Outside the City
Located 75km north-east of Minsk, you will not be able to get here by public transport. Khatyn was once a small village. Now there stands in eyrie silence a memorial complex to the residents of the village and the other 600+ villages that were razed to the ground and their residents burned alive by the SS during the war. A visit to Khatyn is an incredibly humbling experience that forces home the tragedies that the Belarusian people experienced by its sheer simplicity. Where the village houses stood there are small concrete fences with a concrete column representing a chimney. In each column there is a small bell that tolls every few minutes. There are also symbolic graves for each village that suffered the same fate and recently a small museum has opened. The statue at the entrance representing a survivor, The Unconquered Man is arguably the most haunting image.
If you travel to Khatyn then a visit to Logoisk will offer you the chance to see small town Belarus. The turn off is about halfway to Khatyn and it will only involve a detour of a couple of kilometres. Unusually the town square has two statues, with Karl Marx standing alongside Lenin. There are a couple of shops, an old-fashioned department store and a local restaurant open 11:00-16:00 and 17:00-23:00 (12:00-24:00 Fri-Sun). At weekends the restaurant is likely to be booked for a wedding but during the week you can enjoy a slap up meal for just a few roubles.
Elsewhere along the road from Minsk to Khatyn there are plenty of roadside cafes with barbecues selling shashlik. The quality varies; just go for the one with the most cars outside.
National Museum of Architecture & Life at Ozersto (Озерцо),
May-October 10:00-17:30 Closed Mon, Tue.
November- April 10:00-15:00. Closed Mon, Tue
This splendid ethnic museum is located over a vast area on the banks of the river Ptich some 15km from the centre of Minsk and is a perfect place to spend an afternoon. It is divided into three areas (Central Belarus, Dnepr area and Lakeside) and in each one you will find small wooden peasant cottages lovingly decorated in the style of age that they represent.
Getting here can be a little problematic. Buses depart from the Yugo-Zapad (Юго-Запад) bus station on Zheleznodorozhnaya street (Железнодорожная). Your best bet would be to send me an e-mail with the date that you plan to go and I will confirm the exact times for you.
The Glory Mound
Approaching the city from the airport you’ll pass this manmade hill with an imposing obelisk, created to celebrate the final battle of World War II to take place on Belarusian soil. It was officially opened on the 25th anniversary of the liberation of Minsk and there is a footpath that spirals around the hill to the top.