My grandma and her friends used to have a peculiar hobby. While binge-watching Russian soap-operas and detective series, they would bend a finger to count each time, when they had seen a familiar place. Russian movie-makers often use Gorky, Loshitskiy and Chelyuskintsev parks for contemporary scenes. The Stalinist architecture of Nezavisimosti Avenue serves best to depict Soviet times. If I would like to beat my granny in finger-bending game, I would watch a series about earlier times. The Trinity Suburb - the "oldest" district in Minsk is used for all the XIX century shootings.
Fake it until you make it
I've seen around 10 shootings happening in the Trinity Suburb each time when I was showing it to my foreign guests. Its tidiness and coziness do look good, maybe even too good, especially for a city that was almost destroyed during the war. I heard something was wrong about it, but blamed the restorators for hiding the original beautiful buildings behind a thick layer of plaster. In 2013, Minsk lifestyle magazine "City dog" published two articles with results of their investigation about the Trinity Suburb. They revealed upsetting facts that were forgotten by the older generation and that were never known by many millennials like my friends and me.
The Trinity Suburb stretched from the Svislotch River till contemporary Kiseleva Street with the Alivaria Brewery. Marketplace on the Trinity Hill, replaced by the Opera House, marked suburb’s center. For centuries, it was a district where the middle class and poor people would live, work, trade, and go to churches and synagogues. War turned worn-out houses into ruins, giving renovators a chance to practice before restoring more significant Upper Town. They wanted to “add up aesthetics to the value layers” and turned a piece of the former Trinity Suburb into theatrical “gingerbread houses”, perfect for movies and tourists. Time works wonders. Despite mixed feelings of hate and love, I still like walking through the Trinity Suburb and showing tourists the main places of interest.
What to visit in the Trinity Suburb
Only 40% of the contemporary Trinity Suburb is used for housing. The rest is used by literature museums, galleries, pawn-shops (another kind of gallery), and restaurants. Museums only provide information in Russian, so it makes sense to visit them if you have an English-speaking guide with you.
In any touristic place in Belarus, you can find a restaurant with Belarusian cuisine. “Staryi Gorod” ( Old Town) serves potato pancakes called “draniki” – the most typical Belarusian dish - in 8 different varieties, including the plate-size “Tsar” (king). Local microbrewery provides them with 5 sorts of beers. There are two things to keep in mind before going there: bring cash and order only Belarusian cuisine. “Starovilenskaya Korchma” is designed like a XIX century tavern and offers a wide variety of traditional Belarusian dishes and house-made tinctures. Some companies book a DJ or live music to celebrate their significant dates, so you might end up dancing in a circle of random grannies at the end of the evening.
Where to stay: the Trinity Hostel
The Trinity Suburb was named after the Trinity Church that didn’t make it till modern days. Ksenia Kurus loved the Trinity Suburb so much that she turned one of the XIX century buildings in the heart of the district into the Trinity Hostel. Main Minsk attractions like the Island of tears, Holy Spirit Cathedral, the bar-street Zybitskaya, Alivaria Brewery Museum, and Gorky Park are within walking distance. Additionally, it’s just 5 minutes away from Nemiga Metro Station. Book in advance to secure your stay in the Trinity Suburb- the “oldest” district of Minsk.
Trinity Hostel, Minskst. Starovilenskaya 12, Minsk, Belarus
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