Minsk is the capital of the Republic of BelarusThe city of Minsk is not only a highly developed capital, but also an ancient city with a rich history, which has its own mysteries.
One of them directly concerns the name. It is only known for certain that the city was originally named as Mensk (Menesk, Mensk). And there are a whole lot of assumptions here. One of the scientists refers to the name Menisk, who built a mill nearby, on the banks of the Svisloch River, and was either a healer and a hero, or a sorcerer, or a prince. Others find in the name a similarity with the word "mena", because the favorable location of the city contributed to the establishment of trade relations. Finally, there is a version that the sources go to the Menke River that once flowed here.
Whatever it was, but already at the end of the XVII century, under the influence of Polish speech, the name was transformed into the familiar word Minsk.
The History Pages of Minsk
There is no exact data on the date and reasons for the emergence of the city. As in the case of many other settlements, the date of foundation of the city is considered to be its first mention in the annals. In relation to Minsk, this happened in 1067 and concerned one of the most brutal battles on the territory of the settlement. It was a battle on today’s Nemiga between the troops of Prince Vseslav of Polotsk and the heirs of Prince Yaroslav the Wise of Kiev. At that time, the largest city today was a five-block settlement with a church and the main square located south of the Castle (surrounded by a moat of the castle near the confluence of Nemiga with Svisloch).
As early as the XV century, the city took the position of one of the 15 largest ones in the Grand Duchy of Lithuania. The further development of Minsk was facilitated by the passage of the main roads: the northern (through Logoysk, Orsha and Borisov) and the south-eastern (Slutsk and Volyn). Later in the XIX century, by the time when the railways became widespread, the Moscow-Brest and Libavo-Romenskaya roads led to Minsk.
However, the convenient location at the intersection of roads had its drawbacks – Minsk was regularly exposed to invasions and became a "tidbit" during many battles. The most extensive battles and destruction occurred during the war with Napoleon and, of course, the two World Wars.
After the Great Patriotic War, the city had to be literally rebuilt from the ruins, however this did not weaken its power and influence at all. Already in 1952, the first trolley-buses began to run here.
Modern Minsk today
Taking into account the fact that Minsk was practically destroyed after the Second World War, one should not expect a large number of preserved historical monuments. Nevertheless, there are quite a lot of attractions in Minsk. They can be seen both independently and during a sightseeing tour.
Among the existing churches, the Holy Spirit Cathedral, built in 1642, the architecture of which stands out as an example of the Baroque style. In addition, connoisseurs of history will be interested in the Peter and Paul Cathedral (1622) and the Catholic Cathedral (1710).
One of the invariable symbols of the capital is the Red Church, located in the center of the city, on Independence Square, or the temple of Saints Simeon and Elena. Its distinctive feature is an original combination of Neo-Gothic style with modernism.
Walking along the main street of the capital – Independence Avenue, you can personally appreciate the charm of urban development during the Soviet Union. The architects did everything to give the avenue maximum integrity, and even today its central part has changed little, being protected by the state as a historical and cultural value.
Finally, you can trace the history of the existence and development of the city by visiting one of the many museums in Minsk.