The Hlusov Bridge in Minsk

Minsk

Architecture, Industrial buildings

In the historical center of Minsk, on the left bank of the river Svisloch there was an administrative and trading center of the Belarusian capital. The Trinity Hill or the Trinity Suburb is the historically developed name of this region. It is known since the XIIth century and was mentioned in the historical texts of the XIVth, XVIth and next centuries.

The Trinity Suburb was scrupulously restored according to old plans and pictures. Now it is a colorful district, a little island of old Belarus in the center of Minsk. The main street of the suburb was called Troitskaya. Today it is named after the poet Mikhail Bogdanovich; he was born in one of the houses of that street.

The suburb was inhabited by people with all types of background, by a colorful multilingual crowd. Pedestrians, loaded horse carts were restlessly moving back and forth across the river. Things were humming. It was impossible to imagine this place without a bridge.

The Trinity Suburb was connected with the Lower Market by a bridge thrown above the waves of the Svisloch. It was almost on the same place as the todays’ bridge across the Svisloch in Bogdanovich Street.

Why is it called “Hlusov”? Among others, on both banks there were retail facilities of local and visiting merchants; lively barkers caught potential buyers, annoying tradesmen stubbornly pressed their goods, and in confusion they often hoodwinked. The Roma behaved in the same way aiming to tell fortune to every passer-by, draining his purse. Business is business; pursuit of profits at any price had top priority in the old-time dealing. “Hlus, hlusnya” meant fraud, deceit, cheat in Belarusian language. As the people perceived the goings-on, so the name continued to be widely used on account of trade iniquity – Hlusov Bridge.

Another version of the name’s origin was connected with the name of the merchant Lukash Hlus who was the first to build the bridge at his own funds.

The bridge was very popular among the locals in ancient times, and was known almost as long as the suburb itself, and Minsk. Whenever time, wars or fires had destroyed the Hlusov Bridge, it was always restored as soon as possible as otherwise the city life became paralyzed.

In 1898 tracks for a horse tram (a special carriage drawn by horses that had existed before a steam-engine was invented) were laid over the bridge, the laying of tram tracks was planned, but it was disrupted by the First World War. The first steam tram drove by that route only in 1929. The tram bridge at the Nizhny Market was the then the official name of the bridge, but the old name “Hlusov” was still widely used by the city people.

During the Great Patriotic War the wooden bridge was destroyed. It turned out to be irrevocable as a new modern reinforced-concrete bridge was constructed slightly more to the left from the former place in order to straighten the street.

Everyday heavy traffic flows over the bridge, connecting the Svisloch banks in the modern metropolis. But those, who want to know the historical substance of the modern bridge, will want to walk over it listening to the guide. Apart from mentioned, there are even more legends about the Hlusov Bridge that are worth listening and memorizing.

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