History of Minsk’s Nezavisimosti Square and monument of Lenin

History of Minsk’s Nezavisimosti Square and monument of Lenin

The construction of Lenin Square (now it’s Nezavisimosti Square) began with the construction of the House of Government, the draft of which was approved judging by the results of the contest in 1929, timed  to the 10th anniversary of the proclamation of Minsk as the capital of the BSSR.

The winner of the contest was Iosif Langbard. After that, he was asked to help with the construction of the Opera and Ballet Theatre, the Academy of Science and the House of the Red Army in Minsk.

Ivan Turlay, author of the book “Minsk. Little-known pages”, Candidate of Economic Science:
The House of Government was also the House of the Parliament. Nowadays, the House of Representatives of Belarus is situated here. Moreover, the first residential quarters of the President were located in the building in 1994-1995.

In 1933, the monument of founder of the USSR Vladimir Lenin was installed in front of the House of the Government.

The monument was created by Matvey Manizer who based his work on the pictures of the Soviet leader.

During World War II, the monument was destroyed. The same thing might have happened to the House of Government, because a bomb was planted in the building. However, people managed to save it. After the World War II, the House of Government was restored and the monument of Lenin was recreated.

After the collapse of the USSR, the future of Lenin’s monument was in danger. On September 6, 1991, the Minsk Executive Committee decided to replace the monument with the architectural composition symbolizing the independence of Belarus. It was planned to hold a contest for the best composition, but it never happened.

Today, Nezavisimosti Square (7 ha) is considered to be one of the largest squares in Europe. For instance, it is larger than Moscow’s Red Square (Moscow) and the Place de la Concorde (Paris).

In the beginning of the 21st century, a large shopping mall and parking area were built under the square.

The Catholic Church of Saints Simon and Helena in Nezavisimosti Square was built in 1910, and nobody could imagine that it will become a part of the square in a capital with a large population.