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Happy Birthday, Minsk! 950 Years Of Belarusian Capital In ONE Picture

Today, on 3 March, Minsk celebrates its 950th anniversary.

This is considered the founding date of the city as under it Minsk first appeared in a historical chronicle in the year 1067.

The city was mentioned in the Russian Povest vremennykh let (‘Tale of Bygone Years’), a medieval Kievan Rus historical work on the early history of the eastern Slavs, in connection with the Battle on the Niamiha River.

The 11th century was a turning point in the development of the city. During this period some of the functions of Minsk changed, since it had initially appeared as the center of a large rural municipality.

minsk history

The next major date in the city’s history is 1499, when Minsk received the Magdeburg rights.

The new status affected both economic and political functions of the future Belarusian capital, as well as changed the city’s appearance. The Town Hall was built at that time in the Upper Town.

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Attempts to remake city planning began in 18th century, when the Belarusian lands got divided between Russia and Prussia.

Russian city planning of those times was inspired by the example of St. Petersburg, the city built from scratch according to the Prussian¬†“straight-and-perpendicular” system.

Minsk had always had to defend its right to be the capital and first got this status only in 1918.

When Russian authorities arrived in Minsk, they found the streets too scattered and chaotic, which was typical of European cities. The neighboring Vilnius, Riga and Krakow looked exactly like this.

The plans of the Russians to tear the old order down and build the city anew never came to life.

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Minsk had always had to defend its right to be the capital and first got this status only in 1918.


The original version of this text in Russian was published by TUT.BY.

Infographic by Anton Devyatov. Video and main picture by Artem Pryadko.