The city of Minsk - the capital of the Repablic of Belarus
The city of Minsk is not only the advanced capital but also an ancient city with a rich history hiding its mysteries. One of them relates directly to the name. The only thing that is known for certain is that the city was initially named as Mensk (Menesk, Mensk). There are a great number of assumptions concerning that fact. One of the scientists refers to the name of Menesk, who built a mill nearby, on the banks of the river Svisloch. He is supposed to have been a medicine man and a warrior, or a wizard, or a Prince. Others find the name similar to the word "MENA" (change), as a favorable location of the city contributed to the establishment of trade relations there. Finally, there is a version that the origin goes back to the river Menka that flowed here once. Whatever it was, but at the end of the XVIIth century under the influence of the Polish speech, the name was transformed into the word “Minsk” usual for us.
The pages of the history of Minsk
There is no accurate data about the date and reasons for the city to appear. Like many other settlements, the year of the city birth is considered to be its first mention in the annals. Speaking about Minsk this happened in 1067, and was connected with one of the most brutal battles on the territory of the settlement. It was a battle near Nemiga between the troops of Polotsk Prince Vseslav the Sorcerer and the heirs of the Kiev Prince Yaroslav the Wise. At that time the city, the largest one in our country today, was no more than just a settlement of five blocks with the Church and the main square located south of the Citadel (a castle surrounded by a moat) near the confluence of the Nemiga and Svisloch rivers.
Further development of Minsk was possible due to the main roads passing there: the Northern one (through Logoisk, Borisov and Orsha) and Southeast one (Slutsk-Volyn). Later, in the XIXth century, when railways became widespread, Moscow-Brest and Libava-Romny roads led to Minsk. It is not surprising that as long as in the XV century, the town has already confidently taken its position as one of the 15 largest ones in the Grand Duchy of Lithuania.
However, the convenient location at the cross-roads had its drawbacks – Minsk was regularly subjected to invasions and became a "tasty morsel" during many battles. This was especially evident during the war with Napoleon, and, of course, the two World wars.
After the great Patriotic War, the city was to be rebuilt from the ruins, but this did not weaken its power and influence. The first trolleys were launched there in 1952 already.
Modern Minsk today
Taking into account the fact that after the Second World War Minsk was almost completely destroyed, one can’t expect a large number of historical monuments to have been preserved there. Nevertheless, there are many attractions in the city. You can see it by yourself or during Minsk sighseeing tour.
The Holy Spirit Cathedral, built in 1642, stands out among the temples functioning in the city. Its architecture is an example of the Baroque style. In addition, history buffs will be interested in the Peter and Paul’s Cathedral (1622) and the Catholic Cathedral (1710).
One more of the enduring symbols of the capital is the Red Catholic Church, or the Church of Saints Simon and Helena located in the center of the city, in the Independence square. Its distinguishing feature is a unique combination of neo-Gothic style and modernism.
Walking along Independence Avenue, the main street of the capital, one can personally appreciate the beauty of the Soviet era urban planning. The architects had done everything to give the prospect the utmost integrity, and even today its Central part has changed little, being under the state protection as a historical and cultural value.
Finally, one can trace the history and development of the city by visiting one of the numerous museums in Minsk.