That day I slept very soundly. It was preceded by a long road without sleep and good food. That is why even a place on the couch in the living room, which I got from girls, seemed a real luxury. Wrapped in a sleeping bag, I slept great and gained strength.
Waking up early in the morning, I began to collect urban backpack for the road. Throwing a bottle of water in it and the telephone which charted in the night, I went to explore the city. I took a wallet with money (you should take the money only by huge bundles in Belarus, as 10 dollars here was equal to 12 000 rubles).
Alina who gave me the night’s lodging (how you can get free overnight, I wrote in the article about couchsurfing) shared a guide to Brest and told me about the «fifth fort». I did not know anything about the las. But I decided to visit this place because the pictures that showed me were impressive.
I left the house and headed towards the Brest Fortress. After walking several hundred meters, I came across a huge monument to Lenin.
Well, it is understandable. In the post-Soviet space does not manage at all without monuments to Lenin.
I moved along the street, looking around the buildings and people. I wandered already here yesterday. But I was tired and with a huge backpack, therefore I did not remember the situation. However, I walked and was amazed. First of all – there was so clean, and there is a lot of curious architecture.
For example, here is the Church. I don’t have time to go inside, but it looks intriguing from the outside.
There are a lot of Catholics, and about the same number of Orthodox in Belarus. Therefore, the temples of both confessions are very rich here. And Christmas is a public holiday here as Catholic (December, 24) and Orthodox (January, 7).
Gogol is in high esteem here. There are many monuments and even one of the main avenues named in his honor.
This street named after Nikolai Gogol, also called «Avenue of lanterns», is a very interesting place. That is a brilliant way to transform the street and to turn it into a tourist attraction. And it will be discussed in this article.
Traffic lights at the transitions are modern, comfortable and bright everywhere. There is a problem with it in many cities of Ukraine and Russia. In addition, pleases the timer remaining time.
In general, the state of Belarus thinks about pedestrians (unlike Cyprus). Therefore being a pedestrian is relatively safe here.
But there is always something in any city that can spoil a good picture. For example, here are these flower beds. Who invented them and why? I sincerely do not want to know it.
But there’s no time for that, of course. Almost every building in the old center represents architectural or historical value, about which we are joyfully informed by information signs.
The plates are beautiful, and attract attention. Everything is clearly written on them. And most importantly – they are generally here. The only thing – it would be logical to duplicate the inscriptions in English.
The buildings themselves magically fit into the architecture of the city. We must pay tribute to the Belarusians here. They were able to combine on European modern and ancient part of the city. Restoration takes into account all the nuances and without damage to the facades. So I almost didn’t see the modern «freaks» or billboards and air-conditioners here, which grew up in the beautiful city and spoiled the facade of the buildings.
There are monuments with pretensions to a deep thought and creative architectural abilities.
And there are a lot of monuments on Soviet simple and without imagination. For example, this monument to the dead police officers:
I passed by the historical Museum in Brest. Unfortunately, it was on restoration. I do not particularly like museums at all, although I may have gone to this one.
In the meantime, I found a supermarket. There are many supermarkets. But according to local residents, there is no one here! Yes, I talked about this many times and will repeat it many times – never ask for directions from local people of any country in the world! It is better to go by feel than by the advice of the locals.
I bought bananas, juice, candies and yogurt with a bun in the market. Moreover, juice and candies were the Ukrainian production. However, they had a completely distinctive taste. Separate production lines work for export. So they monitor quality. At the same time, they prefer to sell pathetic similarity of a product for Ukrainians.
I turned and continued to move towards the fortress. Then I walked through the park with the monument to the border guards.
Janitors have nowhere. All cleaned early in the morning. They are disappeared with the appearance of the first people on the streets, as they never existed. That’s right. I don’t want to be in the dust by using a broom, when I go to work or school.
A series of stands stretches along the long street to the fortress. On them are indicated those in honor of whom the streets of the city are named. It seems to be a good idea, but it’s realized frankly lousy. Names and portraits of these people do not say anything to anyone. As for me, I would like to see a short inscription about each of them. At least – how he received such an honor. It would be really informative.
Even before reaching the fortress you can find its «echoes». These are the different exits and remains of the walls.
So we slowly reached the entrance to the historical-memorial complex «Brest Fortress». In front of her – is located a huge parking lot, Soviet music plays at entrance. There are several tanks on which children are photographed…
What else to say about the fortress? After watching the movie the Brest Fortress – this place was a «Must see» not just in Belarus, but in general. When I got here – I was globally disappointed. Trying to turn the fortress into a tourist attraction, the authorities fully and completely killed the whole atmosphere.
Information about the history of the fortress and a detailed photo report were written in a separate article: «The Brest Fortress. 200 years of history».
I’ll express an unpopular opinion, after which I’ll be showered with «rotten tomatoes». However, the complex was turned into «Disneyland». That’s why to build the not until the end of the ruined walls with a modern brick? If they’re ruined, why is this appearance here?
I visited the «fifth fort» at the same day. All much more atmospheric there, there is even no electricity. I’m not talking about places like the camp of Soviet prisoners of war in Vilnius. It develops an own atmosphere in places where people died in this terrible way. Creepy… But it was completely suppressed here.
On the other hand, most people like it. The people photographed, walked, watched. But will they have something in their memory?
Meanwhile, the hunger reminded itself. I sat on a bench near the temple. Firstly I ate the bun with the juice, and then a couple of bananas. Then I went to the Museum.
There is also a Museum of history of the fortress on the territory. It consists of several halls, which follow each other like «trailers». The exposition, for the most part, is represented by standard exhibits of such museums – letters, postcards and photographs of the Great Patriotic War. However, there are also some really interesting exhibits. To fans of history I advise to visit the museum of the Brest Fortress. Moreover, it is inexpensive.
As you might guess, it’s only a stone’s throw away to the Polish border. There is the legendary bridge through which the German army approached the fortress, under the guise of prisoners and residents. After crossing it, you can stumble upon a warning sign that you enter into the border area. And you can be reached Poland in 2-3 minutes on the bike.
But I crossed the bridge for another reason. According to many travelers, one of the most interesting Museums in the country is located to the right. It is the Archaeological Museum. But I was not lucky at that time. It was closed that day. So it was possible to look at it only from the outside.
I finished visiting the fortress on this. I had to get to the center, where to go to the «fifth fort».
Passing under the bridge, I noticed a wonderful graffiti. I’ve always liked this idea.
Such places (under bridges, overpasses, sides of buildings) are regularly sketched by inept mediocrity, who calling it «graffiti». In fact, they just write some kind of inscription. And it’s difficult to fight with this, and often it’s pointless.
In my opinion, the most effective and cool way to fix this is to find a really normal graffiti lovers, who is enough. It is possible on a competitive basis. We have to give them the quality paint and allow them creating!
On the one hand, we get a beautiful and modern drawing, which is popular with young people. And its meaning can reach even the older generation. On the other hand – no one will spoil it once again. And the authors themselves did not allow doing it. It is not accepted in their «gang» to draw your own graffiti on top of another one. It is an insult and a challenge.
And the authors will have – +100 to pride. They were allowed to draw something grandiose! And now, this drawing with their authorship is decorated the bridge overpass near the main attraction of the city.
Similar projects with graffiti increasingly being implemented in other post-Soviet countries. For example, forever sketched fence in Victory Park was decorated this way in the city of Zaporozhye (Ukraine).
Returning, I noticed in 100 meters from the entrance to the fortress another Museum. It was a Museum of steam locomotives. I love places like this! Every boy and girl excited by the opportunity to climb the rail car and to sit in the driver’s cab.
The exposition is probably the same or slightly wider than the Kiev Railway Museum. However, there are much fewer exhibits where you can climb up and push your curious nose.
I go further. I notice a very strange monument. It turns out that it is a monument and alley of the «Soviet-Afghan friendship». It was founded by the youth of these countries.
I continued to walk along Brest. I was heading for the street, from where the bus should go to the fort. There was a weekday, and the streets were almost empty. Clean and empty… Sometimes there is an impression that the city has died out, even in the evening of the weekend.
Brest reminded me the Balkan city, where the people are walking only along one street of the city, which completely crowded with cafes and shops. Such pedestrian street exists here too.
I, having confused the bus with the shuttle bus, went to the other end of the city! It turns out that the bus number 5 and the shuttle bus number 5 are different routes. And I did not know it. I tried to find out from locals where the fort is and how to get there. But nobody knows, saying it does not exist. Hah, yeees. We know that the local people are never aware of anything that is located in their city!
Finally, I found a needed bus and went to the specified stop. I went about 20 minutes in the opposite direction from the stop. Then I turned back again, starting a movement in the right direction. Yes, it happens when the phone is discharged. It was later when I bought the PowerBank. Only then I could use the charged mobile Nokia with navigator for a long time.
I walked through the suburbs. It was outside the city. There are geese, fields and forest ahead. The heron was sitting in ambush in the reeds.
Finally I reached the «fifth fort». It is a grand structure, which only recently opened to visitors. It was not used under the Soviet regime and therefore it is little-known. But it is no less interesting.
Additional atmosphere created by the fact that no conditions have been created here yet. (If you go here – be sure to bring flashlights with you (one for each person)). In the dark damp corridors without lighting feel shaky. It seems that you are the hero of the horror film.
I climbed it as far as I could with my flashlight, which built-in mobile phone. Then I returned to the city. On the way, I again managed to prove that I am a foreigner. I tried to give the driver 360, but not 3600 rubles. I cannot get used to these tens of thousands for food and million salary.
Suburban landscapes floated past the window. One «bearded» joke immediately surfaced in my head.
I returned to Brest. It was necessary finally obtain a phone number for myself. As it turned out that it is difficult to buy a SIM card in Belarus. You need a passport for this. And the question «What kind of starter package do you have?» throws the staff to faint. There is not large choice of starter packages for the tourists. There is only one tariff from a pair of operators, and the rest operators did not provide services to foreigners.
MTS office was stuffed to the gills. So I decided to «cheat» by buying a SIM card in Svyaznoj (a shop of electronics and connection). For which I quickly paid. The seller had not a micro-SIM, so he cut off the regular one. As a result, in an hour I still waited the queue at the MTS office to replace the card because the previous one refused to work.
Then, I having bought products in a supermarket and calling to my sister in Vitebsk and my parents in Ukraine. I began slowly to get ready for the journey. I had a ticket to Minsk at night, but the backpack was still in the girls’ house.
I ate a little, and I went to the railway station. I had to walk 2 minutes, no more from the house where Alina lived. I will spend the night in the train and finally getting enough sleep. And I will be in Minsk in the morning!
Brest has conquered me, like Belarus in general. But I’m not a big fan of big and noisy cities. So Minsk can’t make me so touched by people and green avenues as Brest. The city is filled with history and unique beauty.
I strongly advise you to allocate at least a day to Brest, when you will