Baranavičy

 

Baranovichi is an industrial city and a large railway junction halfway between Minsk and Brest. Its history began with the construction of a railway, so the city can hardly be called historical, but, oddly enough, there are several not quite trivial sights in it: a wooden Polish church, a railway museum, as well as curious temples of the first and second half of the 20th century.

Baranovichi arose in 1871 in connection with the construction of the Smolensk-Brest railway. The name was given to the village that existed on this site at least from the 17th century. Although from a modern point of view, the name seems sarcastic, at that time there was nothing special in it: if there is Bobruisk, there must be Baranovichi. Soon, new railways appeared: a branch to Bialystok and a main line Vilnius-Rivne, crossing the Brest line in Baranovichi. From that moment on, Baranovichi turned into the largest railway junction in the west of Belarus.

The settlement around the station rapidly increased in size and already in 1894 received city status as part of the Novogrudok district. After the revolution, the city passed to Poland, where it was part of the Novogrudok Voivodeship. Since the fall of 1939, Baranovichi was part of the Byelorussian SSR. At that moment, a "castling" took place: Baranovichi became the regional center, and Novogrudok became the regional center, now the Baranovichi region, which, in general, fully reflected the actual state of affairs. Nevertheless, the Baranovichi did not have to enjoy the status of the regional center for long: in 1954, the region was abolished, dividing it between Grodno and Brest, and Baranovichi themselves ended up in the latter.

Now Baranovichi is a large city by Belarusian standards, which, at first glance, is completely uninteresting, but for an attentive traveler it will still be more curious than their railway counterparts Molodechno and Orsha. There is a good railway museum in Baranovichi and there are several monuments from Polish times. In addition, the city is almost impossible to drive past, so if you are traveling in western Belarus, it is worth spending a few hours exploring it.

Orientation
The center of Baranovichi is Lenin Square, located approximately in the middle between the Central and Polessky railway stations. Around the square are quarters of Stalinist grand buildings, and the rest of the city is a mixture of panel houses and the private sector. Huge industrial zones adjoin the railways, so Baranovichi looks the least attractive from the train window.