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Belarus

Main attractions

Mir Castle, Belarus
Mir Castle / Alexxx Malev, Flickr. CC BY-SA 2.0

Devastating wars have eliminated much heritage in Belarus. Thus, for example, quite a few towns here are older than 1000 years but only a few have complexes of historical buildings.

Most interesting landmarks in Belarus are:

Hrodna Cathedral of Saint Francis Xavier, Belarus
Hrodna Cathedral of Saint Francis Xavier / Alexxx malev, Flickr, CC BY-SA 2.0
  • Churches of Kievan Rus' times - some of the architecture jewels from these old times (11th - 12th centuries) have survived up to this day and include Savior Transfiguration Church in Polotsk and Kalozha Church of Saint Boris and Gleb.
  • Baroque churches - together with the neigboring Lithuania Belarus has some of the oldest and impressive Baroque architecture outside Italy. This includes Corpus Christi Church in Nesvizh, Hrodna Cathedral of Saint Francis Xavier and Pinsk Assumption Cathedral.
  • The large castles - visually most impressive historical structures in Belarus. Most impressive ones are Mir castle and Nesvizh Castle.

Natural landmarks

  • Blakitnaja Krynica (Blue Well) - Magileu Region. Powerful, picturesque spring, considered to be the most powerful spring in East European Plain. Output - around 60 l/s. Site of legends, sacred place.

Man made landmarks

Nesvizh Castle, Belarus
Nesvizh Castle / Dmitry Gerasimov, Wikimedia Commons, CC BY-SA 3.0

Castles

  • Mir Castle - Hrodna Region. Large castle with interesting architecture. Construction started in the early 16th century in Gothic style, but in the 1568, as it became a property of Radzivill family, there was built large residence in Renaissance style. Now it is to a large extent reconstructed and with ornate interiors. Legends about ghosts and apparitions.
  • Nesvizh Castle - Minsk Region. Former estate of the influential Radziwill family, built in 1582-1604 in Renaissance and Baroque style in the site of earlier castle. Castle consists of ten connected buildings. For most part reconstructed. Legends about ghosts and apparitions.
  • Tower of Kamyenyets - Brest Region. Fortified tower (donjon), built in 1271 - 1289 on the northern border of Volhynia. The only such tower (remnant of motte-and-bailey castle) in Belarus, built in Gothic style from brick and 30 m high.
Gomel Palace, Belarus
Gomel Palace / Аляксей Мацеша, Wikimedia Commons, CC BY-SA 3.0

Palaces

  • Gomel Palace - Homel region. Large palace in Neo-Classicism style, with Empire style interiors. Built between 1777 and 1796. Around the palace is an extensive park in English style.
  • Kossovo (Kosava) Palace - Brest Region. Large, ornate palace in Neo-Gothic style, built in 1838 by count Puslowski. Its twelve towers represent the months of the year. Now in ruins, under restoration.

Churches

Corpus Christi Church in Nesvizh, Belarus
Corpus Christi Church in Nesvizh / Антон Алегавіч Макоўскі, Wikimedia Commons, CC BY-SA 3.0
  • Corpus Christi Church in Nesvizh (Farny Kostel) - Minsk Region. Early Baroque style church, the first one in Eastern Europe. Constructed in 1587 - 1593 in the Radzivill family estate, designed by Italian architect Giovanni Bernardoni. Church contains the graves of Radzivill family members.
  • Hrodna Cathedral of Saint Francis Xavier - Hrodna Region. One of the most beautiful churches in Belarus, an outstanding example of Baroque style in Eastern Europe. Built in 1687 - 1705. Towers are 65 m high and the sumptuous interior is adorned with 21 m tall altar.
  • Kalozha Church of Saint Boris and Gleb - Hrodna Region. One of the few existing churches from the period of Pre-Mongol Rus. Constructed around 1180. The architecture style of this church seems to be influenced by Romanesque style.
  • Muravanka (Murovanka) Fortified Church - Hrodna Region. Beautiful church, built in Gothic and Renaissance styles in the time period between 1516 and 1542. This is one of the few remaining fortified churches, with four towers and shooting windows.
  • Pinsk Assumption Cathedral - Brest Region. This church with the surrounding buildings is one of the largest ensembles of Baroque architecture in Belarus. Constructed in 1706 - 1730 as a church for Franciscan monastery. The ornate interior includes more than 100 sculptures, many are covered with gold.
  • Saint Sophia Cathedral in Polotsk - Vitebsk Region. Medieval church, built in the time period between 1044 and 1066. This most likely is the oldest church in Belarus and it symbolised the independence of Polotsk. Later it has been rebuilt and now very little remains of the original structure. Here have been uncovered the burials of the Princes of Polotsk including the legendary Vseslav who was considered to be a sorcerer and werewolf. Current shape and ornamentation for the most part were made in the 18th century in Baroque style.
  • Savior Transfiguration Church in Polotsk - Vitebsk Region. Well preserved example of the early Rus church architecture. This small church was built in the 12th century. Contains frescoes from the 12th century.
  • Synkavichy Fortified Church of Saint Michael - Hrodna Region. One of the few fortified churches in Belarus, built in the early 16th century in Gothic style with some Renaissance influence.
Berestye Archaeological Museum, Belarus
Berestye Archaeological Museum / Δημήτριος, Wikimedia Commons, CC BY-SA 4.0

Other man made landmarks

  • Berestye Archaeological Museum - Brest Region. Authentic East Slavic wooden town from the 13th century. The site was excavated in 1968 - 1981 and then conserved. In total here are 28 log cabins.
  • Boris Stone in Polotsk - Vitebsk Region. One of the several stones with inscriptions from the 12th century, made in the times of Rogvolod Vseslavich (Boris), the Prince of Polotsk, thus marking the important trade routes, especially Daugava River. The stone was rised from Daugava and transported to the centre of Polotsk in 1981. Another such stone is the Boris Stone in Druya at Latvian border, there are some more.
  • Hrodna historical centre - Hrodna Region. Hrodna is the only large city in Belarus with well preserved historical centre. The street network has formed during the Middle Ages and here are numerous historical buildings from the 18th - 19th centuries as well as some older buildings - castles and churches.

List of described attractions by regions

Belarus is divided into 6 regions and national capital Minsk.

Brest Region
Homel Region
Hrodna Region
Magileu Region
ArrowBlakitnaja KrynicaSprings, Prehistoric and ancient shrines
Minsk City
Minsk Region
Vitebsk Region

Map of Belarus

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