When I asked my friend from Molodechno about sightseeing in her hometown she called it a bad idea. Common thought: there is nothing to do in authentic Belarusian small towns. To prove her point, I took a day trip from Minsk to Molodechno. My conclusion: it is a great place to visit when you feel absent-minded and just want to relax and walk around, without doing too much. There is no possibility for fear of missing out on anything, because there is nothing too important to miss. At the same time, Molodechno's broad streets, clean parks, and cozy backyards are giving a perfect impression of life in small Belarusian towns. Locals proclaim “Molodechno – zhivyot vechno!” or "Molodechno lives forever. Let's find out why.
Molodechno is neat and quiet. It is actually so quiet that every 10 minutes, you stumble upon a local with a Bluetooth speaker. Walking down the main pedestrian street – so-called “Boulevard” – feels like tuning radio stations. Molodechno is 10 times smaller than Minsk, and all of the tourist attraction points are within walking distance from the railway and bus stations. Getting out of Minsk to here by train costs 2BYN and is possible every two hours. Route buses from “Druzhnaya” (backside of the railway station) cost two times more but depart every 20 minutes. Both rides take about 1.5 hours.
The first thing you see upon reaching Molodechno is a century-old pre-revolutionary train station building. This “Art Nouveau” style architectural work is often pictured together with the “Passenger” statue. Railmen call her Lucie. Pass a small garden and cross the road to get to the pedestrian street Pritytskogo. If you are hungry, check out the "Mezzanine" cafe.
Soon, you will reach 3 sightseeing points at a single spot. St. Josef Church on the right side was the first catholic church to be built after USSR broke down. It looks like a love child of the classic Catholic church and the Soviet administrative building. Avoid using the 4-sided clock in the middle of the "Boulevard": it is rumored to show different times. Minsk Regional Local History Museum behind the Rodina Cinema has annotations only in Belarusian. But, if you are into archaeological artifacts, its collection is worth seeing.
Walk to the central square for a statue photo-hunt. The first victim is Lenin by Belarusian artist Zair Azgur. If you want to see more Lenin statues by his hand, including man-size Lenin’s bust, visit Zair Azgur Museum in Minsk. The next shot is for the kinky looking couple in the fountain by Zhbanov. “Fern-flower” statue spells out the true meaning of the Kupalle holiday ritual when youngsters from different villages venture to the forest during the night, in search of “mystical flower”. Pass the Molodechno Hotel from the right to see more statues in the small “Stone Melody” public garden.
After you try out the green piano at the main entrance of“Palace of Culture”, cross the road to the Victory Park. Belarusian “upgrade my town” magic before the annual “Dazhinki” harvesting festival concentrated its spells on the park in 2014. It still looks amazing, although the Nordic minimalism style scene is used on rare occasions. Walk around, take a ride on a boat, observe passersby observing you. Chill. For a little detour, leave the park through the arc in the east to the Gelenovo district. Between WWI and WWII, Molodechno belonged to Poland. Polish troops stayed in the purpose-built Gelenovo garrison. At the end of Markava Street, behind the “Batleyka” puppet theater, you will find an obelisk for the mass burial ground of 385 soldiers. They died liberating Molodechno in 1944.
Go up the hill and to the right behind the scene in the Victory Park, cross the road and pass the school to reach local street food mecca. Sabroso Latinoburgers had so many visitors from the capital that Venezuelan owner opened 2 additional spots in Minsk. Another highly rated food is Pingvin #2 pizzeria. Hot-dogs, sushi, shawarma, pancakes, and waffles are there if you want something different. Quench your thirst with tap beer or refill your batteries with coffee.
After you’re done eating, take a bus number 4, 20, or 22 at the bus stop “Ulitsa Franciska Skaryny”. Buy the 1 BYN (0,5 $/€) ticket from the driver. It will take you around 12 minutes to pass 6 stations till the “Ploshad Staroe Mesto”. This square is a historical city center. Visit one of the oldest buildings in Molodechno; the Pokrovksya Church was erected in 1871. Walk a bit to the north to commemorate the most tragic part of the town's history. Doors to Shtalag-342 Concentration Camp Memorial are rarely open, leaving you to grieve over 33000 victims on the other side of the fence.
Take your time and slowly walk to the train station. By the end of the tour, I'm still not sure, why "Molodechno lives forever". The secret may be in the tap water: unlike in any other Belarusian authentic small town, it is drinkable! Locals are very proud of it. Try it on your day trip from Minsk to Molodechno. Acquiring eternal life can not be more simple! And, don't forget to sing along!
Live it yourself as a memorable local experience!Discover the Live Stories
Like this story?
Get more! Subscribe to our monthly inspiration newsletter.