Zolotaya Gorka neighborhood in Minsk


Zolotaya Gorka neighborhood in Minsk

The neighborhood Zolotaya Gorka (literal translation is Golden Hill) extends from the Palace of Arts to the present philharmonic society and the military cemetery in the 18th century.

According to a romantic legend, this place was thickly planted with trees, in autumn golden leafage covered the hill with a picturesque carpet.

Pragmatists claim that local merchants buried their money and jewelry there, which is why the hill was named golden.

The most likely historical interpretation is related to a small chapel, which appeared on the site of a Catholic cemetery in 1796.

Today the part of the extant hill is hidden behind the Palace of Arts. All the territory of this enclosed courtyard up to the present-day Komarovka is the former place of graves. With time, wooden houses and a suburb appeared around the cemetery.

Evgeniya Byts, guide:
Now we are at the former cemetery Zolotogorskoye. This necropolis was opened at the end of the 18th century. It is interesting that another cemetery is located next to it. It was the Cholera cemetery. Historical evidence says people were buried at the Cholera cemetery since the 16th century.

The sample of Neo-Gothic is the Catholic Church of St. Roch, which appeared on the site of a small wooden chapel.

A terrible series of the epidemics of the 18th-19th centuries expanded the territory of the cemetery to the extent that demanded a church to be built nearby. So a new church in honor of the Holy Trinity and Roch was consecrated in 1864. Roch is a French saint, a patron guarding people against the plague.

Old Catholic cemetery

According to a legend, during the epidemic, a townsman had a dream in which he was asked to find a statue of St. Roch. The believers of different faiths gathered, found the shrine and set it in the new church.

Evgeniya Byts, guide:
During WWII, shells hit this place and only the walls remained till the end of the war.  After the war, townsmen managed to raise funds and cover the building. The building was covered to be later transformed into a concert hall.
The interesting fact is that this is the former church with an organ. Only in 2006 was it given to the believers.

Prewar and postwar buildings gradually razed the cemetery. Only ten legendary tombs survived in the church courtyard. Today the Catholic Church of St. Roch is hidden from citizens by monumental buildings in the Stalin Empire style.

Directly behind the Catholic Church of St. Roch, you can see another attraction of the Golden hill - a tower. In Soviet times, it was used to jam the broadcast of foreign radio stations delivering the truth about the life of the regional committees and the Communist party.

There is a new necropolis, a military cemetery, in the historical district. It was founded at the end of the 19th century. The Church of Alexander Nevsky became the main shrine of the cemetery . It is a monument to the victims of the Russian-Turkish war.

Evgeniya Byts, guide:
It is interesting that this is probably the only Minsk temple that has not changed its appearance from the beginning of its construction.

After the war, burial places for citizens and the Soviet elite of the country appeared at the military cemetery. Academician Vsevolod Ignatovsky, the legendary Belarusian writers Yanka Kupala and Yakub Kolas lie here, too.