Excursions

Castles & Palaces

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In the Medieval times Belarusian lands were called “the country of castles”, as there were more than 100 castles on the territory. The major trading routs were crossed here, therefore those areas were simply "tasty morsel" for the neighbors, which determined the emergence of defensive objects. Nowadays most of the noumerous castles, that have survived to the present days are in ruins, but some of them have been restored and are open for tourists.

MIR Castle Complex (UNESCO heritage)

MIR Castle Complex is located in the town of Mir, Hrodna region. This is one of the most significant and beautiful castles in Belarus and is an outstanding example of the 16th century's fortification art. The Castle’s construction was started in the 1520s by Duke Yury Ilyinich and had the features of the Belarusian Gothic style and later it was supplemented with the Renaissance style by its new owner Mikalaj Radziwill, “the Orphan”. During the war in 1812 the Castle was severely damaged and was restored anew only in 1891-1939 by the Sviatopolk-Mirsky family. In 2000 MIR Castle Complex was listed by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site in Belarus. Walking through the Castle's great halls and rooms you'll immerse into the epoch of grand dukes, knights and fair ladies. You'll be allowed to go down into the wine cellars and the basements of the torture chamber, the only one of its kind from the Grand Duchy of Lithuania’s times that has been saved till our days. As any castle Mir Castle has its own legends full of mysteries and stories about ghosts. If you visit Mir Castle Complex Medieval day is provided to you.

NESVIZH Palace Complex (UNESCO heritage, the Radziwills residence)

NESVIZH Palace Complex is the residence of the Radziwills, one of the most influential noble family in the Grand Duchy of Lithuania and the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth. The first Nesvizh Ordynat Mikolaj Radziwill, “the Orphan” (also he held a position as Imperial Prince of the Holy Roman Empire), started the construction of the castle in 1583. The invited Italian architect Jan Maria Bernardoni finished the works over the castle to the beginning of the 17th century. Construction of the Palace Complex continued till the 19th century, so it combined the techniques of medieval architecture from the late Renaissance, baroque, classical and original art by local artists. Many times the castle withstood the siege by Russian and Swedish troops. To the visit of the King of Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth Stanislaw August Poniatowski in 1784 the Palace Complex was greatly renewed and reconstructed by Mikhail Radziwill, the “Rybonka”, and Karol Stanislaw Radziwill, the “Pan Kokhanku”. Under their run the Palace reached its most flowering times. It kept an archive of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania. Palace’s library in the beginning of 1770 counted approximately 20,000 volumes of books, and there were 984 paintings in the Art Gallery of the Palace. Unique weapons collection, numismatics, numerous valuables several interlocking treasuries and other were held in Nesvizh Palace. After Napoleon’s invasion (1812) the Complex had come to the state of neglect till 1875. For a short period in the beginning of the 20th century the reconstruction of the Palace started by Maria Dorota de Castellan Radziwill, but after World War 1, the Radziwills left the area for immigration and the Complex came under the Soviet state defense. In the year of 2001 the Palace Complex had been given the status of the National treasure of Belarus, and the reconstruction works were finished in 2012. Since 2005 Nesvizh Palace Complex has been included by UNESCO in the List of World Heritage Sites.

RUZHANY Palace (the Sapegas residence)

RUZHANY Palace started its existence from the late of the 16th century. It was built on a high hill as a fortified residence of an influential magnate and the chancellor of the Grand Dutchy of Lithuania Lew Sapieha, who implemented the Statutes of the Grand Duchy (the first legal codes of the state and the first constitution on European areas). The castle was an unassailable fortress with four-stored underground caves, where weapon arsenal, foodstuffs and important documentations were kept. During the North war (1700-1721) the castle was greatly destroyed. In the years of 1784-1786 it was restored and transformed into a representative palace ensemble in the earlier baroque style with the elements of classicism, having become a wonderful harmony with the picturesque surroundings of English park. The Palace was famous for its modernly equipped theatre, big art gallery, orangery and the greatest library in the Duchy. World War 1 has left only ruins from the caste, but even they imparted the unique coloring to the surroundings of Ruzhany. The composition of the site colonnade with the arches creates automatically the association with the ancient Roman Coliseum and the monumental entrance gates has not lost the impressive efficient of “triumph lily” even in ruins.

KOSAVA Palace (the Puslovskies residence)

KOSAVA Palace was founded in 1838 by the Count Wandalin Puslowski, great industrialist and art lover. He decided to build a castlellated palace in Gothic Revival style and invited for this purpose a famous architect Franciszek Jaszczold, who made this estate a unique in its kind. The Palace has twelve towers, one of which symbolizes the month of the year. 100 separated rooms, 4 great halls (White Hall for balls and dancing, Black Hall for card games and Pink Hall for musical lessons, Parade Hall with a glass flour with the fish under it) made this Palace the most luxurious of the area. The Palace was surrounded by marvelous park garden, where more than 150 kinds of exotic plants grew. Picturesque landscape came down the hills to the neighbouring country and house, where Andrzej Tadeusz Bonawentura Kosciuszko (national hero of Belarus, Poland and the USA) was born. The Puslowskis were very proud of this neighbourhood. Later several times the Palace changed its owners as Leonard Puslowski lost his property in cards. During World War 1 the Palace was severely damaged and stolen, many of the material values were taken abroad. In the days of World War 2 in 1944 a long-lasting fire destroyed the great interior of the Palace completely . Currently, the Palace is in the process of restoration.

LIDA Castle

LIDA Castle was started building in 1323 at the request of Gediminas, the Grand Duke of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania. The Castle was a part of the chain of defense, having included Hrodna, Navahrudak, Kreva, Medininkai, and Trakai castles, which defended the lands from the Teutonic Knights War Union’s expansion. The walls were made of round flints and pebbles (boulder walls) and later lined with red brick. The Castle had the shape of quadrilateral with two corner towers and was situated on an artificial hill, surrounded by marshy banks of the Lideya and the Kamenka rivers. All this allowed castle’s residents to withstand numerous siege. In the courtyard of the Castle there was an Orthodox church (in 1533 it was moved outside the Castle), household rooms were situated on the first floor, and residential rooms occupied the second floor. Since 1568 the Castle contained court, chancery and jail. Many times it was attacked by different invaders, but during the North War (1700-1721) it was twice ruined by Swedish troops. The last battle took place here in 1794, when Tadeusz Kosciuszko and the rebels defended themselves in the ruins of the Castle from the Russian army. LIDA Castle has been restored and nowadays it is one of the popular places in Belarus for Knignt’s Festivals and reconstructed Medieval battles, when it gathers participants and visitors from all over the world, who are fond of Medieval times history.

HALSHANY Castle ruins

First mention of Halshany Castle refers to 1280, when it was founded by the the Halshanski princely family. Princess Sofia Halshnskaya became Queen of the Kingdom of Poland, when she married Jagaila, King of Poland and Supreme Duke of Lithuania and they founded European Jagiellon dynasty. The old Halshany Castle was made of wood, but it was one of the most beautiful castles in Europe. Since 1525 the Castle was inherited by the Sapiehas, one of the most influential magnate family in the Grand Duchy of Lithuania. At the beginning of the 17th century the Castle was restored anew and was made of stone. It had 6 towers, but they were deprived of defense power, and powerful earthworks and moats played the defensive role very well. The Castle was famous for its rich decoration of interiors. Pawel Sapieha, the heir of the Castle, invited Catholic Franciscans to his lands and founded here a church and a monastery. The Castle was severely damaged during the Northern War (1700-1721), it was devastated and robed. Because of financial insolvency of the Sapiehas after that war, the Castle was loaned and changed its owners time by time. After World War 1 and World War 2 it was converted in ruins. Halshany Castle is famous for its mysterious legends, and along with the Bermuda triangle, Belarusian village of Halshany is enlisted in the Encyclopedia of Mysterious Places. One legend says about the ghost of Black Monk, the other tells us about White Lady, who was immured alive in the wall of the monastery by the constructors and now wanders there. The locals also can tell you about the old water-mill, that is working at nights. Many scientists have visited Halshany, trying to find out the truth of these stories, and all of them came to the conclusion, that there was definitely some paranormal activity in the place. But it is the good reason for curious tourists to visit Halshany and Castle’s ruins. Nowadays the reconstruction of northern tower of the Castle is planned. Every year here the Medieval Festival takes place, where visitors can see an animated show of knights’ battles and get acquainted with folk Medieval traditions and customs.

HRODNA Old & New Castles

The Old Castle in Hrodna was founded in the 11th century on the hill of 30 meters of height as a defense from Crusaders. In the 13th century it had become a castle of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania and started to play a role of a key to Lithuanian lands. In 1398 Vitaut, the Grand Duke of Lithuania, strengthened the walls of the castle and made it bigger. So the length of the walls was 300 meters, the depth came to 3 meters, the castle had 5 towers and one entrance with a drawbridge. The castle of Vitaut had features of the Roman-Gothic style. In 1579 Stefan Batory, the Grand Duke of Lithuania and the King of Poland, made the castle his main residence. With a help of Italian architects he reconstructed it to the late Renaissance palace and castle complex. The castle significantly increased. The first floor was occupied by the guard, it also contained utility rooms, the chancellery, recesses and the archive. On the second floor there were the apartments of the royal family and parade halls. In the center of the main facade there was a downstairs of two levels with arcades, the ceiling and the walls of the interior were decorated with carvings and moldings. But at the same time the castle complex of Batory remained the features of the fortified medieval castle, the drawbridge was also left. There were military barracks on the territory of the complex, and the arsenal contained the armor for 600 soldiers and several hundreds of muskets and swords. From here Stefan Batory started his military campaigns and hunting. Here, he took foreign embassies. In the tower on the Nioman side there was a royal bath and over it there was an alabaster hall, where the king used to have a rest. Here, in the castle Stefan Batory died in 1586. During the Russian-Polish war in the 17th century and then during the North war (1700-1721) the castle complex was seriously damaged. It was rebuilt anew in the 30s of the 18th century by Saxon architect Karl Fridrich Poppelmann. The same features the castle has nowadays. The stone bridge with 16 small towers and the lifting link of the bridge in the Old Castle of Hrodna is the oldest bridge in Belarus. Come to Hrodna and touch to the great history and place, where great people of the old epochs lived.
The New Castle (Palace) in Hrodna was constructed in 1737-1742 by Saxon architect Karl Fridrich Poppelmann as a residence for the Polish king August III and as a place for the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth Sejms (gentry Parliament). The facade and interior of the Palace was designed in the Rococo style. Entrance gates contain massive pylons with the sculptures of sphinxes and putti. The fence posts are decorated with helmets with elements of military attributes and the gable is decorated with the blazon of the Commonwealth. The interior of the palace contains frescoes and moldings. The right wing of the palace had royal audience hall, royal waiting rooms for the Senate members, royal apartments and a dining room. The left wing of the palace had the Senate hall, the Embassy hall, the House of ambassadors and the rooms for the court. The second floor over the Senate hall was built as the galleries, where the queen with court ladies and ambassadors and arbitrators could listen to the meetings of the Senate. The Senate hall was luxuriously decorated with moldings, the space over the windows contained the blazons of all provinces of the Commonwealth. In the center of the Senate hall, near the chapel, the golden throne of the king covered with the red silk canopy was situated. The first Sejm of the Commonwealth took place here in 1744. On May 3, 1791 the Sejm of the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth adopted the first European Constitution. It was also the second constitution in the world after the United States (1787). The walls of the Palace saw the speechless meeting of the Sejm (1793), the meeting of Tadeusz Kosciuszko and the rebellion’s leaders (1794) and the king’s renunciation of the throne (1795), after which the Commonwealth stopped its existence. Today the Palace is open for visitors to let you know its great history in details. Come here and feel the atmosphere of the momentous events.

LUBCHA Castle

According to the legend Lubcha means "Love". The story says that the Grand Lithuanian Duke Mindoug during his crossing the Neman once saw a beautiful woman on the bank. He fell in love with her from the first sight and in some time the girl became his wife. The place of their first meeting meant much for both of them and Mindoug founded there a settlement called Lubcha, which name came from slavonic word "love". Lubcha became "their" special place. The Castle here first was founded in 1581 by Jan Kishka, one of the powerful magnates of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania. Later the Castle belonged to the Radziwills, who made it renewed and fortified with stone towers. During the wars of the 1648-1651s, the 1700-1721s and 1812 the Castle was greatly destroyed and it was restored from the ash in the 19th century in the English neogothic style. Nowadays Lubcha Castle receives the guests from all over the world to tell them its brave history and mysterious legends. The most interesting tour here is the animated show of the Coronation of Mindoug, that takes place in Navahrudak nearby and in Lubcha Castle every year. Come to Belarus and become a part of the King's Coronation. You'll like it!

GOMEL Palace (the Rumyantsevs and the Paskeviches residence)

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KRICHEV Palace (Prince Potemkin’s residence)

After the 1st division of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth in 1772 the lands of Mogilev province were annexed by the Russian Empire and Russian Empress Catherine II sought to consolidate her power here, so generously handing out the lands to her faithful courtier. Prince Potemkin, the famous favorite of the Empress, received Krichev lands with 14,000 people of serfs. Krichev is situated near the river Sozh, which in that epoch was an important waterway. So Potemkin decided to build here a shipyard and cable and sailing manufactories. At the same time he started the construction of the Palace in Krichev. For that purpose Potemkin invited a famous architect Ivan Starov, who was also the author of Tauride Palace in Saint Petersburg. He designed Krichev Palace in the Classical style and in the form of the latter “E” (the first latter in the name of the Empress Catherine in Russian – Ekaterina). The Palace had 72 rooms and the center of interest was the Oval Hall. The Empress visited the Palace just once in January, 1787 during her trip over the annexed territories. The same year Potemkin sold the Palace to the noble family of Jan Golynsky, who redesigned it in the neo-Gothic style. The interior was decorated with luxury of those times: amazing plaster moldings of the walls, oak staircase, colonnades, magnificent chandeliers of enormous size, luxurious furniture made of black oak, marbled bathrooms, porcelain and silverware, etc. The Portraits Hall kept the gallery of more than 40 portraits of the Gilynskies dynasty and some portraits of Russian Emperors and Empresses. The territory of 10 hectares around the Palace was planted with marvelous park in the old Polish style, which main features were the number of linden alleys. In the center of the park in honor of Catherine II the Oak of Queen was planted. After WW1 and WW2 the Palace was damaged. In the 2000s it was restored anew and today it is a main showplace of Krichev. The Palace is open for visitors to tell them real stories and legends of great personalities of the 18-19th centuries.

White Tower of Kamenets (Belovezhskaya Tower)

Since 1366 Kamenets was well developed trading settlement with castle and fortified towers and belonged to the Grand Duke of Lithuania Keistut, and then since 1392 it was owned by the Grand Duke of Lithuania Vitaut. Vitaut presented the settlement and forest nearby (Belovezhskaya Pushcha) to his daughter. Legend says, she was very beautiful woman, who liked wearing white clothes. People called her White Princess. White Princess fell in love with the Prince of Jagiellonian dynasty, but young couple was forbidden to marry because their fathers were at issue and were fighting for the lands. The tower of Kamenets was the site of young couple’s secret meetings for a long time. When the kings reconciled they married their children in Kamenets. On white horses, in a white chariot, in a white dress the bride and groom, tour three times around Kamenets Tower and went to the town, that was later called Białowieża (“White Tower” in Polish). In the castle where the couple had settled, the towers were painted in white color to symbolize their great love. That’s why all related to White Princess was named after her: cities of Biała Podlaska, Białystok, Białowieża in Poland, Belovezhskaya (White) Tower, Belovezhskaya Pushcha, Padbela and Belaya (White) villages and White river in Belarus. If you want feel the breath of great love White Tower is a must visit place!

Magnificent 19th century

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The 19th century was an epoch of unprecedented achievements of culture and art as well as science and technology. 19th century gave a huge number of prominent musicians, artists, writers and poets, architects, as well as scientists, inventors, adventurers and great politicians. The centers of cultural life on Belarusian lands were numerous magnates’ mansions and palaces (most of them nawadays are ruins or desolated). On the other hand, it was the time of Napoleon’s invasion, liberation uprising of 1863-1864 and its suppression, the beginning of national definition of Belarus as a new state on the world’s map and the magnificent flowering of Belarusian literature. We invite you to the mansions and palaces of famous people of the 19th century of Belarus, who are its great history and its pride.

Michal OGINSKI and his music (family mansion in Zalesiye, museum)

Duke Michal Kleofas Oginski is a famous composer, diplomat and a political figure of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth (19th century), one of the leaders of Kosciushka's uprising, honored member of Vilnya University, senator of the Russian Empire, author of the famous Oginski Polonaise. Oginski family mansion is an idealic place, where you can be completely filled with the presence of music and art. The nature here inspires and makes you feel in harmony with yourself and the whole world. It seems you can see numerous balls and musical parties, which took place here in the 19th century. Everywhere is head the music of polonaise, that strengthens the impression.

Stanislaw MONIUSHKO and his music (family palace ruins in Smilovichi)

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Francisk Bogushevich and his books (family estate in Kushliany, museum)

Francisk Bogushevich is a famous Belarusian and Polish poet, the founder of critical realism in Belarusian literature. His collections of poems "Dudka Belaruskaya" (Belarusian Fife) and "Smyk Belaruski" (Belarusian Fiddlestick) influenced much the creativity of a whole galaxy of talented Belarusian poets and writers of the 19th and early 20th centuries. Francisk Bogushevich was one of the participants of the gentry’s uprising in 1863-1864s on Belarusian territory. The aim of the uprising was the struggle for independence of Belarusian and Polish lands from Russian Empire and establishing the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth within the boundaries on the East of 1772. The uprising ended rebels’ defeat and Francisk Bogushevich had to live in Ukraine, and after the amnesty for all participants went back to Belarus. In Kushliany, where he spent his last years of life, there was his family estate. Picturesque Belarusian nature’s landscapes around the estate tell us about great love of Bogushevich to his motherland and its people. The atmosphere of estate breathes by the mood of the uprising, that's why you can easily immerse into the epoch of great activity for independence. Visit this place and you’ll indeed feel the real origin of Independent Belarus.

Valenty Vankovich and his paintings (family mansion in Minsk)

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Adam Mitskevich and his books (family estate in Zaosiye, museum)

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Edward Woynilowich and his arqutecture (Red Church in Minsk)

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ZHILICHI mansion of the Bulgaques (arquitecture, interior)

The Bulgaques’ mansion in ZHILICHI is the only one in Belarus where the original plastering on the ceiling and walls has been remained. The most impressive are moldings, which decorate the halls. The combination of colors, images of ancient Greek chariots, angels and white female masks create pompous atmosphere. The construction of the mansion started in 1825 and lasted 23 years. The mansion was built as a palace complex on the territory of about 100 hectares and took fame of being the most luxurious in the area. Locally it was called “Versailles de Zhilichi” because of its exciting interiors and wonderful park zone. One of its wings had the church, the other wing contained a tropical greenhouse with palms, cypresses and orange trees, which in summer times were planted in the park. During WW2 the mansion was partly destroyed and robbed. Nowadays it has been restored partly, the reconstruction works are continuing, but it is open for tourist and excursions.

KRASNY BEREG mansion of the Gatovskies (arquitecture, interior)

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Rakovskoe and Trinity estates in Minsk

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BOBRUISK Fortress

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WW1

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Front of the WW1 was on the territory of Belarus for 2.5 years in line Postavy - Smorgon - Baranovichi - Pinsk. It left here dozens of cemeteries, monuments, bunkers, dugouts. First mass gas attacks against Russian military units were used by Germany here. And here, in Soly on the 4th of December 1917 agreement of the armistice on the Western Front was signed, that played an important role in the further development of events. And here, in the White Pallace of Brest Fortress on the 3d of march of 1918 the Peace Treaty of Brest-Litovsk was signed between the new Bolshevik government of Soviet Russia and the Central Powers (Germany, Austria-Hungary, Bulgaria, and Ottoman Empire), that ended Russia's participation in WW1.

WW2

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In WW2 Belarus participated as a Soviet Socialistic Republic, and this war here is called the Great Patriotic War. It started on the 22 of june 1941, when German Army attacked a border city of Brest without declaration of war. Belarus' territory was occupied by the Nazis in a few days. Belarusian partisans were the volonteers, who fought with the enemy underground. Partisan movements helped greatly to win that war.

Historical Festivals

immerse into the epoch

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Numerous historical festivals are held in Belarus during the year. They reconstruct certain historical events (battles, balls, knignts festivals, etc.) in reality. We invite you to become a part of any epoch (including wearing historical costume and participating in the reconstructed events), which, for sure, will make your travel extraordinary and enrich your memories for the whole life!

Knight festivals (Medieval times)

Belarusians are very proud of their historical heritage of the Medieval times. It was the epoch of foundation and flowering of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania, the most influential European kingdom in the 13-17th centuries. The 14-16th centuries were known for numerous wars and conquering the lands. Landlords had their own home guards consisted of cavalry and infantry with reliable protective equipment: horses, swords, bows and crossbows. Since the 16th century Lithuanian army was a professional one, because it was formed of mercenary soldiers. History knows many brave battles when knights of all ranks protected their lands and castles and won the enemies on the fields of fights. Knight festivals are very popular in Belarus. They reconstruct certain historical events, demonstrate and raise patriotic feelings. In Belarus there are many knightly clubs, which study carefully historical heritage and restore the epoch of the Medieval times in military equipment, historical dress and in battles. Every festival is the possibility to watch and even participate in animated historical show. At the festival you can be taught archery and fighting with swords. Medieval music and dancing will transfer you through the ages to the times of kings and queens, brave knights and fair ladies. Usually knight festivals take place on the territory of castles to strengthen the atmosphere of the events. The castle's areas during the festival are occupied by knightly camping and Medieval fair, where curious tourists can buy various Medieval hand-made souvenirs. As a rule at night castle becomes the stage for magnificent fire show and theatre performance. Knight festivals are the best way to know the old culture of Belarus. Usual places for festivals are Mir, Lida, Navahrudak, Halshany and Kreva castles. Feel free to take a Medieval journey when you come to Belarus!

Golden Spur Festival (reconstruction of 1812 battle & balls)

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Vikings Festival

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WW1 battles

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WW2 battles

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Partisans (guerrilla) сamps

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Incredible Places of Belarus

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Independence Avenue in Minsk

Independence Avenue in Minsk has the length of 15,3 km and as a fact it is the largest one in Europe. It starts in the centre of the city and goes to the North-East. The Avenue crosses 5 squares and joins 6 city districts. The history of Independence Avenue goes back to the 18-19th centuries, when Belarusian lands were annexed by Russian Empire after the 3d division of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth in 1794. Minsk was situated on the main road from Moscow to Warsaw and it was a necessity to build a new trading way there. As a result, the old fortifications of the 15-17th centuries were destroyed and in 1801 a new street appeared. It was called Zakhariev street after the name of the first Minsk governor Zakhariy Korneev. In 1812 when Napoleon's Army conquered Minsk, French Emperor called it New City street. During German invasions in WW1 and WW2 street's name was Gaupstrasse. In Soviet period at different times the street was called Sovietskaya (1917-1919, 1920-1941, 1944-1952), Adam Mitskevich street (1919-1920), the 25th of March street (1944), Stalin Avenue (1952-1961), Lenin Avenue (1961-1991), Francisk Skorina avenue (1991-2005), Independence Avenue (since 2005). As after WW2 Minsk was almost completely destroyed, the street was designed and rebuilt anew in the unique Stalin's empire art style and became Stalin Avenue in 1952. During the whole length of nowadays Independence Avenue this style is kept in the original, that makes the city of Minsk the most distinguished in the world. Main tourist objects are situated here, that's why city tour over Independence Avenue is the most popular one.

National Library in Minsk

Are you fond of reading? Have you ever seen millions of books in one place? In Belarus you can really do it! The National Library of the Republic of Belarus is one of the largest in the world. It holds more than 9 million of printed and handwritten editions and has the third largest world's collection of Russian works. For sure, here you can find many interesting books and archives to read. The Library is one of the most distinctive and impressive buildings in the world. The project of its construction was designed in 1980s, but the building was erected only in 2006. It is shaped like a Rhombicuboctahedron (semiregular polyhedron) of 72 meters of height and is 135 000 tons of weight. Here, in the Library the highest observation desk in Minsk is situated, from where at daytime you can observe an impressive panorama of the Belarusian capital, laying in front of you as on a palm. At nighttime the Library is awesome! The building has original lighting of the giant multicolor screen, which is switched on daily from sunset till 12 a.m. The design of lighting is changing all the time and the Library is clearly seen from the space. According to the site Village of Joy, the National Library of Belarus is on the 24th place of attractiveness for tourists,leaving behind the highest tower of Barcelona, Las Vegas casino and the National stadium in Pekin. For sure, visiting Minsk will be your most incredible journey!

The Green Fireplace in Loshitsa estate

Loshitsa estate’s Park can be rightly called the most picturesque park in Minsk. Being a historic site, the park has its numerous stories and legends. The atmosphere here transfer you to the magnificent 19th century, when the present day's park was founded around the gentry’s estate by its last owner, an aristocrat Eustafiy Liubansky. Eustafiy planted here a large variety of trees and shrubs, some of them were exotic plants, Crimean pine, Siberian fir and magnolia and others. The park is surrounded by the river and even has several small islands. That way Eustafiy converted his estate into blooming paradise, the paradise, where he and his wife lived their love. The energy of their feelings made their estate the center of the aristocratic life in Minsk. The intelligentsia gathered here for theatric and poetic evenings, for celebrating local events and simply for walks over the paths of the picturesque park and the embankment. The mansion of the estate was luxuriously decorated according to the last fashion of the 19th century. The lobby was made in the English style, the corridors and the stairwells were made in the Pompeian style. For the design of the library and the dining room they used the Renaissance style and the living room was decorated in a smart Rococo. But the central attention in the mansion was given to the tiled heaters, the entire collection of which came to our days. The central place of the collection belongs to a unique green fireplace, which had been ordered by Eustafiy Liubansky in Riga according to German models. Magnificent fireplace stylized of the 16th century’s fashion with dark curly green glazed tiles and panels with scenes from the medieval family home life is a real masterpiece of art. When visiting Loshitsa estate’s Park, enter the mansion and the museum here, take a walk through the halls and the rooms of the house and feel the atmosphere of quiet and coziness of the aristocratic home. And the green fireplace will remind you about Christmas time and the real family values, full of love and respect, which has been transferred here from the past.

Waterpark “Lebiazhiy” in Minsk

Waterpark “Lebyazhiy” is one of the most significant waterparks in Belarus and is the 5th largest waterpark in Europe. In 2016 it became the 19th in the TOP-25 of the best European waterparks according to the Traveller’s Choice Award by TripAdvisor. Waterpark “Lebyazhiy” is a modern entertainment complex, which consists of a waterpark, SPA area, a fitness centre, the River Park and a hotel. The complex is situated on the picturesque bank of the storage reservoir “Drozdy”. Here silence seems to be deafening, and numerous green plants oxygenate and supply with energy. This very nature can shield you from the city bustle and contribute to your rest. Every day 7,800 people visit waterpark during the year. Highly equipped entertainment area will impress children as well as adults. SPA area offers a great range of saunas: Russian banya (steam bath), Finnish sauna, Turkish bath, laconium, tepidarium, caldarium, salt room, hot. The territory of the River Park is the place for various summer amusements, such as riding a wakeboard on a cable track or behind a boat, taking a SUP-surfing trip, driving bicycle, scooter or even electro skateboard, having a walk on catamaran and on motorboat or sailing yacht, jumping on trampoline and throwing a ball in a street ball area, pumping your body in the workout-area or simply relaxing in a summer cafe on the pier, enjoying the breeze and beautiful views of the city. When it is cold outside, there is always summer inside the waterpark. Come to waterpark “Lebyazhiy” and make your rest in Minsk unforgettable!

Vulitsa Brasil in Minsk

Vulitsa Brasil or Brasil street is a new art object, that appeared in Minsk and attracted lots of tourists in autumn 2016. Brazilian Embassy and the city’s authorities held a street art festival in the center of Belarusian capital. Mural artists from Brazil and Belarus created a unique street art on the walls of an industrial quarter. They were inspired by the nature and cultures of both countries, that was reflected in the plot of their pictures. Slavonic mythology, Brazilian brightness of colors, images of endangered species of animals and birdsof both lands are main stories of the murals. Vulitsa Brasil has become one of the largest murals in the world. The central image here is a figure of Belarusian gusliar, a musician, who plays the gusli. The artists also decorated with pictures two old city trams, creating the atmosphere of fiesta for the whole city. The end of the festival was celebrated with bright parade under the sounds of Brazilian music and dances. For sure, the following years, this street will become one of the most popular and visitable streets of Minsk, the best place for open-air festivals and Latin-American parties.

“Fired” hall in the Museum of the History of GPW (WW2)

Any museum of war is a place of great sorrow, and in Belarus in particular. WW2 in Belarus is usually called and known as the Great Patriotic War, because here every fourth citizen was killed by the fascists. Belarusian lands were the first ones of the Soviet republics, which took the fire on themselves. The war here started on the 22th of June in 1941, when the fascists invaded into the peaceful Brest city without a declaration of war, and in four days on the 26th of June the fascist troops had already occupied Minsk city. The war in Belarus was very severe, hard, full of grieve and suffering of peaceful population, but every day brought closer the Great Victory over the Nazism.The Museum of the Great Patriotic War in Minsk is an outstanding place to know the history of that war. In 2014 the Museum moved into the new and highly equipped building, that was designed by famous Belarusian architect Victor Kramarenko. On the area of 15,000 square kilometers of the Museum you’ll be able to visit 11 halls. Every one of them is dedicated to a certain period of the war: from the very beginning till the Great Victory. In the Museum there is a hall, where you can enter only through the “fire”. You are staying in front of it, watching it and feel the fear to enter inside, regardless you understand, it is a hi-tech fake. You are scared and in the “fire” you read the names of the Belarusian villages, which were burned with its citizens by the fascists forever. The other museum hall, that excites the senses, is the hall of a concentration camp. Everything here looks real. You feel as being prisoned here. You see the conditions in which people lived, you see the speechless sculptures of people, you see their eyes… and live their reality. In partisans’ zone of the Museum you feel the real odor of spruce and tree’s branches are lying down on your head. Partisan movements were very spread in Belarus during the Great Patriotic War, and thank to their activities the war was won. The last museum hall is on the top of the building and symbolizes the Reichstag, from where the Nazi flag was dropped out, that’s why when you go nearby the Museum you can see Soviet Union flag, flying on the dome, remembering people, who won the war. The National Museum of the Great Patriotic War in Minsk is a special place, where you can deeply understand the meaning of peace and peaceful life and at the same time feel in your veins the loud word of “victory!”.

The only one world’s cemetery of villages in Khatyn

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The Alley of Sobriety in Mosar

Everyone knows, that alcoholism is one of the worst dependences and sources of crime. In Belarus there is a village, the whole settlement, were alcohol is not sold and the dwellers lead healthy way of life without alcohol. And the reason for this takes its roots in a real story, when a Catholic prelate Juozas Bulka started his services in Saint Anna church (1792) in Mosar in 1990. It was the year of faith renaissance in Belarus after the fall of the Soviet regime, and people were depressed morally by the situation of the reality of those events. Many men in the village drank, and drank heavy. First, the prelate prohibited to enter the church for drunken people and then started a huge activity against drunkenness. He was able to convince all local citizens in stop selling alcohol in all shops and trading objects of Udelov area, to which Mosar belonged. Prelate Juozas Bulka founded the Museum of Sobriety on the territory of the church, to where the localbootleggers surrendered their moonshine machines. The museum also stores the receipts of villagers, verified by the local village council’s stamp, which say that they refuse alcohol. With a help of these very villagers prelate Juozas Bulka constructed an Alley of Sobriety as a strong proof of their decision to lead healthy way of life. With 14-step devotions, or stations of the Way of the Cross (the Calvary of Mosar) the Alley leads to the hill, where the highest Saint Cross in Belarus is situated. In front of the church they founded a picturesque park with a wonderful landscape design, that includes ponds and bridges over them and even a part, where ostriches live. Among the park greens are numerous white sculptures on Bible’s themes. Central sculptures are the copy of the famous Pieta (Renaissance sculpture by Michelangelo Buonarriti, housed in St. Peter's Basilica, Vatican City), the Grotto of the Virgin Mary and the sculpture of the Pope Joann Paul II. The territory of the park reminds us of the beauty of human’s nature, when people devote their lives to soul’s needs. For sure, this place is first of all a holy and a special place for Catholic pilgrims, but also it is one of the most adorable tour routs among tourists from all over the world. Visit Mosar and you’ll discover a picturesque European province, filled with spiritual traditions and strong belief.

Slutsk Belts Manufacturing

Slutsk belts are the national treasure of Belarus. They were a part of man's dress of priviledged gentry of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth. Wearing Slutsk belts tied on the weist was the mark of nobility and wealth of their owner. The origin of Slutsk belts comes from the Osman Empire and Persia. First belts manufacturing appeared in the Commonwealth in 1758 in Slutsk. It was founded by Mikhail Kazimir Radziwill, the great Lithuanian getman. He invited there Turkish and Persian weavers, who trained local apprentices, and so the technologies were adopted. The belts were weavered only by men, it was considered a good luck. Women were not allowed to the process of manufacturing. Every belt was weavered of thin silk, golden and silver threads, had the lenth of 2-4,5 metres and the width of 30-50 cm. All sides of the belts were front sides. Usually the belts were belateral, but the most precious ones were four-sided. The patterns were designed by artists and contained oriental and popular local tunes, but all the time unique and exclusive. The cost of the belts varied from 5 to 50 ducats (15-150 golden roubles) and in some cases could reach 1000 golden roubles, that was equal to the annual income of the Commonwealth's officer. Regardless the belts were produced in Nesvizh, Warsaw, Krakow and other cities, they were popular as Slutsk belts, because Slutsk manufacturing was the most influencial and skilled in the state. Since the end of the 19th century Slutsk belts became objects of collecting. Original belts nowadays are in many world's museums as well as in private collections. Belarusian scientists studied old manufacturing technology of the belts and invented a unique weavering machine, that helped recreate exactly manufacturing process. 250 years ago one weaver could produce 2-3 belts in a year. Modern technology allows to produce 1 belt in 60 hours. The materials and techniques of the replicas are the same as in the 18th century. Because of the complicated manufacturing process Slutsk belts replicas are very expensive, but as the masterpieces of art they can be good investment. Their cost varies from $500 to $2500. They are produced only on pre-order. You can see original belts in the National Art Museum of Belarus in Minsk and in the Museum of the history of Slutsk belts in Slutsk. In Slutsk you can also buy replicas of the belts and other related souvenirs. Come to Belarus, touch the history of art and feel what is to be a Lithuanian magnat!

Learning Belfry in Pinsk

Leaning Belfry of the Franciscan church is the most distinguished object in Pinsk, one of the largest and ancient cities in the South of Belarus. The Catholic church of Virgin Mary’s Assumption was founded there in 1396 in the memory of the baptizing by the Franciscan monk of Zygmunt Keistutovich, the local Lithuanian duke. The church was made of wood, and only in 1510 it was reconstructed with stone. In 1817 a three-tiered Belfry appeared near the church. It was designed by A. Kamensky, local architect, who had graduated from the Bologna Academy of Art in Italy. The fourth tier of the Belfry was completed and covered with a dome in the 1920s. Nowadays the Belfry is a dominating top in the center of Pinsk. The fact is, that during the construction the Belfry had deviated from its axis, that made it little bit similar to the Leaning tower of Pisa. The Belfry has three bells. The first one weighs 1500 kg and bears the name of St. Zygmunt, in honor of the first Pinsk Bishop Zygmunt Lozinski (1925-1932). The second bell weighs 384 kg and is dedicated to St. Andrey Bobolya, Pinsk apostle (1591-1657). The third bell of weight 96 kg is dedicated to St. Teresa. The Belfry is the part of the architectural complex of the church and the Franciscan monastery. The whole ensemble occupies a large space between the main street and the river and creates an impressive sight. The interior of the Baroque styled church is famous for wooden sculptures, ornamental carvings and frescoes. The most valuable is pulpit of gilded carving, where there are more than 70 sculptures, mostly covered with gold leaf. The organ of the church was built in 1833-1837 by Adalbert Grodnitsky from Vilna and nowadays is the unique and the most ancient working organ in Belarus. The church is also famous for its original painting of Pinsk Madonna, created by the artist Alfred Romer, who painted a simple woman lovingly holding her baby. Only in the bright as if coming from the sky light beam, as well as in a subtle halo over her head, you can understand that she is not just a human mother, she is Madonna. The Franciscan church is the place, where the first Belarusian Cardinal Kazimerz Swiantek served. Here, in the crypt, he was buried in 2011. Visiting Pinsk you’ll discover many interesting facts about Belarus and its great history. Regardless today Pinsk according to its population is the 10th city in Belarus, it keeps the heritage of old times when it was the most important. The atmosphere of Pinsk streets makes you feel like being in an old European city. The Baroque, Classical, Eclectica, Modern and other art styles transfer you in the times of great art and spiritual development. What else to see in Pinsk: Jesuit College (1636) and the Museum of Polesie, Pinsk gallery, St. Barbara Orthodox Cathedral (1705), Karl Barromey church (1770) and the Chamber Music Hall, synagogue (1901), the Butrimovichs’ Palace (1784), the River Port, the old city park (1858), Polesie Theatre (1911), St. Fedor Orthodox Cathedral (1990) and others.

Park of Miniatures of the Castles of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania

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Upside-down Folk House in Dukory

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Mitskevich Bulk Barrow in Navahrudak

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Cheery Festival in Glybokae

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Polotsk, the geographical center of Europe

Polotsk is the most ancient city of Belarus and the whole Eastern Slavonic region. It was founded in nearly the 8-9th centuries and was first mentioned in the Chronicle of Ancient Years in 862. In the 10th century Polotsk became the main center of the Polotsk Principality. The city is situated on both sides of the river Western Dvina, that’s why in the ancient times it was an important trading port on the route from the Vikings to the Greeks. So the Viking and missionnaire Torvald, the Traveler, who came to Polotsk from Iceland, founded there the first Christian church and the monastery. The church was named in honor of Saint John, the Baptist, that symbolized the baptizing of the Eastern territories of Europe. The first Polotsk princely dynasty was the family of Izyaslavich (also Rahvalodavich), who were one of the branch of Ancient Russian princely dynasty of the Ryurikovich. The Izyaslavich used to be very independent and were the first princes, who had separated from the Ryurikovich. One of the earliest Christian cathedrals of the Ancient Rus was built in Polotsk in about 1030-1060s and was named the Sophia Cathedral. The most famous person of Polotsk of all times has been Saint Eufrasinia of Polotsk (1110-1179), who was the grand-daughter of Polotsk prince Vseslav Bryachislavovich, the Fascinator. Eufrasinia became a nun, founded in Polotsk a monastery and spread Christianity all over her lands. Exists a story about Eufrasinia’s Cross, the masterpiece of ancient jewelry, created by the local jeweler Laser Boghsha in 1161: Eufrasinia ordered the Cross for the church, the relic was carefully kept by the Orthodox church for many centuries, but after WW2 the Cross disappeared and nowadays its fate has not been known. Today the replica of the Cross as well as the remains of Saint Eufrasinia are stored in Holy Transfiguration Church of Eufrasinia Monastery in Polotsk. Since 1392 Polotsk had become the city of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania. As most Lithuanian cities it was given Magdeburg Law (1498). The other significant person of Polotsk is Francisk Skaryna (1490-1551), the first Eastern Slavonic printer, philosopher and humanist, writer, social activist, entrepreneur and scientist-physician.Polotsk is officially the geographical center of Europe, and when visiting this city you can be given an official certificate, proving this. The most significant places in Polotsk are the Sophia Cathedral, the Museum of Book Printing, Eufrasinia Monastery, Boris Stone (the 12th century’s route mark), the Red Bridge, Jesuit College, Lutheran church (the 19-20th centuries) and many others. Just come to Polotsk and immerse into the epoch of the first European kingdoms.

The Old Tower Clock in Hrodna

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Giliber Park in Hrodna

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Ostrich Farm near Kobrin

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The Original Great Lithuanian Statutes in Mogilev City Hall

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Safari Park in Braslaw Lakes Reserve

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Farm Garden in Naroch

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Street Lights of Brest

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Father Frost’s Residence in Belovezhskaya Pushcha

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Holy Places

the Art of Architecture, Décor & Frescoes of Churches

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Belarus is mostly a Christian country, but with the constitutional right to freedom of religion. First bishoprics on the territory of Belarus were founded in 992 in Polotsk. It was connected with the Christianization of Kiev Principality in 988. In Polesie (the South of Belarus) new religion came mostly in a peaceful way. So through Christianity Belarusian lands entered into the European civilization. In 1251 the duke Mindoug adopted Catholicism, and then in 1253 he was crowned as the first Grand Duke of Lithuania and his lands were officially declared the kingdom in Europe. For a short period in 1265-1341 Lithuanian kings joined the Orthodox Church, and then after Jagaila had become the Grand Duke of Lithuania, Catholicism was widely spread and dominated on the territories till 1794. That’s why most of churches on the territory of contemporary Belarus have features of architectural and art styles of the Roman Catholic. The influence of the Jesuits, the Bernardines, the Franciscans, the Dominicans and other Сatholic religious orders left a large footprint in the spiritual and cultural heritage of Belarus. Judaism was also spread in the Grand Duchy of Lithuania, because jews actively settled here in communities, developing trade and making the state flourish. For that reason jews were the class of free people and were under direct patronage of the Grand Duke and the highest local authorities. So in the 19-20th centuries in some Belarusian towns jews numerically dominated (70-80%) of the members of other ethnic groups and faiths. When the territory of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania was annexed by Russian Empire in 1794, the Catholic domination was supplanted by the Orthodox.
We have travel routes for you to visit beautiful churches, monasteries and synagogues. Pilgrimage to miracle-working places is the other available option in our tours.

Museums

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There are nearly 160 museums in Belarus. We can provide you with an excursion tour over museums of Belarus according to your interests: paintings and sculpture, palaces and mansion’s museums, cold steel arms, history, literature, park-museums, war-museums, etc.

Cities & Entertainment

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Any Belarusian city has its charm. We can show you all the best of them. Daily promenade, shopping or night entertainment will help you to know more about contemporary Belarus.

 

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