Niamiha or Svislach? The most troublesome river in Minsk

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Niamiha or Svislach? The most troublesome river in Minsk

Minsk can be called not only a green city, but also a blue one. While strolling through the city center you can’t help visiting the river bank and picturesque water reservoirs.

At first, it is worth recalling the Nyamiha River. The first mentioning of Minsk in the “Primary Chronicle” (“Tale of Bygone Years”) and in “The Tale of Igor's Campaign” is connected with it. Ancient Minsk was founded at the Nyamiha and Svislach’s confluence.

Фото. Водная система Минска

Фото. Водная система Минска

By the beginning of the 19th century, Nyamiha, once deep river, became shallow. But after heavy rains the creek overflowed, flooding the street and market square.

In the 20th century, the Nyamiha River was put into concrete pipes under the ground. However, each summer, after heavy rains, the river reminds of itself, turning the surrounding streets and avenues into a full-flowing stream.

Фото. Водная система Минска
Flooded Niamiha Street

Earlier, the Svislach River bothered citizens as well. It flooded streets during the period of high water. Only in 1955, the river's banks were "dressed" in concrete.

Фото. Водная система Минска

Фото. Водная система Минска

Soon, another problem appeared – the need of watering the Svislach. As a result of the rapid growth of the city, the natural water supply was insufficient for all the technical needs of Minsk. Thus, it was decided to “charge” the Svislach with more watery river basins.

It was a great project, which lasted from 1968 to 1976 and resulted in building the Vileyka-Minsk water system. Thanks to this artificial reservoir, water supply of the city industry improved greatly. By the way, new water facilities were created for people in the suburban area of Minsk.

Фото. Водная система Минска

 

Despite its beauty, the Svislach’s city part is a technical water reservoir, where storm drainage gets into. It is forbidden to swim and fish in it.

To adorn the area around the river, in 1982, a plan of creating two water semi-rings (the Slepyanskaya and Loshitskaya water systems) was developed.

Over the past years, the idea has been half applied. Nowadays, the Svislach has become a favorite place among Minsk citizens and guests, though its southern part isn’t still beautified. City planners continue to create parks and recreation areas along the rivers as new districts or significant constructions appear. Today, several major areas separated by highways are allocated for this purpose.

Фото. Водная система Минска

Water and landscape complexes will stretch from Pritytskogo Street to the south up to Alibegova Street, extend along Dzerzhinskogo Avenue, and then branch out. The first branch will stretch through Malinovka, the other one through Kurasovshchyna and Loshitsa.

In the future, it is expected that the Minsk water system will include a great number of parks – for family and leisure, sanitary parks, as well as for extreme sports.

 

Originally published in Russian in June 2010