Travel Europe

Europe Travel Guide: Before You Travel Europe, Consult 'Travel Europe'!

Belarus: Things to Do and See

When considering places of interest, a good place to start is the UNESCO (United Nations Education, Scientific, and Cultural Organization) World Heritage List that currently includes 830 places in the world considered to have outstanding universal value. Four places in Belarus are included in the UNESCO World Heritage List and several others are under consideration and on the "Tentative List". Included in the UNESCO list are:

 

Mir Castle

Construction began on the castle at the end of the 15th century and was completed in the 16th century. The castle was restored in the 19th century. You can read more from UNESCO description or see photos .

 

Nesvizh Castle and Church

The castle is a fortified structure that was built in the 16th century and renovated in the early 18th century. One of the most important parts of the complex is the Corpus Christi Church. It is considered to house the first Baroque Art in Eastern Europe. Inside are baroque frescoes from the 1760s. The alter dates back to 1583.  You can read more from UNESCO description or see photos .

Struve Geodetic Arc

A chain of 34 monuments, 5 of them in Belarus, created to survey the Earth. Built by Friedrich von Struve between 1815 and 1855 the arc was constructed to determine the size and shape of the earth.   Read more from UNESCO 

Belovezhskava Pushcha/Bialowieza Forest

The Belovezhskava Pushcha is considered to be the last virginal forest on the Europeanre Lowland. While other forests have human intervention to replace trees, the Belovezhaskaya Pushcha is natural. Part is in Poland, part in Belarus. It is also one of the first protected parks in Europe. Dating back to the 16th century, it became a reserve for the wisent, the European Bison.  It is home to many, many endangered species. Read more from UNESCO .

 

Places in Belarus currently on the UNESCO 'Tentative List':

 

Brest Fortress

Constructed from 1830-1842, it was built to be part of the western defense of the Russian Empire. At 4 Kmit is the largest Russian fortress of the 19th century.  In 1941 it was the scene of the first confrontation between the Russian and German Armies and endured a month long battle. Note the monument to the thirsty soldier. Many soldiers suffered dehydration and were shot when trying to drink from the river only a few meters away. Read more from UNESCO .

 

If you are in Brest to visit the fortress, you might also be interested in the open air train museum. It is the only train museum in Belarus and has trains dating back to the 1940s.

 

Muravanka Church-Fortress

Built in the 16th century, this is a unique combination of church and fortress, with towers in the four corners and shooting windows at the top of the walls. The basement contained food and water for time of siege. There are four wooden carved altars and a 18th century organ. Today the building is an active church. Read more from UNESCO or see photos.

 

Kamyanets Tower

Erected between 1276-1278 and restored in 1903 this tower was built for defense. It is entirely built of brick, which is unusual as brick was expensive at the time the tower was constructed. It is 30 m high, with 2.5 m thick walls. Read more from UNESCO or see photos Click Here .

 

Gomel (Homel) Palace and Park

Constructed in the 18th and 19th century, renovated several times, most recently in 1969, the main building is amongst the first examples of classical architecture in Belarus. Located on the River Sozh, it contains a palace, a park, the Peter and Paul Cathedral and a Chapel. Gomel, the second largest city in Belarus, is very near to Ukraine and the Chernobyl nuclear plant. It took much of the radioactive fall-out from the accident. Read more from UNESCO or see photos  .

 

Polatsk Saviour Transfiguration Church and St.Sophia Cathedral

Built between 1152 and 1161, the cathedral was damaged due to an explosion in 1710. Its last renovation was completed in 1750 and has been preserved since then. The Convent of St Euphrosyne contains some 12th century architecture.  To read the UNESCO  or see photos .

 

Grodno (Hrodna) SS. Boris and Gleb Church

This five-domed church is the oldest structure in Grodno. Read more from UNESCO. or see photosThe city of Grodno is one of the prettiest cities in Belarus, since it suffered relatively little damage during wars. The Baroque Cathedral of St. Xavier contains 18th century frescoes. Other places worth visiting in Grodno include the Orthodox Church, botanical gardens, and the Old Town.(The contents of this website are copyrighted by TravelsWise.com)

 

Mogilev (Mahilyou) St.Nicholas Monastery Complex

This stone church was built in the 17th century and the cathedral, bell tower, walls, gates and frescoes are preserved from that time. To read the UNESCO or see photos . Also of interest in Mogilev is the St. Stanislaw Cathedral completed in 1752 in Baroque style. See photos .

  

 

Other Places Of Interest

 

Dudutki Park

This is a national heritage museum that features buildings and craftsmen from older times. Your visit will be ‘hands-on’ and may include assisting a blacksmith to forge a horseshoe or a master-potter to make a vase. You will likely taste homemade spirits such as vodka and perhaps sample fresh bread with milk and cheese as well as locally harvested honey. Get more information from Dudutki website o see the website Click Here.

 

Naroch

This is a lake in a pristine forest setting, which has seen very little development. You can bathe in its clean waters and take long walks in the forest. If you think that few people speak English in Minsk, wait till you try to find someone who speaks English here! This is a beautiful nature retreat, but almost all of your fellow tourists will be Russian speaking. Buses leave the bus station located next to the central train station.  There are several hotels in the area.

 

Khatyn

Khatyn, a war memorial, is where German troops wiped out a village by setting all of the houses on fire with the occupants inside. This place is frequently confused with Katyn, the site of a mass murder of Polish troops. (Read more about the Khatyn Massacre and the Katyn Massacre). Khatyn is one of hundreds that the Nazis destroyed in retaliation for loyalty to Belarusian patriots. It is a somber memorial to the atrocities of war.

 

 

Your Suggestions

Please let us know what other places you think we should add to this page? Place your comments in the box below: