We arrived late in the evening and left quite early in the morning so I cannot say much about the centre other than it was perfectly comfortable. I seem to remember though that the shower didn't work. The best thing about the accommodation was the huge spread of food that the owners had put on for us. It was wonderful and quite easily the best meal we had on the whole trip in Belarus. It was all home cooking and basically what we couldn't eat that night we had for breakfast and then lunch the following day.
The research centre has a small exhibition hall with posters displaying aspects of the local wildlife.
The photo shows the front garden complete with ubiqitous monument and with the entrance to the exhibition behind it.
The amazing home cooked meal is in the next photo.
Unfortunately the weather wasn't too good ( wet) on the day we visited but we did see our target bird the rare and declining Aquatic Warbler - albeit rather briefly.
I enjoyed the short ferry crossing which took us to a semi-submerged board walk leading through the reedbeds. From the platform at the end we saw the Citrine Wagtails - bright yellow things.
Unless you're a keen birdwatcher you are unlikely to visit this place which, being honest, doesn't have much to offer but the birds seem to like it and the wet, marshy habitat is very unusual hence the rarer birds.
If you're the sort of person who gets a thrill out of seeing some spectacular wildlife then the National Park on the south-western fringes of Belarus should be on your itinerary. As with all wildlife watching you can rarely guarantee sightings but there is a good chance, with the guides from the park, that you will find Wisent, also known as European Bison, Red Deer and Wild Boar together with some spectacular birds such as the Black Woodpecker ( these are BIG) and Pygmy Owl ( which are quite tiny). The wildlife will not leap out at you so you definitely need the help of a guide to get the most out of the park and be prepared for some quite long drives but I hope you will find it worth while.
I believe the guides are arranged through the park administration offices and I'm sorry but I don't know how much they cost. To avoid all of the admin hassle it's probably best to go as a group and let your tour company do all of the organising. English is not widely spoken which is another reason for getting someone else to do the organising.
Our group stayed in the Park headquarters hotel which is near the town of Kamianiuki. The compound is very much a tourist centre because there are large enclosures where some of the local fauna have been kept for the visitors to watch. There is also a café for the visitors.
Our hotel was surprisingly large despite the quite small restaurant/bar which served food that was perfectly tasty and edible but not particularly lavish or exciting.
I tried the swimming pool which was large and empty of other swimmers. There was a sauna as well but my evening meal was waiting so I skipped that.
Like most places, when the sun shines you get a very different perspective on a place and for 2 of our 3 days in the park we had sunshine but our last day was damp and gloomy so we were ready to leave. I think my advice is to go not expecting to see any wildlife and any that you do come across will then be a bonus and you'll not be disappointed. If you're keen on birds and the time of year is right ( late April through to early June is best) then you will not be disappointed. Don't forget your Binoculars - they are an essential piece of kit here.
Brest, formerly also Brest-on-the-Bug and Brest-Litovsk.
For the first time I visited Brest in 1969 when being a youth traveling with my parents by car around Belarus and Ukraine. The Brest Fortress is the most interesting place to visit there.
This is my most visited city in Belarus that I was visiting twice a year since 1999 when we began our trips to Germany by car. This city is located at the border with Poland opposite the city of Terespol, where the Bug River and Mukhavets rivers meet. It is the shortest way to Germany from Moscow.
Sometimes we cross the city without staying there, sometimes spent a night in its hotels “Intourist” and “Belarus”.
Dudutki is a unique open-air museum village. It is a great place to go if you want to explore ancient culture and way of life of a tipical 19 century village.
Here you can visit a museum of folk craft, see how a windmill works, take a horseride, forge a horseshoe for luck in a village forge. A potter will make a pot for you or will even teach you to do it, so you can make it yourself. You can observe how village bakers bake bread and cakes and take a boat ride along the river Ptitch. After you can enjoy a meal at a country-style tavern or go to a bathhouse.
There's a million things you can see in Minsk. I'll mention just some of them: Oktobarskaya Square, Prospekt Nezavisimosti, Lenin Square, Prospekt Nemiga, Park Jakovljevicha, a bank of Svislosh, The Old City (Stari Gorod), Belarusian State Circus, Victory Square, Red Church (St. Simon and Hellen), The Church of Mary Magdalene, and many many other things.
During WWII Belarus suffered heavily from the invading and occupying Nazis. The people of Belarus had to endure hardship & cruelty under this regieme. Many others fled into the forests as "partisans", a resistance army bent on disrupting and sabotaging the occupying Nazis.
The Nazis hated all Slav people and mistreated, tortured and killed them without mercy. The partisans fought bravely against the enemy but in acts of revenge, Nazis would round up entire villages and burn them to the ground. They would kill all the occupants by shooting or burning them alive. Nearly 200 villages that existed before WWII have been wiped off the map. Many more were burnt but have remained today. Over 2 million Belarussians were murdered during the War - That is: ONE IN FOUR of the population!
These tragic events are remembered at Khatyn. Now a National memorial, Khatyn was once a small village in the forest 60Km NE of Minsk. In a revenge attack, the Nazis gathered the villagers in a large barn and began to burn them alive. Anyone who tried to escape was shot. Only one man survived: Josef Kaminsky. A large statue of Kaminsky carrying his dead son in his arms stands at the entrance to the memorial.
You MUST visit this place to get a real appreciation of the suffering Belarus endured. More info is at www.khatyn.by
Belarus has over 7000 lakes so you are never far from one wherever you stay. Take some advice from a local to find where the nearest lake is which is safe to swim in. Belarus has hot humid summers and harsh cold winters, so make sure it is summer if you are going swimming!
When you arrive at your lake you will probably find other swimmers around if it is a popular spot and is a weekend. Jump in and immerse yourself in the fresh clean waters. You will feel invigorated and refreshed after your swim. There are not many swimming baths in Belarus, no one can afford them anyway. Swimming in a lake is free and much more fun. You will feel at one with nature - an added bonus!
The area of the museum includes some country building, each one is dedicated to a different kraft. They have a carpenter ther, a blacksmith, a potter, a cheesmaker, a baker, a weaver. All things are made in a old way, like our ancestors used to make it in the beginning of the last century. You will have an opportunity to watch the process, to try to do something yourself and to taste the results. In the exebition room are displayed traditional costumes, instruments and daily life things. The restaurant will offer you very tipical belarusian dishes, which also have a long history. It is better to spend in Dudutki a whole day, because there is mach to see.
The key place in the history of Belarus that has to be visited, Brest was given the title of the 'Hero City' after its bitter standing against the Nazi attack in 1941. The fortress is essentially the monument you have to see there.
Well, it is a must. There are museums that would tell you the history of the country, some monuments left of the Old City, decent hotels, and it is a convenient starting point for many excursions inside Belarus.
Photography. As I travelled through Minsk and onward to Volozhin I was amazed at the harsh reality that life can portray. I saw farmers ploughing the fields with no animals just the plough attached to their own bodies. I found this quite amazing to see, especially in the days of automated farming machinery. This gives some indication as to the nature in which the people endure.
There were very many unique qualities that I experienced so many that they would be too numerous to mention. Though it should be noted that Minsk is a more Comercial centre than the more rural towns and therefore offers more to the Western tourist unless you are actually looking for the 'great outdoors'. I would once again remind you that the further out of town you travel the less likely you would be to find anyone speaking any language other than Russian. This can be a great hinderence to the Tourist.My suggestion to overcome this is to learn at least some Russian and take a translation book.
Polatsk is the most ancient city in Belarus. First mentioned in historical records as far back as 862. The Polatsk Principality was the first state formation on our land. It is here that at the time of famous Usyaslau Charadzey a seven-dome five-nave temple was built – majestic St. Sofia Cathedral, a third one in Rus’ (after Kiev and Novgarad) and the first among the stone buildings in Belarus (11th century). A lot of things which became part of our culture and everyday life are connected with this city – the first library, the first monastery and convent, the first university, the first printing house and many others.
Mir Castle This castle is the first monument in Belarus which was included in UNESCO world heritage list. Built in 1540 and recently restored, it stays amongst top five most visited places in Belarus.
At the beginning of the 16th century the feudal lord, Yury Ilyinich, laid the first stone in the foundation of his ancestral seat – a square castle with four towers at each corner and the fifth (gates) one in the middle of the Western wall. The only entrance was closed by the heavy gates, a drawbridge and a coated portcullis. The walls of the castle had two rows of fire embrasures; the towers were equipped with gun platforms and living premises.
Belavezhskaya Puscha - the oldest National Park in Europe. Being a protected area, this territory stands out against the environmental background and has existed in one form or another since the late 14th century. Almost all area of the park is covered with woods, prevailingly coniferous trees. The age of the trees reaches 160-180 years in general, but sometimes you can meet real elders (300 to 500 years old). Animals inhabit the National Park tightly. The most remarcable is european bison ('zubr' in Belarusian). At the main entrance to the park there are a museum, a restaurant, and special hedged areas for wild animals, where visitors can see the inhabitants of Belavezhskaya Puscha.
Niasvizh is a small town 112km south-west of Minsk with population about 16000 people. It is one of the most ancient historical and cultural centers of Belarus, first mentioned in the 13th century. The town reached its highest flourishing when it became the residence of the magnates Radzivil. In fact the most monuments were built during the period of Radzivil government in 16th 17th centuries. The simbols of the town is Radzivil Castle. There are also other notable buildings - Farny Church (16th century), and Slutskaja Brama (Slutsk Gate).
59, Pobediteley Ave, Minsk, 220035, Belarus
Good for: Families
For Soviet citizens it was always practically impossible to lodge in a hotel "Intourist". The best...more
13 Kirova str., Minsk, 220040, Belarus
Satisfaction: Very Good
Good for: Solo
More Regions in Belarus