8 Heartwarming Places of Minsk
In the new series of interviews, Minsk Not Dead asks popular locals to share their favorite spots in the city. Today 34travel & 34mag publisher Anton Kashlikov is revealing where to catch a true Minsk mood and how to keep it.
– Minsk is my home, I’ve been living here since 2003 with a couple of short breaks. There was a love-hate period in our relationship with the city when tenderness and affection were replaced by boredom and indifference.
Lately, we've got used to each other, and now it’s comfortable for me here. I don’t like that the city is being actively overbuilt because it’s done thoughtlessly and aggressively: they might pull down entire blocks, cut down parks or destroy unique mosaics. Local activists are doing their best to defend the city. Sometimes they succeed (at least for a while), but more often they don’t.
Some places that I recall here also might be destroyed. Therefore, you need to love Minsk here and now.
vulica Kastryčnickaja, 23a
It’s a cozy place for relaxed get-togethers in summer. The owners of the local cafes take out tables and chairs for you to have a place to chill, sip your coffee or eat a sandwich from the nearby Laŭka snack bar. In the evenings (and even at nights) a spontaneous party almost always rattles here. I love this place more on the weekend mornings when there are few people around, you can hear seagulls yelling and casually chat with an old friend or just be alone with yourself.
Kitchen Coffee Roasters
vulica Kastryčnickaja, 16/3
This coffee house by the coolest local roasters is hidden on the outskirts of Kastryčnickaja street (enter through the gates at Kastryčnickaja, 10b). It is not easy to find it, but if you do, you won't regret it. It's quiet and fresh here, there’s a river flowing nearby, and no one ever will stop you from tasting beans from Honduras, Ethiopia or Brazil.
Son Gogolya Bookstore
vulica Lienina, 15
The cutest bookstore in Minsk. The guys who work here obviously love this place. Each book you get will be nicely wrapped. The guys offer an excellent selection of books, including quite rare ones, and delicious coffee. The shop is located in the arch in front of the National Arts Museum.
Socialist Realism Hall at the National Arts Museum
vulica Lienina, 20
The light and spacious hall on the second floor of the National Museum keeps a cool collection of socialist realism by Belarusian artists: all those heroic partisans, scenes of the grand construction projects in Minsk and happy Soviet pioneers leaning over textbooks. The works capture the spirit of that time, at least the way it was supposed to look like.
Asmaloŭka is the area that has been under threat of demolition for almost twenty years, but let’s focus on the bright side. We’ve already mentioned it a lot of times, for example, here. The district of Čyčeryna, Kamunistyčnaja, Kujbyšava and Kisialiova streets is the best place for a small Minsk walk.
To сonnect with the city, even more, grab a coffee in Sorso di espresso (vulica Kisialiova, 11) or in Thierry (vulica Kamunistyčnaja, 7), head for the “house with a spire” (vulica Kamunistyčnaja, 14) and go down to the rotunda at the turn of the river. Do you feel it?
The Church of the Holy Trinity
praspiekt Niezaležnasci, 44a
The church of the Holy Trinity (or St. Roch) was built in 1864. Now it's hiding in the courtyards right next to the Plošča Pieramohi. In the Soviet times, there were no worships in the church; in the 1980s a philharmonic hall was opened here. The believers got the church back in the early 1990s.
The Church of St. Roch is a real secret place, usually, there are hardly any people here. Walk around the church and pay attention to the tower nearby: it was used to block the banned foreign radio stations like Radio Liberty or Voice of America.
vulica Internacyjanalnaja, 20
«Победа» (“The Victory”) is another place that we may lose. The oldest cinema in the city has been closed for several years already, and the building has been put up for sale. Take at least a selfie on its steps, appreciate the innocent pink color of the walls, gorgeous columns and a powerful logo. In order to fully enjoy the view, we advise you to drink a glass of wine in Tapas Bar across the street.
There are enough nice parks in Minsk. My favorite ones are Lošycki Park, Drazdy and Park Pieramohi. I recommend you to enter Park Pieramohi from Novavilenskaja Street and the Palace of Children and Youth. Feed the ducks and swans and walk to the local beach (I’m sure it’ll be crowded even on weekdays in summer). By the way, here you can rent a bike and ride along the famous Minsk cycle path, which runs through almost the entire city.
Cover photos by murmurash