Minsk is a quite new city, there’re few buildings left older than 60 years because its 80% was destroyed during the World War 2. Directly after the war the Hero City was totally rebuilt by the most famous soviet architects in monumental USSR style. Such architecture in the city center gives Minsk an incredible charm.
There’re a number of buildings of 1950s on the main 5 km long street – Nezavisimosti ave. It starts from Nezavisimosti square and finishes at Vostok district. Halfway are October Square, Victory square and Yakuba Kolasa Square. Walking there it’s worth seeing the Government house, KGB headquarters, City council, Main Post office, Palace of the republic, GUM warehouse, Palace of Culture, House of officers, the residence of the President.
GUM is one of Minsk's largest and oldest department stores and was founded in 1951. It’s a place to visit and to buy souvenirs and Belarusian goods, but also an amusing reminder of the fading Soviet shopping experience. Something similar to this one can be found in every city on post-soviet area. There’re four floors with many different thematic departments on each floor. It really serves a powerful symbol of socialist realism – there’re symbolic everywhere, also a wide staircase decorated with glass columns and lamps, interesting sculpture groups.
On the first floor of the nearby building of 1953 are a supermarket "Centralny" (Nezavisimosti ave 23) and a cafe with a great view of the busy avenue. It’s originally decorated either with luxurious chandeliers and massive stucco panels. Coming there the atmosphere of the past is felt at once. Decoration of buildings and streets with sculptures was a general feature of the first postwar decade architecture. In addition to popular decorative sculpture, important buildings were widely decorated with mosaics, carvings, stained glass panels in the graffito technique, etc.
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