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Minsk saying goodbye to national exhibition center BelExpo, first Belarusian glass building

The exhibition hall of Economic Achievements of Belorussian Soviet Socialist Republic was opened on December 27, 1968, designed upon the project of Sergey Botkovsky, Yuri Gradov and Leonid Levin.

Yuri Gradov, architect, laureate of the Lenin Prize:
The decision to build the exhibition hall in Minsk was taken on the 50thanniversary of the BSSR.
We visited Mosсow to see the hall in Sokolniki Park, built of glass and aluminum.

The Belarusian hall became nationwide and forward-looking.

Yuri Gradov:
There was an idea to make these white quadras from glass. We wanted to involve experts from the Neman glassworks to make everything from glass.

As the Soviet Union developed under the policy of economy and five-year plans, the architects were accused of wastage, using a lot of glass to build the hall and energy to heat such buildings.

The architects came up with an idea to make all metal structures outside the building. The idea was brushed aside.

Yuri Gradov:
It was the first glass building, but there are lots of them now.

The exhibition hall has become the main exhibition hall in Minsk. The national achievements, such as agricultural and construction engineering, were located outside, while scientific, technical and cultural achievements were inside.

Taisia Beletskaya, head of excursion service of the exhibition hall of Economic Achievements of Belorussian Soviet Socialist Republic, National exhibition center BelExpo project manager:
People always took notice of Belarusian Autoworks (BelAZ). New computers, TV sets, refrigerators were exhibited at the exhibition hall.

The exhibition hall of Economic Achievements of Belorussian Soviet Socialist Republic hosted the main landmark events of the Soviet Union. The 100th anniversary of Lenin birthday and the 50th anniversary of the USSR foundation were celebrated here.

Taisia Beletskaya:
The decision to build the second floor was taken, where light industry products and national economy achievements were displayed.

The exhibition hall was of the republican significance in the early 1990s, but then it acquired the national status.

Taisia Beletskaya:
We had 10 exhibitions in 1997, and 14 in 1998. Everyone had a higher education diploma, but no one had a diploma confirming qualification to work at exhibitions and with foreigners. There were people with liberal and technical education, so we managed to establish contacts with foreign countries and exhibition companies with the course of time.
We are lucky to have worked here, as we were at the root of the exhibition activity development in Belarus.

The exhibition center BelExpo would celebrate its 50th anniversary in the year of 2018. However, a new architectural complex will take the place of BelExpo now.

Minsk saying goodbye to national exhibition center BelExpo, first Belarusian glass building