The only thing I’m missing at home is a quiet nature spot near my house. So, when I don’t have a whole day for the Minsk Sea and don’t want to cope with the kids and rollercoasters in Gorky Park and Chelyuskintsev Park, I go to the most distant and peaceful park in Minsk. Here is a simple guide to Loshitskiy Park: the best place for picnics and walks.
Historians assume that during the X-XV centuries, Loshitsa town was growing and got divided into 3 different settlements all over the territory of contemporary Loshitsa District in Minsk. There are no written historical resources to define the name, so several legends are competing for a better explanation. One connects it to “losh” – a name used at those days for salmon, which was dense in the local river. Other stories connect it to the horse or “loshad” in Belarusian, which saved a legendary Duke Usyaslay Charadzei by galloping away from his overtaking enemies. His descendants owned “Loshitsa” and “Old Loshitsa” courts, officially mentioned for the first time in 1557.
For centuries, Loshitsa kept being an ordinary household, until Stanislav Prushinskiy laid the foundation for a park and a linden alley in the middle of it. His nephew, Evstafiy Lyubanski, inherited the territory and turned it into a beautiful estate with the modern two-story manor, a distillery, a tavern, and a mill. In the USSR times, the State Political Directorate or, merely saying, the Soviet secret police, established their headquarters here. During WWII, they were replaced by the offices of Gestapo, a Nazi secret police. After the war, the park was used for farming, until it was declared a historical, cultural and architectural memorial in 1988. Nowadays, it’s a park for walks, picnics, and festivals.
The park is 1 square kilometer wide, equal to 150 football fields. If you’re coming from the city center, it’s easier to get in at either of the 2 entrances at Mayakovskaya Street, from the western side. Get on the buses 102,123 or 124 across the street from the main train station and hop off at “Kamvolny Kambinat” station for the north-west corner entrance or “Chervenskiy Rynak” for mid-west entrance. Although Chervenskiy Rynak is a market for clothes and building equipment, there are several stands with fruits, veggies, and sweets for your picnic.
Ten thousand years ago, during the last Ice Age, a glacier stopped at the territory of Loshitsa, resulting in a present mixture of 32 different types of soils, more than 400 biological species, and picturesque landscapes. There is an apple tree garden, a cherry tree alley, a linden tree alley, and the only Manchzhurian apricot in Belarus. Evstafiy Lyubanskiy planted the latter to commemorate his wife, who drowned after a romantic heartbreak with her lover. A legend says that her ghost appears near the tree when the apricot blossoms as a sign of good fortune and blessings for couples. The tree is located near the count’s manor in the southern part of the park.
The manor serves as a museum of Lyubanskiy – a wealthy XIX century family. It’s open for public from 11:00 to 18:00, every day except Mondays. If you follow the road along the river, you will see a WWII memorial, an amphitheater, and the ruins of a mill. Take some pictures at the sightseeing spots with a great view of the Svislotch River and Serebryanka District. Several gazebos on the way will be the perfect spots for a picnic and occasional stops.
Two kilometers of the Minsk bicycle route go through the park – coming there with a bicycle is a great idea. If you don’t have your bike, you can rent one (or an electronic kick-scooter as an alternative) in the city, using the apps like "Kolobike" or "Eleven". You can also rent a bicycle for 4 BYN per hour at “Velotrek” rental station in the north of the park. In winter, it's possible to rent skiing equipment at the same place. In the summertime, every morning on the weekends, you can join free yoga and tai-chi classes in the eastern part of the park.
Please, keep in mind that, besides the parks of Gorky and Chelyuskintsev, Lohistskiy Park is also a smoking-free area. Drinking is only allowed at the bars and restaurants. The police is patrolling the park quite often, keeping the place peaceful and safe. If you want to have a relaxing day in nature – grab your friends, bbq, sports equipment, and follow this guide to Loshitskiy Park, the best place for picnics and walks in Minsk.
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