The history of the Brest Fortress dates back to the middle of the 19th century, when it was built as one of the largest defensive fortifications in the Russian Empire.
The fortress played an important role during the WWII Nazi Invasion of the Soviet Union in 1941. It is nowadays one of the biggest Soviet WWII memorial complexes, which in 1965 even got awarded the title"Hero Fortress".
The main entrance to the memorial complex consists of a massive concrete block with a gigantic star.
Two large concrete soldier sculptures dominate the complex. The main sculpture is named "Courage" and it is approximately 30 metres high and 54 metres long. It shows the face of a grim looking soldier and several scenes of the defence of the fortress. Next to this sculpture stands a 100 metres tall obelisk.
The other sculpture is entitled "Thirst" and depicts a soldier, who is crawling to the water after a long period without anything to drink. It is 13 metres long.
In 2011 the entrance to the Brest Fortress cost 2500 BYR and an extra of 1000 BYR for photo permission.
The Brest Fortress is located at the western end of the street vul. Masherova. It is situated at the confluence of the Mukhavets and Bug rivers.
With its blue cupolas, which are decorated with golden stars, the Orthodox Church of St. Nicholas is probably the most beautiful church in Brest.
It was built between 1904 and 1906 on the site of a former wooden church. On one side of the church memorial plaques commemorating the victims of the Russian-Japanese war can be found.
During the Soviet era the church was used as the archives of the Brest Oblast.
Please note that inside the Brest Fortress another Orthodox church called St.Nicolas can be found.
The Orthodox Church of St. Nicholas stands somewhere behind the bus station. It can be found near the southeastern end of the street vul. Sovyetskaya.
The Millennium Monument was erected in 2009 to commemorate the millenium of the city of Brest. The 15 metres tall monument is topped by the angel of mercy and surrounded by 6 bronze statues.
In 2011 the base of the monument was expanded by bronze high reliefs, which show historically important events such as the beginning of the Soviet-Nazi war during WWII (22.06.1941).
The Brest Millenium Monument stands at the crossing of the streets vul. Sovjetskaya and vul. Gogol, right in the heart of Brest's city centre.
Like many former Soviet cities, also Brest has its own Lening Statue. Unlike in most other former Soviet countries, the Belarusian government hasn't torn the Lenin statues down.
Brest's Lenin Statue was errected in 1958 and stands on a 6 m tall pedestral. Oddly enough Lenin seems to point towards the Catholic Church of Exaltation of the Holy Cross.
The Lenin Statue can be found on the square ploschad Lenina, right in the heart of Brest's city centre.
The St. Simeon Orthodox Cathedral was built in 1865 on the site of a former 16th century church. It is the only church in Brest that has never been closed, despite all political changes in the country.
In 2005 a statue of the Belarusian martyr Afanasy Brestsky was erected just next to the church. He is said to have been tortured to death for his Orthodox beliefs in 1648. His remains can be found in a tomb inside the church.
The St. Simeon Orthodox Cathedral can be found on the southern side of the busy street vul. Masherova, just next to the Hotel Intourist.
The Catholic Church of Exaltation of the Holy Cross was finished in 1856. It was constructed from bricks of former Catholic churches and monasteries, which existed in Brest's old town.
During the Soviet era the two towers of the church were dismantled, and the building was used as museum of local history. Nowadays church services are held in both Belarusian and Polish language.
The Church of Exaltation of the Holy Cross stands at the busy street vul. Lenina 34. It can be found opposite to the square ploschad Lenina, where the statue of Lenin points towards the church.
Besides the Orthodox Church of St. Nicholas in Brest's city centre, a second church of the same name can be found on the grounds of the Brest Fortress.
It is actually a garrison church and was constructed in Byzantine style between 1851 and 1876. After the almost total destruction during the 1941 siege, the church was rebuilt and renovated.
Just next to the Orthodox Church of St. Nicholas another church is being built on fortress grounds. When we visited Brest in September 2011 the outside of the church was already finished, while the inside was still under construction.
The Orthodox Church of St. Nicholas is located inside the Brest Fortress, whose main entrance can be found at the western end of the street vul. Masherova.
Brest Fortress once had 4 gates, which led into the citadel. Nowadays only 2 still exist; the Kholmsky Gate and the Terespol Gate, named after the Polish cities Chelm and Terespol.
The gates were designed in a classic style in the middle of the 19th century, when the fortress was constructed. Especially the Kholmsky gate with its numerous bullet and shell scars is an iconic structure of the fortress.
These massive damages date back to the start of the Nazi invasion of the former Soviet Union during WWII on the 22nd of June 1941.
Both the Kholmsky and the Terespol Gate can be found on the southern side of the Brest Fortress.
The Kholmsky Gate faces the Mukhavets river, whereas the Terespol Gate faces the Bug river.
When we went to the Brest Fortress we came across the Museum of Confiscated Art. Although I am usually not too much interested in visiting museums on dry summer days, we decided to give it a try.
The entrance fee cost only 1500 BYR and the opening times seem to be Tuesday to Saturday from 10:00 h until 17:00 h.
The small museum exhibits all sorts of smuggled art pieces, which on their way out of the country were confiscated by the Belarusian border officials.
I was quite surprised to see many items with German inscriptions or which actually originated from Germany.
In front of the museum stands a stone with Brest's coat of arms and the year 1019, when the city was first mentioned in the Primary Chronicle.
The Museum of Confiscated Art can be found at the crossing of the streets vul. Lenina and vul. Masherova.
Address: Museum of Confiscated Art, vul. Lenina 39, Brest
We came across the Brest Railway Museum on a Tuesday on our way to the Brest Fortress. Unfortunately, we couldn't visit the museum as it is only open from Wednesday to Sunday.
Still quite a few of the approximately 50 locomotives can be seen from the outside, so we took the chance to take at least some photos.
The museum was opened in 2002 as the first outdoor railway museum of Belarus.
The Brest Railway Museum is situated at the street vul. Masherova, which is the street leading to the main entrance of the Brest Fortress.
Address: Brest Railway Museum, vul. Masherova 2, Brest
Brest lies astride the Mukhavets River, that is known to Bresters as "the river". The river flows west through the city, dividing it into north and south, and meets the Western Bug in the Brest Fortress. The river flows slowly and gently. You can hop into a tube that looks like a big rubber doughnut and take a relaxing float down this river.
July 28 is observed as the day of the city, its birthday. That is the day when the city and the people of the city look especially nice. Brest is the third oldest city in Belarus. First it was mentioned in old Russian chronicles in 1019.
A lot of festivities take place in all parts of the city during several days.Parades of knights, balloons and tiny flying machines show, concerts and sports events in the open air attract many guests from other cities
That is a must to see Brest at this time. The peak of the festivities is on the last Sunday of July
The museum was opened in 2002. It is quite unique as it was the ever first railway museum in Belarus. The display is in the open air, on the rails.
The collection comprises various locomotives like a choo-choo, cargo and passenger cars dating back to the 40s 50s of the last century. All of them are functional. Sometimes they are used for shooting movies or some tourist events. It's easy to find the museum.
City park, about 30 ha, is a nice place for a walk in Brest. It features dozens of rare species of trees. Visitors will see a big disco club, a concert stage in the open air, an amusement park and 2 lovely ponds that are called here Upper and Lower lakes. In 2004 the lakes have been reconstructed, even its bed was paved with cobblestones, the shore has a flamboyant embankment with nice wrought grids. Café “U Ozera (By the Lake)” is on the beautiful shore of Upper lake trimmed by the weeping willows. A canal connects 2 lakes
There's a very nice orthodox church just close to the bus station, in the heart of Brest old town.
I don't know the name of this church and to which saint it is dedicated, by the way it doesn't look very old, probably from the 19th century, and it's perfectly restored and kept.
Another very nice place among the pretty streets of Brest.
I know in Brest there's also Belarus' biggest orthodox church, built in the last few years, and I also saw it from the bus. It's out of the centre, in some commie-block district and I've no pictures of it, but surely it's quite impressive.