Krasnoarmeyskaya Street in Minsk: hotel Paris and first Belarusian swimming pool


Krasnoarmeyskaya Street in Minsk: hotel Paris and first Belarusian swimming pool

Krasnoarmeyskaya Street. Its name is closely connected with the October Revolution events in 1917 and the creation of the Red Army (Krasnaya Armiya). Since 1919, this street has been known as Krasnoarmeyskaya.

The architectural design of this city center part is also a result of drastic changes. Now the historical buildings serve for new purposes and the street has been renamed several times. Its first name was Kasharskaya Street – from the Polish “kazarmy” (in English – barracks) as earlier there had been many barracks on this street.

This street was also known as Batalyonnaya. In 1882 it was renamed Skobelevskaya after General Skobelev, a hero in Russo-Turkish War of 1877–1878 known as White General.

Alexandra Volodina, historian, guide:
He was always ahead in any battle, dressed in a white uniform and riding a white horse. That’s why he was called White General. But the word “white” after the October Revolution changed its meaning. “White” meant not “Red” one, not Soviet, but bourgeois and enemy. Therefore, the street was renamed Krasnoarmeyskaya Street (in honor of the Red Army).

The Officers’ House is one of the most impressive buildings on Krasnoarmeyskaya Street, which is used to be known as the Red Army’s House. In the 19th century, a bishop’s palace and the Pokrovskaya church, designed by the Minsk architect Khrishchanovich, were located here.

Officers’ House

The history of the palace and the church came to an end with the establishment of the Soviet government. On the site of the Janka Kupala National Academic Theatre, there was located the hotel Paris. After the October Revolution, it was used as the Red Army’s House.

The army was growing. In 1926, architect Josef Langbard was to solve this problem.

He designed numerous Minsk symbols such as the Government’s House, the National Academic Opera and Ballet Theatre, the National Academy of Sciences and the Officers’ House as well. The architect was entrusted to rebuild the bishop’s palace into the Red Army’s House. It was the most advanced building in the city of that time.

The first Belarusian swimming pool of the European level and a huge library situated there.

At the beginning of the 20th century, a territorial agricultural museum was situated in the place of the well-known tank T34. The best part of the exposition was devoted to… marshes. The building was destroyed during the war and now the monument can be found there.

The headquarters of the Belarusian Republican Youth Union also has an interesting history. At the beginning of the Revolution, this building was the Peasant’s House.

On the opposite side, in the place of the present-day Presidential Residence, there was a palace of the famous governor, Karl Gutten Chapskiy, designed by Krizhanovich.

The Council of the Republic of the National Assembly, the upper chamber of the Belarus parliament, is situated now in the place where a popular Leninskaya Library, or Leninka (in honor of Lenin), was opened.

It was here where the higher education in Belarus started to develop. Vladimir Picheta, a professor, the first rector of the Belarusian State University, founded here a private men’s gymnasium in 1906.

During WWI, the building was used as a German hospital. The history of the Belarusian State University begins here. Before that Belarusians had to study in the Vilnius University.

Secondary school No.4, an example of changes in the architectural approaches, is also situated here. Earlier it was a house of White General Dmitriy Skobelev.

At 13 Krasnoarmeyskaya Street, there is an unremarkable block of flats, which used to be a place where the communist party elite lived. Among famous tenants is the first secretary of the Belarusian committee of the Communist Party of Soviet Union, Piotr Masherov.

Today Krasnoarmeyskaya Street is just a small part of bustling Minsk. A few things remind us of the bloody events of 1917 that changed the image of this district. But some of the most important buildings are situated here. And judging by the status and functions of present-day buildings in this street, it is here where the Minsk history is being made.

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