Located in Eastern Europe and part of the USSR until independence in 1991. Belarus is bordered by Russia to the east, Ukraine to the south, Poland to the south-west, Lithuania to the west and Latvia to the north-west. A presidential republic and commonly considered a dictatorship. Headed by president Alexander Lukashenko since 1994.
To visit most nationalities require a visa. The currency is the Belarusian Ruble.
The capital and largest city. Founded in 1067. Situated on the Svislach and Nyamiha rivers.
Saturday, 18th October 2015
View across Independence Square from a fountain in the centre. In front, the Belarusian State University building with a 14-storey central tower. It dates from 1962. To the right, part of Government House. This huge building was constructed between 1929 and 1934.
People sitting on benches in Independence Square. Next to a large circular fountain with water around the outside and a glass dome in the centre. Again the Belarusian State University and Government House buildings can be seen beyond.
Still in Independence Square. In the foreground, the central fountain with a bronze sculpture of birds in the centre of its glass dome. Beyond, a view of the red brick Church of Saints Simon and Helena (also known as the Red Church). Built between 1905 and 1910. It was named and consecrated in memory of prominent business man Edward Woynillowicz’s two deceased children, Szymon and Helena. It is Roman Catholic in affiliation.
A bell hung from a wooden frame near the Church of Saints Simon and Helena. This is the Nagasaki Bell, a memorial to the nuclear attack on the Japanese city of Nagasaki in August 1945. It was unveiled in September 2000. It is a replica of a bell from Nagasaki’s former Urakami Cathedral.
View across October Square to the huge austere concrete and glass front façade of the Palace of the Republic. This conference centre, concert hall and entertainment venue was erected between 1986 and 2001. Tony standing in front.
The Minsk Gates, two 11-storey buildings resembling castle towers. One has a large clock, its face is the largest in Belarus. At Station Square, in front of Minsk train station in the evening. Tony in front.
This city is capital of the Brest Region of Belarus (not to be confused with the French city) on the western border with Poland. It is opposite the Polish city of Terespol, where the Bug River and Mukhavets Rivers meet. Founded in 1019.
Monday, 20th October 2015
Brest Fortress is one of the most important Soviet World War II monuments commemorating the Soviet resistance against the German invasion on 22nd June 1941 (Operation Barbarossa). In 1965 it was given the title “Hero” Fortress in recognition of its role in resisting the German invasion. The Germans took the town of Brest, but the two regiments garrisoned inside the fortress held out. The town and fortress were liberated in July 1944.
The memorial complex was opened on 25th September 1971.
Preserved remains of walls inside Brest Fortress. These are the remnants of the 18th century White Palace, which originally had three floors, but was almost completely destroyed during the 1941 battle.
Tony in front of an orthodox church inside Brest Fortress. It is painted white with a central dome. First built in the mid-19th century, it was later reconstructed as a Roman Catholic garrison church (1924-1929) and later held the Red Army Officers Club. During the battles in June-July 1941 the building became an important point of defence and changed hands more than once. It was returned to the Orthodox church in 1994 and is now part of the memorial complex.
Tony at Terespol Gate. One of four gates leading into the fortress’s citadel. This large brick built gate dates from the early 19th century. It was badly damaged in World War II with the upper part destroyed.
The Millennium Monument at the intersection of Sovietskaya and Gogol streets in the early evening twilight. It was designed by Belarusian architect Alexei Andreyuk and was constructed between 2009 and 2011. A bronze sculpture of the Angel of Mercy with a cross stands on top of a 15.1 metre high granite column.
A city in western Belarus founded in 1128. Located on the Neman River close to the borders of Poland and Lithuania.
Wednesday, 21st October 2015
The castle originated in the 11th century as the seat of a dynasty of Black Ruthenian rulers. It was a royal residence until the 18th century when it was badly damaged during the Great Northern War. At present it is a museum.
Tony close to a stone statue of Vytautas the Great. He lived from circa 1350 to 1430 and was one of the most famous rulers of medieval Lithuania. He ruled the Grand Duchy of Lithuania from 1392 to 1430, before this he was Prince of Hrodna from 1370 to 1382.
Inside the Great Synagogue of Hrodna. Tony wearing a skullcap (Kippah) as is customary. White painted walls and columns. The synagogue was first built from wood between 1576 and 1580 at Rabbi Mordechai Yaffe’s invitation. It burnt down in 1902 and was rebuilt in a mix of eclectic and Moorish styles.