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Komarovka in the 1980’s, philosophical Zelyony Lug and trams on avenue: video tour around Minsk from the past

Only here you can find people selling cigarettes and soda pop, feel yourself as a passenger of an old bus and call up your friends from a phone booth. You can learn more about Minsk history and to see both pre-war and reconstructed city at the exhibition “City. Architecture. Us” in the National Art Museum. Enjoy a video tour in the news story of the program Minsk and Minsk residents!

The collection of unique cityscapes was amassed on the occasion of the 950th anniversary of Minsk.

The exposition contains the whole art epoch that embraces the period from 1899 to 2008. It includes works by such artists as Kruger, Volkov, Stelmashonok, Akhremchik, Sumarev and so on.

Representatives of different styles and generations tried to express the soul and the essence of the beloved city.

Let’s start from The Battle on the Nemiga river by Michail Filippovich.

Maxim Lunev, museum guide:
The chronology of Minsk starts from May 3, 1967 when troops of dukes of Polotsk and Kiev clashed in a battle. All men of Minsk were killed and women and children were taken prisoners.

There was a citadel 12m high at the place where the Nemiga flows into the Svislach.

The streets were paved with wood and were tightly abutted to each other. The paintings by Yazep Drozdovich confirm it.

But then the city’s territory became too small for Minsk.

People become to expand in the direction of the place called Upper City.

You can hardly recognize the center of pre-revolutionary Minsk with the Holy Spirit Cathedral, Gostiny Dvor and merchants’ rows. A kind of a historical rebus by Anatoly Tychina.

Maxim Lunev, guide:
We can see an arch and a hotel Europe on this picture.

This arch was ruined after World War II.

It was made in a small tower of Jesuit ex-collegium – a very unusual kind. Another interesting painting that was most likely painted in the evening is the view of Sovetskaya Street.

Earlier it was called Zaharevskaya Street, now it’s called Nezavisimosti Avenue.

It’s interesting to know that there were trams here at that point of time. Their route ran from the Brest and Vilensky Railway Stations and was headed towards the Upper City.

In the fire of war.

You can feel all the pain and tragedy of occupied Minsk by getting to the city of ruins.

Just imagine: the population of the city shortened 5 times after World War II.

One of the paintings shows you the Holy Spirit Cathedral.

It was radically rebuilt literally in several years after the painting appeared. Its baroque façade was changed into a new, a classic one, and the House of Sports was opened within the walls of the holy place. It’s a different story that we’ve got the resurrected city.

Minsk residents built their new capital from the ground up and made it a city of the Sun and of the brightest future.

Graphic works by Sergey Romanov and Oskar Mariks tell us about realization of the general out-lay, about the appearing of houses in the style of Stalin’s Ampire and life that was humming on new thoroughfares. High-risers inspired artists. Ivan Rey, Evgeniy Semyonov, Vasiliy Tkachuk could manage to recapture the atmosphere of dynamics of new districts.

Soviet Minsk of the 50-70’s: the city of five-year work plans, the city of our mothers and grannies.

The raciest epoch for artists.

Minsk is muffled up in Orenburg shawls, standing in queues to buy deficient oranges and favorite eskimo (ice cream), with Volga cars rushing along broad avenues.

Anatoliy Volkov, Ivan Medvedev, Sergey Katkov and other artists could manage to convey the taste of life in the new, rebuilt city. The time when trees were small. Look, children go downstairs at Kommunisticheskaya Street.

They prepared little bunches of autumn leaves for herbarium and postcards for their mothers.

Maxim Lunev, guide:
There were ice-rinks in lots of yards, so children went ice-skating on winter evenings. Many people hid their shoes in snowbanks, sometimes they even forgot where they put them and couldn’t find their shoes. There were large ice-rinks. For example, let’s take Dinamo stadium. Athletes trained there during in the afternoon and other people could visit it in the evenings.

There also was a huge ice-rink in Gorky Park.

People hurried to get to their work, took rest and came back from dates and felt happy. The city was developing, high-rises replaced villages but the main thing remained the same.

This painting showing Zialiony Luh district that was new at that time is about it.

Its philosophy is clear to all Minsk residents.

The main food market of Minsk was built on the occasion of the Olympic Games 1980 at the place where earlier there was a village called Komarovka.

It turned out that this unusual pavilion was so successful that similar places appeared in many cities of the USSR.

The atmosphere on the painting by Monoszon is also impressive: people with Christmas trees are in a hurry to come home to celebrate New Year 1981.

Minsk of the 1970-1980’s. The period of architectural inventions and post-modernism. Svetlana Katkova, Zoya Litvinova and other artists new how to make people feel the rhythm of renovated Minsk.

Mai Dantsig was one of the last of the Mohicans.

He passed away in March 2017. His painting My Minsk, 1967, decorates the museum’s foyer.

The dynamics and scale takes our breath away.

50 years have passed, now there are no old busses on the bridge, the square also changed.

This is why the exhibition City. Architecture. Us is precious. It allows to trace the story of city’s evolution, to look at familiar and unfamiliar places and to smile together with the artists that were in love with Minsk.

Komarovka in the 1980’s, philosophical Zelyony Lug and trams on avenue: video tour on Minsk from the past