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“I Didn’t Expect Much, I Was Wrong.” BBC Photographer Comes To Belarus

Robert Michael Poole, a travel and culture writer and photographer, who collaborates with AP, CNN, NatGeo, the Wall Street Journal, and global travel magazines, has visited Belarus.

The photojournalist didn’t expect much of our country but changed his mind pretty fast, took a series of pictures and shared them on Instagram. Just read his rave and eye-opening captions!

“OK, so my expectations before arriving in Belarus were not super high. Though I expected beautiful nature and endless forests, I thought the towns would be a picture of post-soviet drudgery, and people would be cold and stiff. What a delight it is for my preconceptions to be proved utterly incorrect.

 

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Публикация от Robert Michael Poole • Travel (@robertmichaelpoole)

EVERYONE (apart from Minsk airport taxi drivers) was super friendly, curious, courteous, and delightful! And from the fields to the huge murals and street art (pics coming soon), it’s much more colourful and lively place than you’d imagine!

The country is famous in the CIS for potatoes and cheese, but even in the fields the farmers clearly have a sense of humour.”

 

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GETTING BACK TO NATURE IN GRODNO ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ My long term followers will know I tend to seek out places to stay that connect with nature and culture, and in Belarus, there is one stand out. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ @kronon_park_hotel is set deep inside the delicate forest of Pyshki near Grodno, surrounded by dense coniferous and deciduous trees. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ The river Neman flows nearby, separating the woods from the city, and according to ancient maps, the area has never been deforested, so it’s entirely authentic. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ Swipe right to see inside filled with Italian and French influenced furniture, all in a classical setting – our favourite part though, is the hammock in the forest! ————————————————————— #Belarus #Беларусь #беларусь🇧🇾 #Białoruś #grodno #Hrodna #Гродна #BBCTravel #stayandwander #cnntravel #theguardian #lonelyplanet #lensbible #voyaged #passionpassport #travellingthroughtheworld #welltraveled #beautifuldestinations #paradise

Публикация от Robert Michael Poole • Travel (@robertmichaelpoole)

 

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THE GATES OF MINSK ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ Welcome to the capital of Belarus! ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ These beauties are the Gates of Minsk, two symmetrical towers in Classical Stalinist style, built during the reconstruction of the city after WWII. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ The population of Minsk was just 50,000 in 1944, but by 1959 was up to 500,000 and has grown rapidly since, to 2 million today. That makes it the 11th most populous city in all of Europe, and honestly one of the pleasant to walk around too! ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ The city was founded in 1067, so it’s close to its 1000th birthday, and recently held the 2nd European Games. I could feel the excitement and enthusiasm of a city having its moment. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ Stay tuned for some very cool pics of modern Minsk coming up soon! ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ With @renaissanceminskhotel ————————————————————— #Belarus #Беларусь #беларусь🇧🇾 #Białoruś #grodno #Hrodna #Гродна #BBCTravel #stayandwander #cnntravel #theguardian #lonelyplanet #lensbible #voyaged #passionpassport #travellingthroughtheworld #welltraveled #beautifuldestinations

Публикация от Robert Michael Poole • Travel (@robertmichaelpoole)

 

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BELARUS’ MOST BEAUTIFUL CASTLE ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ Close to the centre of the country, and just down the road from the spectacular red Mir Castle, Nesvizh Palace is Belarus’ most beautiful site. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ The moats, river and gardens around this complex are a haven for families and super romantic too. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ It was built and owned by one family, the Radziwiłł’s, from the early 1500s until the Red Army confiscated it in 1939 and turned it in to a sanatorium. It’s now a @UNESCO World Heritage Site. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ If you’re taking advantage of the new Belarus VISA-on-arrival at Minsk airport, it’s an easy day trip, an 1.40m drive. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ With @renaissanceminskhotel ————————————————————— #Niasviž #Nesvizh #unesco #unescoworldheritage #Belarus #Беларусь #беларусь🇧🇾 #Białoruś #grodno #Hrodna #Гродна #BBCTravel #stayandwander #cnntravel #theguardian #lonelyplanet #lensbible #voyaged #passionpassport #travellingthroughtheworld #welltraveled #beautifuldestinations #paradise

Публикация от Robert Michael Poole • Travel (@robertmichaelpoole)

 

 

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A MONUMENT TO COURAGE ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ This enormous sculpture, one of the most impressive in the world, depicts the face of a Red Army soldier at what is now the ruins of Brest Fortress. It is simply called “Courage.” ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ Perhaps little known in the west, Brest was the first to be attacked during Operation Barbarossa, faced with the largest invasion force in the history of war. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ On June 22, 1941 three million Nazi Germany army personnel, 600,000 vehicles, and between 600,000 and 700,000 horses invaded the western Soviet Union along a 2,900-kilometer (1,800 mi) front. The German armies would capture some 5,000,000 Red Army troops during the war, a majority of whom never returned alive. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ The defenders in Brest, surrounded, outnumbered and with no prospect of relief, held up the German advance for several days. In recognition of this action, Brest earned the title “hero fortress.” ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ The memorial complex now here is a national place of grief and pride. In the end of course, the Red Army reassembled and pushed back all the way to Berlin, ending WW2 in Europe. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ At the monument are dedications to all the hero cities, of Moscow, St Petersburg, Volgograd, Kiev, Minsk, Odessa, Sevastopol, Novorossiysk, Kerch, Tula, Murmansk and Smolensk. 📷 @elmiraemma ————————————————————— #Brestfortress #fortress #Brest #unesco #unescoworldheritage #Belarus #Беларусь #беларусь🇧🇾 #Białoruś #grodno #Hrodna #Гродна #BBCTravel #stayandwander #cnntravel #theguardian #lonelyplanet #lensbible #voyaged #passionpassport #travellingthroughtheworld #welltraveled #beautifuldestinations #paradise #minsktut

Публикация от Robert Michael Poole • Travel (@robertmichaelpoole)

 

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GIRL IN EMBROIDERED SHIRT ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ We arrived in Minsk to find street art taken to a whole new level. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ We made a map and spent a fun day exploring the city hunting for these, and this is my favourite “Girl in Embroidered Shirt.” ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ @GuidovanHelten, the artist behind it, prefers to call his art work realism murals, and this one can be found on Rabkorauskaya Street, created as part of a project called Urban Myths. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ Minsk is actually home to the largest mural in the world created by a single artist, covering more than 3000 square meters… but more on that in a future post! By @renaissanceminskhotel ————————————————————— #Minsk #Минск #Belarus #Беларусь #беларусь🇧🇾 #Białoruś #grodno #Hrodna #Гродна #BBCTravel #stayandwander #cnntravel #theguardian #lonelyplanet #lensbible #voyaged #passionpassport #travellingthroughtheworld #welltraveled #beautifuldestinations #paradise #minsktut #tutbylive

Публикация от Robert Michael Poole • Travel (@robertmichaelpoole)

 

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KING OF THE CASTLE ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ If you’re looking for a fairytale European castle then look no further than Belarus! ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ @unesco describes Mir Castle as “an exceptional example of a central European castle, reflecting in its design and layout successive cultural influences (Gothic, Baroque, and Renaissance) that blend harmoniously to create an impressive monument to the history of this region” ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ Thanks to @elmiraemma for planning our trip here, and finding these gems ❤️ so glad we got a car and explored all around! ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ Mir is actually listed in @Telegraph ’s “21 amazing World Heritage Sites you’ve probably never heard of” 🙌🏻 ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ With @renaissancehotelminsk ————————————————————— #Minsk #Минск #Minsk #Минск#Belarus #Беларусь #беларусь🇧🇾 #Białoruś #grodno #Hrodna #Гродна #BBCTravel #stayandwander #cnntravel #theguardian #lonelyplanet #lensbible #voyaged #passionpassport #travellingthroughtheworld #welltraveled #beautifuldestinations #paradise #minsktut #tutbylive

Публикация от Robert Michael Poole • Travel (@robertmichaelpoole)

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