Minsk has many faces. Gingerbread houses and cobblestone paving in the Trinity suburb take you back to the XIX century. The Soviet-era waves at you through the occasional grim-faced granny at the balcony of Stalinist buildings at Independence Avenue. The electronic characters invite you into the future with the best coffee, clothes, and cars from huge screens on the office buildings and shopping malls. But where can you find a contemporary face? To catch a temporary glimpse in its shift from the past to the future, you should visit the creative hub at the former TV-set factory in Minsk.
How a factory turned into a creative hub
In 1939, the Soviet army captured Vilnius, nationalized radio-factories and sent the equipment to Minsk to establish their own factory. After WWII, the management team continued producing radios but achieved more significant success with the TV-sets. “Horizont” was the first company in USSR to provide colorful TV-sets. In 2010, the government obliged "Horizont" to move production outside the city, leaving most of the buildings abandoned. The company has been looking for a strategic investor, but, fortunately for young entrepreneurs, to no effect. One by one, they ventured into starting up their dream-businesses in "to-be-demolished" buildings. Together, they’ve turned a factory into a perfect place for dancing salsa, solving quests, designing clothes, and enjoying street food.
Culture Center Korpus aka Korpus 8
Diego Didablio painted outer walls during the “Vulica Brazil” street-art festival. He called his colorful art-work “Amana“, which means rain in the language of the Brazilian Tupi tribe. The inner yard and the main hall are perfect for a relaxed brunch or a casual drink in the evening. On weekends, Corpus hosts fashion markets, vegan festivals, art exhibitions, etc. Check souvenirs and exotic flowers in the shops on the ground floor. Curiously, the toilet is a piece of art too. You can also buy clothes in the "Kalilaska" charity shop and a couple of designers' showrooms on the first floor. A useful tip: walk across the street to “Symbal” shop for souvenirs and clothes with traditional Belarusian ornaments.
Creative Center Korpus, Minsk, BelarusAve. Masherova 9/8, Minsk 220089, Belarus
Endless dark halls on all 4 floors host more than 100 businesses. That scares off a possible random visitor, so most of the residents advertise their services on the web. Check the shield at the main entrance for navigation. The ground floor offers Quest-rooms, also in English, and a game-room with VR, aero-hockey and 50 board-games. Upper floors are used by dance groups, designer ateliers, and photo studios.
Korpus 6, Minsk, Belarusst. Kuybysheva 22, Minsk, Belarus
Sandbox (summertime only)
An open-air food court is open from May to mid-September. Around 30 trailers offer different types of street food from tacos to donuts. After satisfying the munchies, take an alcoholic ice cream or a craft beer from the “beer cap” and chill at the DIY-swings. If it’s raining, you can sit and watch a movie under a vast shed. Skate-boarding contests, lectures, and music gigs add up to general entertainment on the weekends.
“Gastrodvor” means “gastronomic yard” and it’s a food court designed in the “Sandbox” style. It satisfies the street-food lovers all year round, and during the colder months when the "Sandbox" is closed. Half a dozen counters inside offer burgers, sushi, and coffee. “Banki Butylki” from Zybitskaya Street offers their signature “shschavel” shots and other cocktails in their filial here. When the “Sandbox” is open, you can get there through the Gastrodvor.
"Gastrodvor" food court, Minsk, Belarusst. Kuybysheva 45, Minsk, Belarus
Getting to Korpus 8 from "Ploshad Pobedy" metro station won’t take you more than 10 minutes. If it’s raining, ride a tram for 2 stops till you reach "Kuibysheva" tram stop. From there, you can reach any of the buildings in the creative hub at the former TV-set factory in Minsk. Visit it to discover the Belarusian capital's modern look.
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