Tourism is fun, especially in non-mainstream places, like all over ex-USSR states. In this case it is Minsk, the capital of Belarus that has some awesome museums to offer you for some fun sightseeing. If you want to learn more about this country, from a different unusual perspective you should probably try these places. Awesome expositions combined with a good story in those museums won’t leave you indifferent.
1. Museum of Boulders
Museum of Boulders (or Stones Museum) is probably the most unusual museum in Minsk, as it is an open-air museum and their own kind of nature reserve where you can look at all kinds of stones. They state that more than 2100 stones and massive boulders from all over Belarus have been collected in this museum (imagine the hard work to get them all here). You can see it all, from ordinary rocks to “Hellos” from glacial Belarus to some sacrificial stones or grave tombs.
The masssive giant stones lying on the ground form the actual map of Belarus with the terrain and hills repeating the highest and lowest points of the country and blue spruce denoting the main cities.
2. Museum of the Great Patriotic War
Do you love WW2? We bet you do, so this is a place for you! This grand museum is dedicated to strugle of Soviet era Belarus during the Second World War. It is housed in a brand new building erected near Minsk Hero City monument since 2014. If you come on a right day there are military parades and festive processions being held near it.
This is by far one of the most massive museum you could see in your lifetime, as the exposition of the museum spans on the area of more than 3,000 m² and includes over 8,000 exhibits telling about the Great Patriotic War history. There are 10 exposition halls in the museum which are made according to the events chronology (from pre-war days and military operations to the restoration of the whole country).
Historic footage from newsreels and over 40,000 photographs of war time create unique atmosphere. Moreover, there’s an outdoor exhibition of military vehicles – rare examples of Red Army armaments – behind the museum’s building. It will make you feel like you are part of the great patriotic war!
3. Belarusian Folk Museum of Architecture and Rural Life
Hey, we bet you want to know Belorussians in their soul! Who they really are and how their culture came to be. There is one rural museum that lets you go back deep to their roots and see how ancient Belorussians used to live, work and all this can be seen if you travel just outside of Minsk. You can learn about their traditions and colorful Balto-Slavic lifestyle, be a part of their ancestral pastimes, listen to their folk songs and even maybe master Belarussian dances out there. Make real Belorussian souvenirs with your own hands, also why not to taste their national dishes and drinks.
This is a awesome expirience that will make you feel like you are in 19th century Belarus as the whole village consists of buildings brought there from all regions of Belarus. The open-air museum in divided into three exhibition sectors, each of them representing a fragment of a typical settlement with characteristic buildings of late 19th-early 20th centuries.
4. Museum of Miniatures
Miniatures are fun, especially if you have kids to take a look. This museum allows you to enjoy the most interesting attractions from all over Belarus in one place, as miniatures. At present its exposition includes 18 displays: Nesvizh, Lida, Kossovo and Krevsky castles are among them.
“We have selected the most interesting 70 attractions of Belarus and decided to recreate them in miniature during the next 3 years specially for you”, the museum’s team says.
In front of each exhibition there is an English language audio guide that will explain to you what the item in front of you represents. Or just install the app Miniland and come prepared!
5. Jewish History and Culture Museum
There is a historical not that back in 19th century over 60% of Minsk population where Jews, and by the end of WW2 the situation has changed drastically. What exactly was happening at the territory of Belarus during ww2? How was the Jewisn population affected by Hitlers Final Solution? What is a Jewish ghetto and how is their culture being revived these day in Belarus? You will find the answers to all these questions in the museum.
6. Cat Museum
If you are a cat person, this is a place you have to visit. It’s worth visiting the Cat Museum because most of the furry pets were homeless in the past, yet they roam health and free in this museum. You can pet them, stroke them but can’t take them away, sorry. This is basically a cat temple in Belarus, as the whole place is buried with art works devoted to your favorite fur balls.
Any visitor can draw a picture and then put it on display in the museum. There is also a small Cat Cafe with cat-drinks and cat-sweets there.
7. Alivaria Brewery Museum
To visit a museum it takes time, money and effort from your side. On the end of the tour you will probably be exhausted, your taste buds will thirsty for something refreshing, for example, a glass of beer. This is why witty Belorussians at the Alivaria Brewery Museum combined business with pleasure. This excursion will tour you through a place in a 19th century old Belorussian brewery.
In addition to the excursion, you can attend brewing master-classes and learn how to drink beer correctly. Yes, there’s beer tasting!