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History of street lighting in Minsk

Street lighting in Europe appeared in the 17th century. A hundred years later, the technology was used in Minsk for the first time.

The first street lights were oil-based and very dim, which required some changes. In the 1940s, hemp oil was used instead.

Vladimir Denisov, chief archivist of the National Historical Archive of Belarus:
In 1850, Minsk authorities decided to implement spirit city lighting. A special mixture of hemp seed oil was made for this.

Minsk authorities made a contract with the landowner Bogdashevsky who had a spirit plant in Vyazynka. When spirit was brought to a pharmacist, he turned it into a lighting liquid. The police controlled operable condition of the spirit lights in the street.

Vasily Paduto, founder of Minsk City Council History Museum:
It’s interesting to know that the lights were turned on only on moonless nights.

In the 1960s, gas street lamps were first used in Minsk. This lighting system was very popular in Europe. Moreover, gas shines pretty brightly. However, equipment was too expensive and a special plant needed to be built. In 1868, kerosene lamps replaced the spirit-based ones.

Vladimir Denisov, chief archivist of the National Historical Archive of Belarus:
The power of those lamps was similar to that of modern electric lamps.

At those times, the profession of lamplighter was only in prospect. They lighted Minsk nightlife.

The first attempt to implement electric lighting in Minsk was made in 1892. The electric lamps were operating alongside the kerosene ones at the end of the 19th century. They still exist today.

The first electric lighting experiments were carried out on 21 December 1886. An electrical machine was set in motion by a pumping station of Libavo-Romenskaya railroad with the help of a steam engine.

Three years later, there were 1,100 bulbs in Minsk: 240 in the streets, 420 in theatres and 430 in private ownership.

Vasily Paduto, founder of Minsk City Council History Museum:
In 1940, the first remote controls for electric lighting were invented in Moscow.

In September 1944, Minsk power station was reconstructed. In 1945, there appeared a post of an inside lighting electrician and technician, who fixed lighting problems in Minsk.

Galina Levina, architect, winner of a Republic of Belarus state prize:
Many researchers consider that the pattern on Slutsk belts contains elements of a light post. After the Second World War, the street lamps had different shapes, which made them solemn.

Festive illumination was made by hand. Now such bulbs are made at plants, they are painted inside and almost all of them are based on light-emitting diodes.

In 2016, preparing for Minsk City Day, decorative strings were fully replaced throughout Pobediteley Avenue. Colorful illumination on the trees and bright bulbs of a new design were used.

By the way, city lamps’ service life is about 8,000 hours.

Galina Levina, architect, winner of the Republic of Belarus state prize:
We focused not only on the avenue lighting but also on different entrances. And such a small lamp hanging on a hook invited people to the house.

Minsk