Not many foreigners visit this capital of Belarus, which makes it less crowded and more tranquil as compared to other touristy cities in Europe. Now whether those attributes are a plus or minus depends on you.
Despite the not so fabulous number of tourists to the place, it does not come short of beautiful attractions and places of interest to visit. Most notable though are the many historical buildings and monuments that were put up in honour of the brave soldiers who fought in the different wars that tore the place.
Victory Square is a structure that pays homage to the fallen heroes of the war – those who shed blood for the country, and for those who never found their way back home. The central piece of is a 40 metre obelisk made from granite, with a replica of the Order of Victory crowning the top. The four faces of the base depict different themes which were engraved with careful details by Belarusian sculptors. On one side you will see an image of the Partisans of Belarus, and on the other three the 9th of May Victory Day, Soviet Army during the Great patriotic War, and Glory to the Fallen Heroes. Aside from that, there is the eternal flame at the base which has become one of the favourite pictorial spots of many newlyweds.
Isle of Tears
Here is another monument that was born out of the need to commemorate the fallen soldiers of war. The monument with its sombre white and gray colours is built on a small and grassy artificial island and is surrounded by water. The centrepiece which is actually a chapel has an entrance lined with statues of grieving women – symbolizing the wives, mothers and sisters left behind by the dead soldiers who have fought in the Afghan War which lasted from 1979-1989. One interesting sight is the small male cherub sitting on the fountain. If you look closely, you will notice that the angel’s genital is a bit shinier than the other parts of the statue. This is because this area of the boy’s anatomy is usually groped by newlywed brides in the belief that this ensures that they will bear children.
Belarusian Great Patriotic War Museum
This is the first WWII Museum that opened in the city, and houses some of the remnants and relics of the German – Soviet War. The exhibits lean much towards the effects and events of WWII from the point of view of the Soviets, since they were the ones who liberated the city from the Germans. Over the last six decades, the collection has grown and now displays vintage tanks, cannons, and warplanes, all of which are original. Take note though that most of the texts that describes and discusses the items on display are written in Russian, so unless you are fluent in the Russian language, you should call and arrange for a guided tour with an English speaking guide.
War has taken its toll on this Belarusian city, but it has risen from the ashes of conflict and in time became one of the most beautiful tourist spots that is yet to be seen by the world.
Photo by marcveraart on Flickr