Discovering Vitebsk: An Overview of This Belarusian City
Vitebsk is a charming city with a rich history located in the northeast of Belarus. The city is known for being the birthplace of famous artist Marc Chagall as well as the place where Napoleon Bonaparte was defeated in 1812. It features beautiful parks, ancient churches, and notable museums. In this guide, we will recommend ten places to visit and five places to avoid in Vitebsk.
Places to Visit
1. Marc Chagall Museum
The Marc Chagall Museum is a must-see for art lovers. This museum displays more than 300 works of this Belarusian artist, including paintings, drawings, and sculptures, and explores the life and artistic career of the great painter.
2. Vitebsk Regional Museum of Local Lore
The Vitebsk Regional Museum of Local Lore is the oldest museum in Belarus, founded in 1802. It showcases a vast collection of artifacts, including prehistoric fossils, antique weapons, and traditional costumes, which help visitors understand the history and cultural heritage of Belarus.
3. Victory Square
Victory Square is a place of great historical significance in Belarus, which celebrates the victory of the Soviet Union over Nazi Germany in World War II. The square features a massive Victory Monument, a popular spot for photography and a symbol of national pride.
4. Summer Amphitheatre
The Summer Amphitheatre is a beautiful venue located in a picturesque park near the river, which hosts various cultural events, like music concerts, opera, and theatre performances. The atmosphere is fantastic, and it’s an excellent way to experience the local culture.
5. Uspensky Cathedral
The Uspensky Cathedral is an impressive Orthodox church dating back to the 18th century located in the city centre. The architecture is stunning, featuring beautiful frescoes, decorative chandeliers, and intricate icons. It’s a peaceful place to reflect and admire the beauty of Belarusian ecclesiastical art.
6. Strana Miniature Park
The Strana Miniature Park is a unique place dedicated to showing miniature replicas of iconic buildings from around the world, including Eiffel Tower, Great Wall of China, Colosseum, and Kremlin. It’s a fun place to visit with family, especially children, and a perfect opportunity to take funny pictures posing with miniatures.
7. Vitebsk Art Museum
The Vitebsk Art Museum is another significant museum in the city, displaying over 30, 000 works of art, including paintings, sculptures, and drawings from local and international artists. It features a fantastic collection of Belarusian avant-garde artworks from the early 20th century, which is worth seeing.
8. Castle Hill
Castle Hill is an essential piece of Vitebsk’s history, located in a peaceful park in the city centre. The castle dates back to the 12th century and acted as the stronghold of the city for centuries. Although the castle is now in ruins, you can still see the walls and towers and get a sense of Belarusian medieval architecture.
9. Governor’s Garden
The Governor’s Garden is a picturesque park located in the heart of the city, featuring stunning fountains, a pond, various sculptures, and a charming cafe. It’s the perfect place to relax and enjoy a picnic with family and friends.
10. Railway Station
The Railway Station is an impressive building representing the Stalinist Empire style of architecture. It’s one of the most beautiful railway stations in Belarus featuring high ceilings, marble floors, and a monumental facade.
Places to Avoid
1. Stadium GSK Victoria
The Stadium GSK Victoria is a stadium located outside the city centre, which is not very popular with tourists. Unless you’re in town for a football match, there’s no reason to visit it.
2. Central Market
The Central Market is the city’s primary marketplace, selling all kinds of goods from clothes to foodstuff, but it’s not so popular with tourists. It can be crowded and loud, so it’s better to avoid it if you’re looking for a relaxed atmosphere.
3. Former Lenin Street
The Former Lenin Street is now called Nezavisimosti Avenue, and it’s a busy and noisy street with nothing special to offer visitors. You can find better places to spend your time in Vitebsk.
4. Vitebsk Zoo
The Vitebsk Zoo is a small and old-fashioned zoo, which is not well-maintained as it should be. The animals might not receive the proper care, so visiting might not be an ethical choice.
5. Shopping Mall “Panorama”
The Shopping Mall “Panorama” is a massive shopping mall located outside the city centre, which lacks character or anything special to offer. It’s a typical mall with familiar shops you can find anywhere, so it’s not worth the trip.
Overview of Vitebsk
|Language||Belarusian and Russian|
|Currency||Belarusian Ruble (BYN)|
|Average Temperature by Season||
|Best time to visit||May to September|
|City official URL||http://vitebsk.gov.by/en/|