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Minsk in vicinity of Kirov Plant: history and architects’ plans

At first, the famous Kosharskaya square was situated in the vicinity of Minsk’s Pervomayskaya Street and Krasnoarmeyskaya Street (earlier Skobelevskaya and Okolnaya, respectively). Its name derives from the Polish word ‘koszary’, which means ‘barracks’. It was a kind of a military town. The entire necessary infrastructure was located there, including a small smithy. Later, in 1881, that smithy turned into the future Kirov plant.

Valentina Korotkina, tour guide:
In 1881, an entrepreneur Jacobson redeemed the smithy and established a plant on its basis. The plant began to supply with equipment different spheres of industry. At first, small enterprises were supplied; the plant produced breaks, some machines for the Minsk railway, and it served the fire system.

At that time, the productive capacity of the plant was not big. About 10 people worked here over a period of 20 years. In 1900, Jacobson got acquainted with a famous merchant Livshits, and they united their manufactures.

Valentina Korotkina, tour guide:
At first, they supplied the railway station, and then began to produce equipment for yeast and plywood manufactures. At those times, it was something extraordinary, because before that, the equipment was bought abroad.

At the beginning of the XX century, more than 1.5 thousand workers were employed at the plant, new workshops were opened there. It was the plant’s golden age. Later, two small enterprises joined the plant. It didn’t stop working even during WWI.

Valentina Korotkina, tour guide:
In 1914, the plant began to produce zwiebacks. Some engineering buildings changed their permanent specialty and adapted to produce foodstuffs.

In 1919, the Kosharsky plant, which gained fame all over the world, came into possession of the Soviet government. Since 1934, it has specialized in producing engineering tools. At that very time, the plant was named after a Russian revolutionary Sergey Kirov.

Valentina Korotkina, tour guide:
The production decline began in the late 1980s, as soon as market outlets for the equipment for agriculture and transport disappeared.

Now, there are a lot of workshops left, which resemble the past fame of the plant. Some of them don’t produce anything, and those that do, are planned to be moved outside the city. On their former place, public buildings are to be erected.

The main highlight of this quarter will be the pedestrian street.

The city lacks such places, and it is very difficult to build them up in a historical place. Due to its unique location near Gorky Park, Independence Avenue and the river Svisloch, the territory of the Kirov Plant is perfect for this purpose.

The pedestrian street will connect several future squares: Naberezhnaya (from Pervomayskaya Street), Ovalnaya, Kosharskaya and Kitayskaya (near the hotel Beijing).

Victor Kramarenko, architect, double laureate of State Prize of the Republic of Belarus:
The first square is Naberezhnaya. It turned out that it did exist 100 years ago. We will create it on the basis of the existing buildings. In addition, we offer to build a tower with a unique clock on it. People will start their journey around the pedestrian area from this very square.

A little further away, another historical square – Kosharskaya – will be laid.

Cafes, restaurants and exhibition complexes will be built here.

According to the architect, this area should be a comfortable resting place for Minsk residents and its guests.

Victor Kramarenko, architect, double laureate of State Prize of the Republic of Belarus:
A lot of greenery will be planted here; it will merge with the Chinese park. This will be a completely unique place. A loft will be created in one of the parts of the plant.

The area from Pervomayskaya Street to Kashirskaya Square is expected to be divided into quarters. The first two floors of the buildings will house shopping arcades, cafes, restaurants and cinemas. Private premises will be located on other floors.

The pedestrian street will be built up in the spirit of Independence Avenue, with 4-6-storey buildings on both sides. The height of the buildings will increase toward the distance from the center. The project implies the construction of a school.

Victor Kramarenko, architect, double laureate of State Prize of the Republic of Belarus:
The transport will not serve the pedestrian area. It will map its route through the quarters’ yards.

Architects proposed to build a cycle center, where bicycles could be rented, with a coffee shop, and a maintenance service station for two-wheeled transport.

Architects plan to start the development of the territory immediately after the plan is approved by the Committee of Architecture. They promise to complete the first part of the project in three years.

Minsk in vicinity of Kirov Plant: history and architects’ plans