Minsk City Hall - architectural monument of the capital of Belarus
A City Hall is a city self-government body, and at the same time it is a building where the authority administers its power. These concepts appeared at a certain stage of feudalism development, the appearance of town halls in developed cities was preceded by assignment (gift) of the Magdeburg Rights – regulations which controlled trade, legal, craft life of the city. The word “Town Hall” and phenomena, which stand behind it, came to us from Western Europe (Poland, Germany).
Minsk acquired the Magdeburg Rights in 1499. Thereby, at first, a wooden building of the City Hall was erected. A stone building of the City Hall was built in 1582. It was situated on the Cathedral Square, it housed the court, the magistrate, the archive, the guardhouse, the standards of weights and measures were stored, and the basement housed prison cells. Public events and later theatre performances were held inside and around the building. So literally, there was the center of the city.
Architectural appearance of the Town Hall in Minsk
A place to build the City Hall was very convenient for architects: the construction was carried out on a completely flat ground. The project was based on a typical for such buildings layout in the spirit of the Northern Renaissance: a rectangle was at the base, the tower visually increased the height of the building. Here was set a bell and a clock that was rare in those days and was practiced only in large, wealthy cities.
At the end of the 18th century, the City Hall was restored and acquired features of Classicism (the project author was the architect F. Kramer). The central part and the butt ends became porticos with 4 ionic columns. The tower became crowned with a round dome with a spire. Balconies, wrought iron lattices, and other decorative elements adorned the most important building in the city.
The historical fate of the architectural monument of Minsk
Times and laws changed, as well as the status of the city and country changed – it became the North-Western province of the Russian Empire, it was not ideologically correct to leave the City Hall as a reminder of its former liberties and freedom. So that Emperor Nicholas I himself issued a decree to demolish Minsk City Hall under the formal pretext that it spoiled the overall appearance of the city.
The building was blown up, building materials were used to cover roadways, to construct small architectural forms of the city, metal structures were used to cast signs on citizens’ houses.
Reconstruction of the Town Hall in Minsk
As a result of archaeological excavations, remains of the foundation of the building were found in the 20th century, and cultural strata from the surrounding areas gave historians a lot of materials for a complete picture of the life of the old times.
Restoration of the City Hall was carried out according to the project of the architect S. Baglasov. Builders and restorers tried to comply with all known subtleties of the old building in details, the park and alleys adjacent to the City Hall were accurate restored. There is a glass pyramid on the former site of a monument to Emperor Alexander II, and a layout of Minsk of the late nineteenth century inside it. Stylish benches and lanterns add a vintage charm to the area.
There is the Museum of Minsk city under the roof of the City Hall, there is a hall for forums, meetings and VIP-persons on the first floor.
Costume events, steeped in the romance of the centuries when the City Hall existed, look appropriate and beautiful; concerts of music bands add harmony of the place.
A weather vane and the coat of arms of Minsk are set on the spire of the restored building of the City Hall, every hour the chimes beat off the melody of “The Song about Minsk” by I. Luchenok, representing civic consciousness of citizens, their pride for their home city, and the capital of the Republic of Belarus.
The town hall can be seen during Minsk sightseeing tour
The Town Hall is the sight of Minsk, which you should definitely see with your own eyes. With our sightseeing tour of Minsk you can not only enjoy the view of the architectural monument of Minsk, but also to visit the concert. For those who appreciate comfort and convenience, the VETLIVA portal offers to book an individual excursion around Minsk, which will be appreciated by foreign citizens. This excursion tour is conducted in Russian, English, French, Italian and other languages. Also guests of the capital from other countries we recommend excursions: