Molodechno. At The Crossroads Of Epochs

Address: Molodechno, Minsk Region
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The history of Molodechno is an essential part of the Belarusian history. It is proud of the well-known people who contributed to the national and world history and culture. Molodechno was first mentioned in a document on obedience to Grand Duke of Lithuania Yagailo that was signed by Duke of Novgorod-Seversk Dmitry Olgerdovich in the Molodechno castle on December 16, 1388. The name of the town originates from a small river Molodochanka. A castle in which the aforesaid document was signed was built at the place where the river flew into the then deep river Usha.

During the pre-war era Molodechno was mainly a Jewish Shtetl. After the Shoah hardly anything of this past remained. After the war the shape of the city changed dramatic not only in terms of population, but of structure as well. What we would perceive as the city centre in fact was build only after the war, whereas the historical centre now is a bit in the periphery. Moreover, Molodechno was the centre of the Molodechno Oblast', that was later incorporated into the Minsk Oblast'. Some architetonic remains of this relatively important role as a kind of local capital still can be seen in the town. The town was located in different states during its history. All of them left their cultural imprints and you can see the different layers of Russian, Polish, Nazi-German, Soviet and Belarusian heritage. It is not easy to find traces of the former Jewish Shtetl Molodechno, after the Germans had killed most of Molodechno's inhabitants for being Jewish this part of history disappeared during the Soviet times. There are some Jewish houses left and the building of a former synagogue with a car work-shop in there now. At least one mass-grave is located at the R 28 road that leads to the north (left hand when you leave the town).

Molodechno is famous for the memorial for the Soviet POWs, killed in Germany, Stalag 342 (Zamkovaya str., 18). It's one of the rare monuments of this kind in Belarus. Unfortunately the gates usually are closed, so one can peep inside only through gates and niches in the walls. Former Polish barracks from the inter-war era are to be found in the area of the stadium on Chkalova street. One of them is now the regional dramatic theater building. What had remained of old castle a bit outside the town was destroyed during the Napoleonic war in 1812. There is a small hill left where the complex once was located (northwards on the R 28). Central park of the town is a beautiful place for a relaxed walk. The park was greatly updated to the national holiday "Dozhynki", which was held in Molodechno in 2011. There are 2 artificial ponds with fountains. In the bigger pond you can rent a boat or a catamaran. In the park there are many trade tents with cotton candy, pop-corn and drinks.

The Broadway of Molodechno is the Prytyckoho street pedestrian zone. It leads from the train station to the central square with its Lenin monument. This is the most beautiful street in Molodechno. On this street (right hand near to the central square) the Local Lore Museum of the Minsk oblast' is situated. The exhibition is quite new and really nice, it covers the period from ancient times until the early 20th century, and has focusses on the different religions of the area (several Christian confessions, Jews, Moslems) and the history of crafts. Unfortunately, the annotations are exclusively in Belarusian. Still, one can get good visual impressions. The Molodechno land is well-known not only for its historic, production and cultural achievements but also by the people who made a great contribution to the world history and culture. Such outstanding persons as Symon Budny, Yadvigin Sh, Yanka Kupala, Maksim Bogdanovich, Ignat Buinitsky, Bronislav Tarashkevich lived and worked in Molodechno. Molodechno is considered to be the cultural centre of the Minsk oblast, with 26 institutions of culture and art.

Sights in Molodechno:

  • Minsk Oblast Drama Theatre
  • Minsk Oblast Puppet Theatre Batleika
  • Victory Park
  • Central square
  • Orthodox church of the Protection of the Holy Virgin
  • The memorial Stalag 342.

Museums:

  • Minsk oblast Local Lore Museum (Partizanskaya str., 3)
  • Literary Museum of Yanka Kupala (Viazynka village)
  • "Folvark Rakutevschina" - branch of the Literary Museum of Maxim Bogdanovich (Rakutevschina village).

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