front of the circus building stands a monument to the famous clown Karandash (Mikhail Rumyantsev) and a fountain with a dynamic lights show of 15 minutes duration every night.
Each season that lasts from September till May/June. The shows are formed mainly of performances of invited circus actors and groups.
Grodno Region Drama Theater. (Pic Credits: www.flickr.com)
The Grodno Drama Theater, or the Regional Drama Theater of Grodno is located on the right bank of the Neman River in Belarus. Built between 1977 and 1984, the building has a futuristic shape and is used mostly for theatrical plays and concerts. The equestrian sculpture at the entrance of the building, if that of a Pegasus carrying a man and a woman on its wings.
The Karl Marx Street runs 1.5 km long, north to south from Ordzhonikidze street to Internatsionalnaya street. During the Russian period, this was the street where Russian nobility preferred to reside. Historical buildings lining the Street include the flamboyant Hotel “Bristol”, the Jules Verne Restaurant, old mansions with columns, a red brick house that saw two World Wars, and a Russian Orthodox Cathedral dating from 1865. Trolleybuses running along the street give it a classic experience.
Grodno Castle is a 11th-century castle located on the Choina Mountain in Grodno, Belarus. This mountain stands to the left of the river Bystrzyca. The valley of this river creates a natural boundary between the Owl Mountains and the Wałbrzych Mountains. Grodno Castle dominates over this picturesque Valley. In the sixteenth century, Grodno Castle was expanded by a gatehouse on which there is a Sgraffito (a technique of wall decor, produced by applying layers of plaster tinted in contrasting colours to a moistened surface), and a sundial clock from 1716.
Dudutki Museum is in the county, about 45 minutes drive from Minsk. This Museum Complex of Old Folk Crafts and Technologies is an open-air museum consisting of old Belarussian style constructed buildings. The museum exhibits crafts and trades from Belarus’ history like a blacksmith, pottery, bakery and woodcraft. The Museum also houses some livestock, horses, foul and ostriches.
Visitors can also pre-order and have a traditional Belarussian meal, and taste Samagonka – a home-made spirit made from grain.
Belarusian Great Patriotic War Museum. (Pic Credits: commons.wikimedia.org)
In 1966, the Belarusian State Museum of the History of the Great Patriotic War was moved from its original building to a magnificent one built specially for it, in the central Heroes Square of Minsk, Belarus. The original museum opened in 1944 was the world’s first museum to tell the story of the bloodiest war of the 20th century. It was the only one in Belarus created during the years of Nazi occupation. Today it is one of the most important and biggest war museums in the world.
The museum is impressive not only due to its scale but also for its symbolism. The composition represents four main blocks to match the number of years of the war and the army fronts that took part in Belarus’ liberation. The front facade looks like a festive salute: 11 sparkling rays made of stainless steel to symbolize the Great Victory and at the same time 1,100 tragic days and nights of Minsk’s occupation.
The Mir Castle is an outstanding 16th-century fortification located in the town of Mir in the Grodno region of Belarus. The construction of this castle was started in the 1520s in Gothic style. In 1568 the castle fell into the other hands, and it was completed in Renaissance style and again later in Baroque style. The successful blend of architectural styles makes Mir Castle one of the most impressive castles in Europe. In 2000 UNESCO designated Mir Castle a World Cultural and Natural Heritage site.
A three-storey palace was built along the eastern and northern walls of the castle with forty fretted rooms. The Mir Castle is surrounded by a water moat. Around the castle, earth walls were built with bastions at the corners. An Italian garden was laid to the north of the walls and an artificial lake was established to the south.
Astrologer Statue, Mogilev City Center. (Pic Credits: commons.wikimedia.org)
The Astrologer statue with a telescope in his hand is situated on the City Star Square of Mogilev in Belarus. It is representative of the profession from King Arthur times. The “Skywatcher” sits comfortably in a high massive chair, pointing his forefinger to the sky. The telescope serves as the sundial on the square. Twelve chairs are arranged around the monument, each of which is a symbol of a zodiac sign. It is a monument to the stars and the universe, and there is nothing similar to it in the whole world. Every night a powerful projector located in the telescope beams light upwards. And its power is strong enough that a small white dot is seen on the Earth when viewing it from space.
Mogilev Drama Theatre. (Pic Credits: commons.wikimedia.org)
The Mogilev Regional Drama Theatre was built in 1888 on the donations of citizens who felt the need for the development of the city as a cultural center. The building of one of the most beautiful in the city, was built on the square near Muravievsky Park. It is the only building of the 19th century that has survived in Belarus and is one of the main attractions of Mogilev.
In 2003, the opening of the theatrical season was marked with the installation of a sculpture at the building of the drama theatre. Though many thought “The lady with the dog” to be a Chekhov heroine, she is instead a ‘potential theatre-goer’ who buys a ticket and takes her place in the hall.
Nikolsky Women’s Monastery. (Pic Credits: commons.wikimedia.org)
Nikolsky Women’s Monastery located in Mogilev, Belarus was built in the 18th century but like most buildings in Belarus it was ruined many times in wars and the period of soviet atheism. The Monastery has a pyramidal shape. During the works on the revival of the monastery in the 1990s, there numerous human remains were found. They were most likely the victims of Stalinist repressions, as in the late 30’s there was a prison in the cathedral. These remains now lie in the chapel under the glass.
Uspensky Orthodox Cathedral. (Pic Credits: commons.wikimedia.org)
Uspensky Orthodox Cathedral or Assumpton Cathedral in Vitebsk is a truly unique religious building.
The original building which was located there more than 600 years ago unfortunately did not survive.
It was reconstructed several times and now attracts huge number of tourists who come for the sake sanctuary. The largest existing bell in Belarus weighing 5,200 kilograms is installed in it. And there is even a legend about an underground tunnel through which an adult can pass through without bending.
Church of St. Barbara. (Pic Credits: en.m.wikipedia.org)
The Church of St. Barbara is a Catholic church and the parish in Vitebsk, a city in Belarus. The church was built as a cemetery in 1785. In the Soviet Union era it was closed and during World War II it was partially destroyed. Later, after the war the temple had various uses. Today, the main cathedral is the temple of Merciful Jesus in Vitebsk, consecrated in 2009. And on Sundays the Church holds organ music concerts with assistance of Vitebsk Region Philharmonic.
Combining two trends in architecture – Neo-Gothic and Neo-Romanesque style, the Roman Catholic Church of St.Barbara is recognized as a unique creation of Belarusian architecture. With its architectural silhouette and laconic exterior finish, the Church resembles a stone tale. Brick walls are turned into stone lace aspiring to the sky, built by the skillful hands of architects.
Estate Museum of Ilya Repin. (Pic Credits: commons.wikimedia.org)
This estate was bought in 1892 by the famed Russian artist Ilya Repin with his earnings from the sale of his famous paintings ‘Bargemen on the Volga’ and “Zaporozhian Cossacks Writing a Letter to the Sultan of Turkey.” Ilya Repin spent huge funds in landscaping the estate and rebuilding the main manor house according to his drawings. After his death in 1930, the house went to his family. This unique attraction of Vitebsk, Belarus was reconstructed again almost from scratch in 1988. Now the main memorial exhibition is placed in the house. It includes mostly household items of Repin’s family, ancient furniture and a lot of reproductions of paintings by the artist. The museum complex also includes a restored cellar. A monument to the artist can also be seen near the house.
If the above places have piqued your interest, don’t hesitate to add Belarus to your list of countries to travel to in 2019. Go ahead and learn about its rich heritage and history.
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