Brest is one of the most popular tourist cities in Belarus, full of historical and incredibly atmospheric places that play an important role in both the history and modern life of the city. The Brest Fortress memorial complex with numerous museums, Sovetskaya street, lanterns alley, winter garden, churches and churches with religious values of the country and much more that every modern tourist should visit.
Further in the article you can find out about the most interesting places of the hero city of Brest, which are definitely nesessary for visiting, when you are planning a trip to Belarus.
History of city
Often it is better to study historical moments before you arrive in a new place: after all, then nameless buildings come to life and, as interesting people, begin their story about a fascinating and not always easy life.
The first mention of Brest dates back to 1019. The city had great significance, because it was on the crossroads of two important trade routes. The legend about the emergence of the city is also connected with the trading history of Brest. It says about merchants, who were forced to stop in front of an impassable swamp on their way to Lithuania. Main merchant ordered to cover it with Birch bark (‘beresta’).
So, having crossed the swamp they saw two rivers forming a nice cozy island. Returning, they decided to stay here for a long time, thus founding the city of Brest. Mindful of their difficulties on the nearby swamp, they decided to name the settlement Berestie (former Brest).
During the reign of Nicholas I, the old part of the city was destroyed and the legendary Brest fortress was built in its place. The town itself is located to the East from it.
Brest was also featured in the Post Soviet Tourism List by Megan Starr
Hello, dear Brest
Brest welcomes guests with the measured sound of wheels on the railway tracks. And for good reason! After all, the station has always played an important role both for the city itself and for neighboring countries. In the days of the Russian Empire (1886), no money was spared for the construction of the building: Brest represented itself as the first checkpoint for incoming guests from Europe (at that time, the first direct trains from Paris had to go through Brest). As a result, a huge castle was built with arches, towers, parquet floors and the first electric lighting in the history of railway transport in the Russian Empire!
Of course, both wars greatly affected the modern appearance of the station: the building was destroyed during the First world war and later restored by Poland (at that time Brest was a part of Poland), and during the Second world war the building was mined and flooded. As a result of reconstruction during the times of Soviet Union, both the spire and the five-pointed star appeared, as well as new extensions. Now we can see a symbiosis of the castle made in the medieval manner at the times of Alexander III, Polish construction and Stalinist classicism.
In addition, fans of the trains will be interested in the Museum of railway equipment: the exposition is represented by 56 exhibits of rolling stock of pre-war, military and post-war generations, plus captured TE series locomotives from the great Patriotic war, and so on.
Walking around the city
Of course, the city is characterized by its own criterias for every tourist, let’s start with the most beautiful criteria:
Sovetskaya street, or Brest “Arbat”
Sovetskaya street, “heart and soul” of the city, is one of the most atmospheric and popular pedestrian streets in Belarus. Its length is 2 km. However, there is a lot of history in these kilometers: the street was burned more than once and rebuilt again. At one time, the elite of Brest lived here, in the 30s there were Jewish shopping malls, private shops, pharmacies on the street, on the site of the modern cinema center “May 1” was one of the largest cinemas in Brest “Adria”, on the first floor of which was located the legendary cafe Kranevsky.
The history of the building of the main synagogue of Brest (which was built at 1862) is very interesting: it was a stunning building, painted with scenes from the old Testament, but in the 45s the building was rebuilt into a cinema. At present, this place is occupied by a modern cinema “Belarus” (as load-bearing structures used the internal walls of the former synagogue).
The last transformation of the street was in 2009 near by the celebration of the millennial anniversary of the city.
Today Sovetskaya street is a favorite relax place of both city guests and residents. On the street there are many sculptures and monuments: the sculpture of a bat with a lantern in its claws (this is a symbol of the fact that Brest will never go dark), Old town (people call this sculpture “the monument of cats that fall in love”, but here is my little technical secret behind the name: sculpture cleverly disguises the vent built into the composition of old houses and roofs), frescoes with stories of the Mint and printing office, Boots of wealth, etc.
The sweetest thing i’ll tell you in the end: the most striking attraction of the city is the sculpture “Old lantern” at the intersection of Sovetskaya street with Ostrovsky street. The inscription in old Russian says that the city should have many lanterns and serve as a lamplighter who will light the lanterns every day with the sun setting. This nightly ritual has been preserved to this day: residents and visitors of Brest come to see how a lamplighter in working uniform goes around the lanterns and, going up the stairs, lights the kerosene lamps in the evening and extinguishes them in the morning inside the street lamps.
Alley of lights
Alley of forged lanterns appeared in 2013 on the site of Gogol street in Brest, where each lantern is an art object: Little Prince, sculptures of a fireman, a merchant, a blacksmith (where in the evening a fire “lights up” next to the anvil), a Shoe cleaner, lantern with globe, still life, lanterns of some enterprises of the city and region (for example, the light sewing industry, Central Department store, “Brest meat plant”) and so on. There are many sculptures dedicated to the work of Gogol in memory of the past name of the street on the alley .
The idea of installing the alley belongs to the famous Brest sculptor and blacksmith Alexander Chumakov. About a third of all the lanterns were made by him.
Botanic garden and winter garden
The garden of continuous flowering was created on the territory of the Brest state University named after A. S. Pushkin in 2003 and since then has been an integral part of recreation places for guests and residents of the city, as well as training for students and schoolchildren. There are more than 220 species of plants from different climatic zones on the territory of the Park.
The Botanical garden is open to the public: April — October, 9: 00-18: 00. Day Off: Sunday
Entrance ticket to the garden — 3.5 rubles, for schoolchildren, students, pensioners — 2 rubles.
Murmuring streams, singing birds and the pleasant warmth of the garden will be happy to welcome guests who needs beauty and relaxation. The garden is divided into 3 climate zones: tropics, subtropics and desert. On the territory there are more than 1800 specimens of plants, some of them created from the stock collection of the Central Botanical garden of NAS of Belarus, and some donated by residents of Brest.
Brest Park of culture and recreation
The largest and oldest Park in Brest will take visitors from the railway station directly to the next stop: the historical Brest fortress. In the meantime, take a little walk in the Park.
The Park consists of 4 hectares of greenery, 2 lakes connected by a channel. You can walk across the bridge of lovers to the sculpture “Girl with a flute” on upper lake of just sit on the terrace of a cafe near.
This Park is a favorite place for recreation for different ages and interests: there are city holidays, graduations, you can ride on rides and see the city from the height of the Ferris wheel, take a boat ride and just walk and enjoy the green area.
Learn about the main attractions of the nearby Grodno
The memorial complex “Brest fortress-hero” is known all over the world thanks to the feat of soldiers who were the first to accept the prowess of the troops of Nazi Germany in 1941.
The fortress was built in 1836 on the site of the Old city and is located on 4 islands, the largest of which is the Citadel. 21 bridges and 4 gates led to the fortress. After the events of world war I and world war II, the defense complex was converted into a memorial complex. The inscriptions which was left by soldiers on the walls became legendary, the most famous of them – “I die, but I do not give up. Goodbye, Motherland!” The Brest hero fortress was opened for visitors on the 30th anniversary of the beginning of the second world War in 1971.
When you are entering the gates of the Brest fortress, you will hear an original announcement about the attack of the German-fascist invaders on the Soviet Union, which undoubtedly adds to the atmosphere, serving as a gateway to the past.
The complex includes:
“The defense Museum of the Brest fortress»
The exhibition is dedicated to the history of the fortress, the events of 41 years, the fate of the defenders, consists of 10 halls, 4000 exhibits
“Museum 5 Fort”
“Museum 5 Fort” is located 3 km from the complex, consists of 2 permanent exhibitions: “Brest-Litovsk fortress in the system of fortresses of Russia in the XIX century” and “Western front of the Fatherland”, which tells about the history of the construction of FORTS, soldiers.
“War Museum-territory of the world”
“Museum of war-territory of peace” consists of 9 halls with installations, photos, and numerous stories.
“Chronicle of the Brest fortress”
The chronicle of the Brest fortress has 7 halls with three-dimensional panoramas, historical figures in full size.
Entrance tickets can be purchased online, prices are depending on the Museum: 6 rubles for an adult and 3 rubles for a student.
Berestye archaeological Museum
Also on the territory of the Brest fortress, two steps from the Holm gate, is the Berestie archaeological Museum: the remains of an ancient settlement, from which the construction of the hero city of Brest began. Here you can see more than 224 wooden buildings Dating back to the XIII century, household items and jewelry of the ancient Slavs.
Walking around the territory you can not miss the majestic monuments:
“Courage” is an image of a victorious warrior, 33.5 meters high, created by a creative group led by the people’s artist Kibalnikov.
“Thirst” is the monument dedicated to the soldiers who died from lack of water, because on the first day of the war, the water supply was disabled, and the summer was unusually hot. Water was needed not only for drinking, but also for cooling weapons. The approaches to the water were shelled by the enemy.
Watch a Video about Brest Fortress
Religious sights of Brest
St. Nicholas garrison Cathedral
On the territory of the Brest fortress you can see the St. Nicholas garrison Cathedral, which was built in the 19th century in the Byzantine style and was conceived as a garrison Church. The Church was painted in the Romanesque style. During the war, the building of the Cathedral was severely damaged, and restoration work is still underway, but the Church welcomes guests.
Church Of The Exaltation Of The Holy Cross
The Church of the exaltation of the Holy cross in Brest was built in 1856 in the style of late classicism. During its existence, the Church was closed, was converted into a Museum of local lore, lost its towers and interiors, but in 2001 the Church was finally returned to the faithful and restored its decoration and appearance. At present, the Church houses one of the Christian shrines — a miracle-working icon Of the mother of God in the salary of the second half of the 17th century.
St. Nicolas Church of the brethren
St. Nicolas Church of the brethren is located on Sovetskaya street, which is already known to us. This Church was built in 1885 from wood, but there was a fire. In 1906, the construction of a stone Church in the Russian-Byzantine style with elements of Moscow Church architecture of the 17th century was completed.
Art museums of Brest
Among other attractions in Brest museums of Brest city should be mentioned. The city has a number of museums that are of interest to connoisseurs of culture:
The Museum is located in a building that is an architectural monument of the early twentieth century. The Museum has 2 permanent exhibitions: “Native nature” and “History of Brest region from the primitive community system to the first quarter of the twentieth century”.
“Saved values of art”
The Museum “Saved values of art” is a branch of the Museum of local lore and stores antique items and works of art that were seized by customs officers at the border.
Museum of the history of the city of Brest
In the Museum you can see more than 500 exhibits that tell the history of the city in different eras, under different governments, and, of course, important moments in the life of modern Brest.
It was our quick overview of the city of Brest, its attractions and especially the famous Brest Fortress, which is the main reason for most of the tourists to come to this wonderful city, meaning so much for the history of Belarus! Read 50 interesting facts about Belarus on our blog!
Plan your trip to Brest now
Find the best prices for flights to Belarus using Skyscanner