Best War Memorials and Museums to Visit in Belarus
Published: 30 July 2015
Belarus, in Eastern Europe, is one of those places that is still striving to get itself on tourist maps. And the number of attractions it holds and the friendly and hospitable people is definitely contributing to the increase of tourism in Belarus. About 4000 UK citizens visit Belarus every year, no doubt drawn to the country’s beautiful natural wealth and historical sites. In fact, the capital of Minsk and the areas around it are home to a number of WWII memorials and museums, each more interesting than the next. Read on to know which ones you simply must visit when you travel to Belarus:
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Victory Square is one of the most important landmarks in the country and is located in Minsk, not far from the city’s centre. It is one of the more popular Belarus attractions. This square was formerly known as The Circus, but named Victory Square after the construction of a 40m tall obelisk in 1954 and converted into a memorial. This granite obelisk with four sculpted panels depicting patriotic scenes at its base commemorates those who lost their lives in the Great Patriotic War (WWII). In 1961, an eternal flame was lit at the base of the obelisk.
Stalin’s Line History and Heritage Museum:
Located in the Minsk Fortified Zone which is part of the famous Stalin’s Line, this museum holds the largest collection of Belarusian weaponry and other military and aviation equipment from a vast span of years. Not only that, it also provides a wonderful interactive experience. You can fire a WWII gun, drive an armoured tank, witness the depiction of historic battles and familiarise yourself with various aspects of life as a Belarusian soldier. Definitely one of the best places to visit in Belarus to get a true feel of the Great Patriotic War.
Mound of Glory Memorial Complex:
Also known as the ‘Mount of Glory’ this memorial complex with a 35m high hill with two concrete stairways and an open-air museum at its base commemorates the liberation of Belarus from Nazi invaders. The hill, made from the scorched earth of the nine ‘Hero Cities’ of the USSR is topped by four bayonets symbolising the unity of the defenders of the fatherlands in the Great Patriotic War. A glory ring depicting the faces of soldiers and partisans encircles the bayonets near their base. The open air museum has excellent specimens of legendary weapons and tanks from the war.
About one in four Belarusians is said to have perished in the Great Patriotic War. The Khaytn Memorial not only honours the many lives lost in the war, but especially those of the courageous villagers of Khaytn. According to records, the entire village was brutally murdered by the Nazis. All the villagers were locked in a barn and burnt alive, while escapees were simply shot dead. The Khaytn memorial serves as reminder of this tragedy and many others like it at the hands of the Nazis. It is famous all over the world and must be included in your list of places to visit in Belarus.
Travelling to Belarus needn’t be a solemn affair at all throughout though. There are plenty of fun experiences and fantastic things to see in Belarus as well. Just make sure you’ve got your Belarus travel insurance in place and you’re bound to have a wonderful time during your Belarus holidays in 2015.