There is something for everyone to see and to do in Minsk.
One of the landmarks of the capital city is Independence Avenue that crosses Minsk from the center to the north-east. The avenue is 15 km long, which makes it one of Europe’s longest city thoroughfares. The avenue is famous for its architectural ensemble built in the Stalin’s Empire Style in the 1950's. The ensemble with its balustrades, outdoor lighting and flowers, seeks to get into the UNESCO World Heritage List.
The avenue passes through the city’s biggest squares:
Yakub Kolas Square
Independence Square is over 7 hectares big, which makes it one of the biggest squares in Europe. It was designed by Iosif Langbard for conducting rallies and military parades. The following facilities are located there today: Government headquarters, Belarusian State University, Maxim Tank Belarusian State Pedagogical University, Minsk Metro headquarters, Minsk Mayor’s Office, Former commercial apartment buildings of the early 20th century, the Architect sculpture, Church of Saints Simon and Helen (Red Church).
The neo-Gothic Red Church was built in 1910 by order of aristocrat Edward Woyniłłowicz. The church was named and consecrated in memory of Woyniłłowicz's deceased children, Simon and Helen. His daughter Helen saw the future church in her sleep and drafted its sketch. The "underground city", one of the biggest community and shopping centers Stolitsa, was built under Independence Square in the 21st century. The mall features numerous stores, cafes, restaurants and a parking space.
The historical center of Minsk has preserved majestic temples and historical landmarks. The pearl of Minsk downtown is the Trinity Suburb featuring the 19th century buildings and atmospheric block-paved side streets.
The second biggest thoroughfare of Minsk – Peramozhtsau Avenue – starts at the ancient Upper Town near the Trinity Suburb. Along the avenue you can see: Sports Palace and the stele called Olympic Time, the Minsk Hero City, architectural and sculptural complex Great Patriotic War Museum, Victory Park, Palace of Independence, State Flag Square, Indoor Football Center, Minsk-Arena.
Parks and Gardens
Minsk is famous for its picturesque parks and gardens:
Gorky Central Children’s Park (is situated near the Belarusian State Circus along the bank of the Svisloch River)
Mikhailovsky Garden (a comfortable public garden near the BSU Law faculty decorated with works by the famous Belarusian sculptor Vladimir Zhbanov that became landmarks of the city: Woman on a Bench, Girl under an Umbrella, and Man Lighting Up a Cigarette)
Aleksandrovsky Garden (one of the most romantic places of the city situated near the Yanka Kupala National Academic Theater and features the oldest fountain in Minsk that was installed in 1874 to celebrate the opening of the public water-supply system; the sculpture Boy with a Swan is placed at the center of the fountain
Troitskaya Gora Garden (Teatralny Garden) near the Bolshoi Theater of Belarus (was renovated: now it has a dynamically lit fountain, the central walkway, and the opera and ballet walkways with the Opera and Ballet sculptures)
Central Botanical Garden of the National Academy of Sciences of Belarus (one of the largest botanical gardens in Europe (around 100 hectares in the city); its rich collection featurs over 10,000 plants from all over the world)
Chelyuskinites Park (once was part of the Bolshaya Slepnya estate owned by the famous Radziwill and Vankovich families; today there are around 22,000 trees in the park)
Victory Park near Lake Komsomolskoye (features the Isle of Birds wildlife reserve and beautiful illuminated fountains)
Loshytsa Park (a large residence in it welcomed many outstanding people like the last King of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth Stanislaw August Poniatowski, Russian Emperor Paul I, writer Vincent Dunin-Martsinkevich, composer Stanislaw Moniuszko…; today the Loshytsa estate and park is one of the most beautiful places in Minsk where one can walk along the old alleys and visit the residence-museum)
Today there are about 160 museums in Belarus, among which are historical palace and park ensembles, medieval castles, manors and houses of prominent personalities, rich collections and cozy themed mini-museums… The country’s largest public museums are located in the capital - Minsk.
Many of them are located in the central districts of Minsk and are particularly popular with tourists:
- Museum of Contemporary Belarusian Statehood (site is available in Belarusian and Russian)
- world’s first Museum of the History of the Great Patriotic War (site is available in Russian).