Baranavičy, Belarus

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.

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.



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 front Stalinist 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.

1  Lenin Square. On the central square of the city, you will see an exemplary ensemble of post-war Soviet architecture, consisting of a house with a spire, the concrete building of the Horizon Hotel, the Oktyabr cinema, which is not devoid of originality, and the quaint Stone Flower fountain. Other examples of such monumental art are found on the Heinola pedestrian boulevard leading to the Church of the Myrrhbearing Women.
2 Church of the Myrrh-bearing Women, blvd. Heinola, 2 (center). Not the most interesting, but a very large example of a modern Belarusian church built in the early 2000s. It is located in the very center of the city, and the domes of the church are always in sight - they look out beautifully from behind the buildings of the Soviet era.
3  Pokrovsky Cathedral , st. Kuibyshev (along Komsomolskaya street towards the central station). Before the revolution, there were no stone churches in Baranovichi. In 1921, a wooden Orthodox cathedral burned down, and a decision was made to build a stone one. The development of his project was influenced by the news that in Warsaw they would demolish the huge, built shortly before the revolution and also Orthodox Alexander Nevsky Cathedral. The temple in Baranovichi began to be built in such a way as to accommodate the property of the Warsaw Cathedral. This was only partially successful, since the Polish authorities cared little about the preservation of the relics, but they still managed to transport something to Baranovichi. The Intercession Cathedral was built from 1924 to 1931, and this is a neoclassical temple, rare for Belarus (and even more so for its Polish period), on which the influence of modernism and functionalism that prevailed at that time was not reflected at all. The mosaics of the Warsaw Cathedral were collected in Baranovichi literally bit by bit, some of them still lie in the basements and are unlikely to be restored. Although the mosaics are often called "Vasnetsov's", in reality Vasnetsov is the author of only one of them - the fragment of the Virgin and Child placed in the apse, part of a larger (and, apparently, no longer recoverable) composition. Several more mosaics by Nikolai Koshelev and Nikolai Bruni were installed in the niches of the outer walls. Pay attention to the mosaic “Christ with a Donor”, where, according to the official version, Saint Alexander Nevsky is depicted, although they say that Leonty Benois, the architect of the destroyed Warsaw Cathedral, is shown in his image.
4 Holy Cross Church, st. Kuibysheva, 34 (along Komsomolskaya street towards the central station). The wooden church built in 1924 is one of the most interesting monuments of the Polish time on the territory of Belarus. Despite its modest size, the church organically combines the features of different architectural styles, and the huge eye above the porch looks completely mystical.
The buildings in the center of Baranovichi are mostly Soviet and unremarkable, only the pre-war bank building of 1927-29 stands out in it. (street Sovetskaya, 77), which is next to the Church of the Myrrh-bearing Women. Another couple of nice samples of pre-war buildings are located next to the Polessky railway station: this is a pharmacy building (Telmana street, 15) and an old fire station (Telmana street, 21): both were built in the 1930s. In the same area, opposite the railway museum, there is the oldest house in Baranovichi - a nice two-story brick mansion in the Art Nouveau style (50 Frolenkova Street).

Church of St. Sigmund, st. Enthusiasts / st. Sergeant (in the eastern part of the city). Built in 1996-2000 the temple is an infrequent example of avant-garde architecture in Belarus, most of all reminiscent of Polish churches of the second half of the 20th century.
Church of Alexander Nevsky, st. Telman, 108 (in the eastern part of the city). Consecrated in 1998, the Orthodox church was built on the site of a wooden church destroyed after the war. This is another modern variation on the theme of Russian style - bolder, but less elegant than the Church of the Myrrh-bearing Women in the city center.
Catholic church of Our Lady of Fatima, Sovetsky pr. 16 (in the northern part of the city). The least interesting of the modern Baranovichi temples (1998) greets guests entering the city from the M1 highway.



The name Baranovichi was formed from the "collective nickname", that is, the designation of the first settlers. So they could call the descendants of a certain person by name or nickname Baran. The secular (non-canonical) name Baran was very common until the 15th-16th centuries.



The coat of arms and the Flag were approved by the decision of the Baranovichi City Council of Deputies on November 30, 2012 No. 144.


How to get there

By train
Almost all trains running in the west of Belarus pass through Baranovichi. In the direction of Minsk and Brest, fast long-distance and slow suburban trains. You can also go to Minsk by a comfortable regional business class train. In the direction of Minsk, departures are every hour, on the way 1.5-2 hours. In the direction of Brest a little less often, on the way 2.5-3 hours.

By daytime train you can go to Grodno (4.5-5 hours), Lida (2.5 hours, only suburban, 4 times a day) or to the south - to the Luninets station, through which the Brest-Gomel highway passes. Long-distance trains or trailer cars to them will take you to any of the remaining Belarusian regional centers - Vitebsk, Mogilev or Gomel - and more during the day than at night.

There are two stations in Baranovichi, the main one of which, contrary to common sense, is not the Central one, which is on the line to Brest, but Polessky, located on the side of this line. Long-distance trains traveling from Minsk to Brest stop only at the Central Station, but almost all suburban trains and those long-distance ones that turn north or south in Baranovichi pass through Polessky. The stations are far from each other and are connected by the only city bus route 23, so check which station your train arrives at.

1 Polesskiy railway station (Baranovichi-Polesskiye). The luxurious post-war station is somewhat spoiled by mirrored ceilings, which for some reason replaced beautiful stucco ceilings. Other than that, the recent renovations have benefited the building. Inside, you will find automatic lockers and a buffet in the form of a pastry counter. Near the station, the Express cafe is apparently the only place where you can eat a little more thoroughly than in the buffet (although it’s not a fact that it’s more edible). There are rest rooms.
2 Central Station (Baranovichi-Central). A small building that would be more suited to a tiny station in some obscure village.

By bus
In the direction of Minsk and Brest, the bus service loses to trains, and other intercity buses do not even call in Baranovichi. In the direction of Slonim and Grodno, it is also more convenient to travel by train. Buses run several times a day to Novogrudok (1.5 h) and Nesvizh (1 h 45 min), where there is no railway.

3  Bus station. 4:40–21:20. It is located in the middle of the market near the Polessky railway station. There are always a lot of people inside, there are Soviet-style automatic lockers (7:00–18:00) and a buffet that looks more like a shop.



There are 31 city bus routes in Baranavichy, and you will need these buses, since it takes almost half an hour to walk from the center to any of the stations, and the walk does not bring much pleasure. Almost any bus following Lenina Street will take you to the Polessky railway station and vice versa. There is less transport to the Central Station, and the easiest way is to drive along Komsomolskaya Street (the continuation of Lenin Street) to the west, and then walk another 5 minutes on foot.

Routes and timetables. Payment for travel by vouchers (40 Belarusian kopecks), which are sold at newsstands or from the driver.



In the second half of the 17th century, a Jesuit mission was located in Baranovichi. In the second half of the 18th century, Baranovichi was the property of the Mosalskys and Neselovskys, and in the 19th century it belonged to Countess E. A. Rozvadovskaya.

One of the earliest mentions of the village of Baranovichi on geographical maps dates back to 1812. It is marked on a military map compiled by cartographers from Napoleon's army.

The history of the city dates back to November 17 (29), 1871, when traffic began on the newly built section of the Smolensk-Brest-Litovsk railway. The name of the station, which arose during construction, was given by the nearby village of Baranovichi, the first mention of which is found in the will of A. E. Sinyavskaya in 1627. Then, in 1871, not far from the station, its own locomotive depot appeared.

1874 - the appearance of the railway junction. The wooden building of the station, station buildings, a few houses in which railroad workers lived - such were then Baranovichi. The new railway made it possible to connect Moscow with the western outskirts of the country.

The impetus for more intensive settlement of the area adjacent to the station from the south was an event in May 1884 - the Minsk provincial government decided to establish a place on the landowners' lands of Rozvadov, which was called Rozvadovo. The construction of the town was carried out according to the plan approved by the Minsk governor on May 27, 1884. The village had 120 houses and 1,500 people.

According to the plans approved by Emperor Alexander III, it was assumed that another railway would pass here - Vilna - Luninets - Pinsk - Rovno. Therefore, at the same time, two and a half kilometers from the station, the Moscow-Brest line of the railway was crossed by the rails of the Vilna-Rovno direction of the Polesye railways. At the railway crossroads, another station of the Baranovichi - Polessye Railways appeared, which became the second center for the formation of the future city.

As in the first case, workers and merchants settled in the area of the station. A new settlement arose, which, in contrast to Rozvadovo, which became Old Baranovichi in unofficial terms, was called New Baranovichi. It developed on the lands belonging to the peasants of a number of villages located not far from the new station (Svetilovichi, Girovo, Uznogi). More convenient than on the landowner's lands, lease conditions, the proximity of administrative institutions contributed to the rapid growth of this settlement.

With the commissioning of the Baranovichi-Volkovysk-Bialystok line in 1886, Baranovichi turned into a major railway junction. Rozvadovo (unofficial name "Old Baranovichi") and New Baranovichi were merged into a place with the common name Baranovichi.

On October 6, 1888, petty-bourgeois administration was introduced in the town of Rozvadovo.

Gradually, Baranovichi became a major railway junction connected with the most important economic centers of the country - central and southwestern Russia, Poland, and the Baltic states. This contributed to the fact that the developing settlement attracted the attention of the military department. In the area of the Baranovichi station of the Polesye railways, barns, a mill and a rusk factory of the Vilna commissariat were built, and several battalions of an infantry regiment were deployed. These undertakings of the military department, as well as the further development of railway stations, required more and more manpower.

When Old (the town of Rozvadovo) and New Baranovichi merged, forming a single town under the general name of Baranovichi-Rozvadovo, it was a kind of administrative whole: the town, which had a petty-bourgeois administration, was part of the Novomyshskaya volost, and New Baranovichi were partly part of Novomyshskaya, Stolovichskaya , Yastrembelsky and Darevsky volosts of the Novogrudok district of the Minsk province.

In 1894, Baranovichi was part of the Novogrudok district of the Minsk province. In Baranovichi, the population grew rapidly, industry, crafts, and trade developed. According to the 1897 census, 8718 people lived in Baranovichi, there were 834 buildings in the city, 4 industrial enterprises were operating, there were two-class schools - a railway and a voluntary society.

The new settlement had a rather significant size, but it was extremely uncomfortable. As a non-urban settlement, Baranovichi was not subject to almost any norms, either in sanitary, building or fire-fighting terms. In the settlement of Baranovichi there were no streets at all: the houses were built without any plan, without observing the distances between the buildings, there was no lighting not only in the settlement, but also in the town; not only were there no sidewalks, but not even a single paved street or even squares; there was not even a fire truck. For twelve thousand people there was not a single parish church, not a single general education school, not a single hospital. This is how Baranovichi was characterized in 1903 in the conclusion of the commission created by the Minsk governor on the case of the introduction of the city status in Rozvadovo and the settlements adjacent to it.

This attempt to transfer the settlement to the category of cities ended unsuccessfully. But this did not stop the rapid development of Baranovichi. More and more small enterprises appeared, the number of workers grew. They, like all the working people of tsarist Russia, suffered from a difficult economic situation, political lack of rights, and national oppression. The land in Baranovichi was expensive, the prices for food, kerosene, matches and other essential goods were very high. The participation of the workers in the revolution of 1905-1907, which engulfed the whole country after Bloody Sunday on January 9, 1905, was active. During the first Russian revolution of 1905-1907 in Baranovichi, in December 1905, a major strike of railway workers took place.

Also during the first Russian revolution in 1905, demonstrations of workers and soldiers took place in Baranovichi. A week and a half before the end of 1905, 300 railway workers, led by an engineer-SR and supported by soldiers of the railway brigade, refused to obey the orders of the leadership, disabled the switch, and stopped train traffic on this section of the railway. To suppress the performance, three days later troops arrived from Vilna, and a day later a punitive expedition of General Orlov arrived. Martial law was introduced in the city, mass arrests took place.

During the first decade of the 20th century, Baranovichi became the largest town in the Novogrudok district with a population of 30 thousand people, four churches, a Roman Catholic chapel, ten prayer houses, seven elementary schools, two pharmacies, a theater and a cinema "Eden". 13 doctors, 6 dentists, 8 midwives and a veterinarian practiced here. Before the First World War, 3 brick, 2 sawmills, an oil mill, an iron foundry, a sugar mill, 2 mills and 3 millstone factories worked in Baranovichi.

With the outbreak of the First World War, large forces of the Russian Imperial Army were stationed in Baranovichi. From August 3, 1914 to August 8, 1915, the Headquarters of the Supreme Commander-in-Chief, Grand Duke Nikolai Nikolayevich was located in the city (in the area where the railway brigade was located not far from the Baranovichi-Polessky station). where Emperor Nicholas II visited 10 times. The headquarters consisted of two trains and the former brigade commander's house, based approximately at the site of the current stadium of the Baranovichi State University.

Baranovichi became the first city in the Russian Empire, where a monument to the heroes of the First World War was erected on June 8, 1915 (it was demolished in the 1950s).

During the retreat of 1915 in September it was occupied by German troops.

In July 1916, the offensive of the Russian army took place in the suburbs of Baranovichi. However, despite the mass heroism shown by the Russian army and a small tactical success, the offensive ended in vain.

On January 5, 1919, Soviet power was established in Baranovichi. On February 6, 1919, Baranovichi was declared a city and the center of the county of the Minsk province of the BSSR. In 1921, according to the Riga Peace Treaty, the city was ceded to Poland and until 1939 it was part of it with the status of the center of the county (povet) of Novogrudok Voivodeship.

During these years, a new Orthodox church was being built in Baranovichi in honor of the Intercession of the Most Holy Theotokos. Under the leadership of N. Bruni, who participated in the painting of the Warsaw Cathedral, some mosaic paintings from Warsaw were fixed on the walls of the temple in Baranovichi. Among them was a part of the mosaic by N. A. Koshelev “The Savior with the Builder” (“The Savior with the Donor”), representing L. N. Benois holding a model of the cathedral, as well as a small fragment of the composition by V. M. Vasnetsov “Rejoices in You ... ". In 1953, due to the fact that mosaics were installed in the cathedral, it was declared an architectural monument and taken under state protection).

In 1939, there were 27.4 thousand inhabitants in Baranovichi. Since September 1939, as a result of agreements between the USSR and Germany on the actual partition of Poland, and the subsequent offensive of the Red Army into Poland, the city of Baranovichi became part of the BSSR and on December 4, 1939 became the regional center.

Before the start of the Great Patriotic War, unemployment was eliminated in the city and the region, schools with instruction in Belarusian, Russian, Polish and Yiddish were opened. There was a drama theater, a teacher's institute, the newspaper "Chyrvonaya Zvyazda" ("Red Star") was published, and radio communication developed. At the same time, the population learned previously unknown features of the Soviet system: purges and arrests began. At the initiative of the NKVD, mass deportations of "unreliable" citizens were organized, primarily to Kazakhstan and Siberia.


During the Great Patriotic War

On June 27, 1941, during the Great Patriotic War, the city was occupied by German troops. More than 50,000 prisoners of war and civilians were shot and tortured to death in prisoner of war camp No. 337 near the Lesnaya railway station, not far from the city.

The Germans created the Baranovichi ghetto in the city, where about 30,000 Jews from the city and its environs were herded. The population of the ghetto was massacred in 1942 as part of the so-called "Final Solution to the Jewish Question". Not far from the Baranovichi-Polessky station in 1942, the Nazis shot down a train with Czechoslovak Jews en route to Auschwitz. The burgomasters of the city were Viktor Voitenko (1941-1943) and Yuriy Sobolevsky (1943-1944).

The underground and the district anti-fascist organization operated in the city. During the Great Patriotic War, Baranovichi was heavily destroyed. The city was liberated on July 8, 1944 as a result of the offensive of the troops of the 1st Belorussian Front and the partisans of the Baranovichi and Minsk formations in the Baranovichi-Slonim direction (Operation Bagration). This date is celebrated as City Liberation Day.


Post-war period

According to the results of the first post-war decade, the pre-war level of development was completely restored in the city, about 40 industrial enterprises, artels and workshops were operating. Among them are the Krasny Metallist artel (nowadays a machine-tool accessories plant), an engine repair plant (now an auto-aggregate plant), the Kommunarka artel (a former knitwear factory), the Voskhod artel (a factory of art products), which today are one of the largest enterprises in the city.

On January 8, 1954, the Baranovichi region was liquidated, and its territory was included in the Brest region. Since May 1954, the city of Baranovichi has become the center of the Novomysh region, and since April 1957 - the Baranovichi region.

On March 14, 1962, the village of Zhlobin, Kolpenitsky village council, Baranovichi district, Brest region, was included in the city limits of the city of Baranovichi.

In honor of the 20th anniversary of the liberation of the city of Baranovichi from German occupation in the summer of 1964, the Eternal Flame was lit and a monument to the Liberation was unveiled.

In 1970, there were 102 thousand inhabitants in Baranovichi, in 2011 - 175 thousand inhabitants.


As part of the Republic of Belarus

In 2012, the city included 11 settlements (Anisimovichi, Borovtsy, Zvezdnaya, Uznogi, part of the agricultural town of Rusino and parts of the villages of Antonovo, Girovo, Dubovo, Bolshaya Kolpenitsa, Malaya Kolpenitsa, Priozernaya, Yanovo), previously belonging to the territory of the Baranovichi district.

In 2016, the city of Baranovichi was awarded the status of "Youth Capital of Belarus-2016". Baranovichi became the first city in which the implementation of the Youth Capital project began.

On May 17, 2019, Baranovichi took over the torch relay of the II European Games.