The museum of Stones in Minsk
Only in Minsk you can visit a unique Museum of Stones, located under the open sky of 7 hectares! It is a small copy of Belarus, as the museum’s map precisely reproduces the map of the Republic: objects simulating plains and hills, rivers and lakes were designed.So, who is the designer of such an unusual museum? What are the marvellous features of Belarusian stones? In 1975 geologist Gavriil Ivanovich Goretsky came up with an idea to create the museum of boulders under the open sky so that to preserve the disappearing cultural heritage of Belarus. As a boulder is not just an Ice Age relic, but it is an object, preserved ethnographic value, covered with legends and stories. Yet long since our ancestors believed that stones kept sacred, even magic power, capable of healing and making the cherished dreams and wishes come true. However, during the soviet time the authority tried to destroy all the famous boulders, as religion and certainly all kinds of magic were prohibited. Academician G.I. Goretsky along with the team of specialists had gathered a collection of 2135 stones for 5 years and moved it to the east outskirts of Minsk, to micro-district Uruchye. It is important to note that any kind of the boulder’s movement was a rash action at that time, as its initial place is its roots and to tear a boulder away fr om its destined place meant to bring a terrible disaster upon oneself. Anyway, the Museum of Stones has been receiving both the residents of Minsk and visitors from all over the world for more than 40 years already!
What are these wonderful exhibits you can meet in the park of stones in Minsk? As any other museum, the Museum of Stones under the open sky has several expositions. In the central part of the park you can see “The map of Belarus”, including 500 boulders, which are located in the same area they were brought from, regional districts, are marked with high spruces, the rivers are represented in the view of roads, and the lakes – of hollows with concrete edge. The hills divide the territory into Poozersky, Central-Belarusian and Polessky districts. You can get a glimpse of the boudlers’ origin representation at the “Feeding provinces” hall. In the south-east of the museum you can walk through a “Petrographic collection” hall, which represents a circle, divided into four parts and contains a number of the boulders-representatives of different rocks. The hall “Boulders’ shape” astounds with the boulders’ shape diversity: round, flat, V-shape boulders with or without hatching. The visitors are interested in the composition “A stone in man’s life”, wh ere you can see sacred sledovick-stones. According to the legend Jesus Christ himself left a footprint on them. One of the most mysterious exhibits is the stone "Old man", also known in the folklore as "Starets".
This legend refers to the master of rivers-Vodyanoy and the forest tsar Leshy, who struggled between themselves for this stone, which was considered to grant wealth and happiness. In ancient times the pagan Slavic people worshipped “the Old man”. Apart from this exhibit, Stephen Bathory Cross attracts attention. It is a cross-shaped stone with an image of a mailed knight. According to the legend, the king had dinner at this stone during the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth march in eastern lands.
We recommend you to print the museum’s map, as there are no markers. And stock up with food, as a long journey along the marvelous place, which is a house for a great number of ancient stones, beckoning with their stories, legends and magic features awaits you!