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Palace Of The Puslovskys In Kossovo

The Palace of the Puslovskys, or Kossovo Castle, has been nicknamed "knights’ dream" for its fairy-tale-like appearance and splendor. This  unique monument of neo-gothic architecture of the 19th century is situated in the Belarusian town of Kossovo.

Kossovo  was first mentioned in 1494 when Grand Duke of Lithuania Alexander Jagiellon presented these lands to Yan Khreptovich, a high-ranking state official of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania.

For centuries Kossovo was owned by several distinguished dynasties: the Khreptovichs, Sanguszkos, Flemmings, Czartoryskis and Sapiehas. 

Wojciech Puslovsky bought the estate in 1821. He founded a carpet-making factory in Kossovo and built and restored about 60 churches in the neighborhood.

The Puslovskys took pride in their estate being neighbors with the manor in the Merechevschina village-  the birthplace of national hero of Poland and the USA and honorary citizen of France Tadeusz Kosciuszko.

The palace in Kossovo is unique. It consists of the central two-storied building and two wings. Because of the rectangular merlons at the top of the towers the palace is often called a mini-castle.

Each tower symbolizes one month of the year, with four highest towers in the center standing for May, June, July and August when harvest is reaped.

There are over 100 rooms and  no walk-through rooms in the palace. Thanks to a system of corridors and a special location of the windows every year one of the palace’s rooms was flooded with sunlight for two and a half days. This was the time when the owners of the palace celebrated the Day of the Roomadorning it and spending there most of the time.

Kossovo Palace was famous for its magnificent audience chambers: the White Chamber was designed for noisy balls, the Black Chamber was used for card games while in the Pinkone people usually played music.

Another room, the Ceremonial Chamber, was probably the most amazing one. It is said that the floor of this chamber was made of glass under which fish swam and algae grew. Today’s restoration experts have not confirmed this fact but they know for sure that the palace was equipped with an under-floor heating system.

The palace was surrounded by a magnificent park with over 150 species of exotic plants. A special greenhouse was built for the most unique of them. The terraces of the park led down to three artificial lakes and the Kosciuszko estate.

After Leonard Puslowski gambled away the estate, Kossovo changed hands several times. During the First World War the palace was plundered and its valuables were taken abroad. In 1921 a district administration office and a bee keeper school opened here.

During the Second World War the palace suffered the worst damage. For many days a fire blazed through its rooms in 1944 and destroyed the decoration of the chambers and left only the magnificent walls.

Lots of legends are connected with Kossovo Palace. Locals said that the owners kept a lion to guard the palace. At night the lion was released from the cage to roam about the corridors.

Despite the destruction the beauty of Kossovo Palace still impresses and attracts tourists. Since 2008 the site has been undergoing restoration which is set to finish in 2018.

Kossovo Palace has turned into a social, cultural and tourism center. A museum, a mini-hotel and a restaurant will be opened here. There are also plans to restore the biggest terraced park in Belarus to its original condition.

Tourists from all over the world are welcome to visit the house-turned-museum of Tadeusz Kosciuszko which was restored and opened in 2004.

In Kossovo you can also see the following sightseeing: 

  • The house-turned-museum of Tadeusz Kosciuszko (the building was restored on the foundation of the 18th century
  • The Roman Catholic Church of the Holy Trinity (1877). This is the place where Tadeusz Kosciuszko was baptized
  • The Orthodox Church of St. Anthony(1868)
  • The Church of Assumption (1871)
  • A Catholic chapel (1859)

The Kossovo town is located in  Ivatsevichi District, Brest Region, Belarus


Ivatsevichi, Belarus

Ozertso Village Belarusian State Museum Of Vernacular Architecture And Ethnic Heritage

This  is the only museum-skansen in Belarus that represents a whole village of architectural specimens of the 17th-20th centuries.

The museum is located a few kilometers away from Minsk – between the villages of Ozertso and Strochitsa. So it is often named "Museum in Ozertso" or "Museum Strochitsa", or "Strochitsy”.

The idea to found  an open-air complex was first voiced by well-known Belarusian artist Ferdynand Ruszczyc in 1908. However the history made its corrections,  World War I and World War II, the need to rebuild the postwar country postponed the opening of the museum for many decades.

In 1976 A large-scale scientific expedition involving architects, historians and ethnographers was organized that  toured various regions of Belarus, searching, examining and transporting specimens of wooden architecture, household goods and crafts to the site of the present-day museum.

A number of expositions featuring architecture, culture and everyday life of three ethnographic regions – Central Belarus, Poozerye and Dnieper Region. – were opened in the period from 1987 to 1994.

Today the museum displays nearly 40 objects, such as

  • Pokrovskaya Church of the 18th century
  • Parochial school
  • Wind mill and a barn
  • Tavern
  • Blacksmith’s shop
  • Bathhouse
  • Houses of well-off and poor peasants

Expositions of the museum include "Transportation Means of Belarus", "Beekeeping in Belarus", "Belarusian flax", "Zabrody Fishing Gear" (fishery in Belarus).

The Belarusian State Museum of Vernacular Architecture and Ethnic Heritage holds numerous national feasts and rites, festivals and concerts that attract people from many countries to get acquainted with the old Belarusian traditions:

  • Kolyada
  • Pancake Week
  • Spring Calling
  • Kupalle
  • Autumn Fest
  • Kamyanitsa folk festival
  • Project "Masterpieces of the World Classics in the Open-Air Museum"
  • Day of Museums

Moreover, visitors have a chance to take part in various festivities, enjoy true potato pancakes, vereshchaka, sbiten, other dishes and drinks of the Belarusian cuisine in a local tavern.

Minsk District, between the village of Ozertso and the village of Strochitsa, on the bank of the Ptich River 

Minsk, Belarus

Zabrodye Village Museum

The old village Zabrodye is located in the place on the bank of the Narochanka River where there was a frontline of the First World War.

 The family of Belarusian artist and regional ethnographer Boris Tsitovich has turned it into an open-air unique museum that combines a  military past with an entertaining tourist complex with authentic architecture, ethnography and creative atmosphere

 Zabrodye offers to its visitors:

  • Belarus’ first  museum of WWI history displaying over 2000 exhibits: uniform and weapons, a gas mask, documents and photos, welfare items and personal things of soldiers;
  • a museum of vintage cars with the rarities of the 1930s-1990s on show: ZIS-5, GAS-67, GAS M1, Willys, Opel Kadett, Opel Blitz…
  • an exposition of motorcycles and bicycles;
  • a 19th century period-house museum (furniture, towels, clothes, household stuff, musical instruments, photos);
  • a smithy and a bath-house, which is two centuries old;
  • art and puppet theater studios

On the bank of the river there is a wooden Boris and Gleb Chapel, built in the style of the 16th-17th centuries. The chapel was built to commemorate all killed in the warfare.

Also among the most venerated places of Zabrodye and its suburbs is a hospital cemetery of the First World War and a six-meter cross at the grave near the military camp, a chapel to honor the 80th anniversary of the end of the war, a stela and a stone at the place of the death of Cossack Daniil Shevchenko

Zabrodye hosts annual events to celebrate the history of the region and  offers tourists authentic country houses and camp sites, a summer cafe and a souvenir shop, various  excursions and entertainment programs.

Address: Village of Zabrodye, Vileika District, Minsk Oblast


Stalin’s Line History And Heritage Museum

The Historical and Cultural Complex Stalin Line was founded to commemorate the 60th anniversary of the Soviet People’s Victory in the Great Patriotic War and was opened to the public on 30 January 2005 in memory of the defenders of Minsk.

These unique structures were a part of the defense system created at the beginning of the 1930s along the western border of the Soviet Union. This system is unofficially called the Stalin Line similar to the famous Maginot Line and the Mannerheim Line.

The open-air military museum located in the Minsk fortified zone forms a part of the famous Stalin’s Line built in 1930 along the borders of the USSR stretching from Karelia in the north to the Black Sea coast in the south.

There are authentic pillboxes from the times of the war. It also features all kinds of trenches and antitank ditches, shooting positions, bunkers for soldiers and trenches for guns.

The museum owns Belarus’ biggest exposition of military equipment, aviation and weapons of different years, starting from the times of the Great Patriotic War, a unique collection of gun turrets from the First World War.

Stalin’s Line is an interactive museum: Here you can see the reenactment of historical battles, fire a real weapon from the times of the Great Patriotic War (Mauser, Mosin rifle or Maksim machine-gun), drive a modern armored vehicle and legendary tanks, and taste soldier's porridge.

The museum has the memorial "Maritime Glory of Belarus" that boasts a 300-year-old anchor of the times of Peter the Great and famous amphibious tank PT-76.

Address: Minsk District, near the village of Loshany, 6km away from the town of Zaslavl


Zaslavl, Belarus

History And Culture Museum-reserve Zaslavl

Zaslavl is one of the most ancient Belarusian towns  first mentioned in chronicles in 1127. Though the place  was founded much earlier.

In Zaslavl you will see some marvelous historical monuments  survived  that were brought together in 1986 to make part of the History and Culture Museum-Reserve Zaslavl.

Nowadays the museum includes the monuments of both international and national importance:

  • Zamechek ancient settlement of the 10th-11th centuries (known in chronicles under the name Izyaslavl)
  • Burial mounds of the 10th-11th centuries
  • Val ancient settlement with the Calvinist protestant church (11th-17th centuries, Zaslavl Castle)
  • Roman Catholic Church of Holy Mary’s Nativity (second half of the 18th century)
  • Park and the palace of the Przezdziecki family.

In addition you may visit other interesting sights there:

  • Museum and exhibition complex
  • Mlyn (the Mill) ethnographic complex
  • Pillbox-turned-museum
  • Children’s mythology and forest museum

A key part of the Mlyn ethnographic complex is a steam mill, which is a unique monument of the 20th-century flour manufacture in Zaslavl. Here one can see a granary, a smithy and an authentic inn for peasants who delivered grain to the mill.

The Zaslavl museum offers excursions combined with theatrical performances and Batleika performances (puppet plays focusing on the Biblical stories).

Address of the museum:

4 Rynochnaya Street, Zaslavl

Zaslavl, Belarus

Ruzhany Castle

The palace complex in Ruzhany is one of the unique places in Belarus. For centuries this magnificent architectural ensemble, nicknamed the Belarusian Versailles, was owned by the mighty Sapieha dynasty.

The first written record of Ruzhany dates back to the late 15th century -  before 1552 it had belonged to the Tyshkevich dynasty. The place was famous for its cloth, carpets, decorated belts and pottery. Big fairs were held in the town..

In 1598 the Ruzhany estate was bought by  the famous magnate and politician, the chancellor and one of the authors of the unique code of laws, the Statute of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania Lew Sapieha who ordered a major construction of the estate in the early 17th century.  Soon a castle with three towers was biult in Ruzhany,  combining the traits of a defensive fortress and a ceremonial palace.

In the 17th century Ruzhany Castle was a center of political life in the Grand Duchy of Lithuania where a lot of important state  issues were discussed. The castle  hosted state receptions for kings and ambassadors.

The state treasury of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania, the arsenal, state documents, the archive of the Sapieha family, food supplies and casks with wine were kept in the huge two-storied cellars of the castle.

Later in the 17th century the castle was plundered and left in half-decay due to feuds between local Polish gentry and the Great Northern War.

In the 1770s Ruzhany’s owner Aleksander Sapieha rebuilt the residence. Saxon architect Jan Samuel Becker  turned the castle  into an elegant palace which boasted gardens, parks and greenhouses.

Combining two architectural styles, baroque and classicism, the castle was equal in beauty to the famous Versailles. The restoration works finished in 1786.

Ruzhany Castle was proud of  its rich library, a picture gallery and one of the best theaters in Europe. Around 60 artists and 40 musicians played in its troupe, and many performances were staged in French. After the 1831 rebellion the Ruzhany residence was confiscated and the Sapieha family members had to move to another estate. A merchant leased the castle and set up a weaving factory here which was operational until the 20th century.

During the First World War the complex was ruined again  and during the Second World War seriously damaged. Only the main building and the eastern one, the entry gate and several outbuildings survived.

In 2008 restoration and excavation works began at the site of this ancient residence of the Sapieha family.

To date, the reconstruction of the entrance and some outbuildings has been finished.

Nowadays  Ruzhany Castle is partially open for tourists.

The museum Palace Complex of the Sapieha Family is open in the eastern outbuilding where one can see authentic items and elements of the interior. One of the halls is dedicated to the Sapieha dynasty, while the gallery hosts expositions of Belarusian artists.

Since 2011 the yearly festival Ruzhanskaya Brama has been held in the castle. Its guests can get familiar with the history of the residence, enjoy excursions, historical re-enactments and artists’ performances and also visit a folk crafts fair.

Ruzhany Castle is located in Pruzhany District, Brest Region

There is one small hotel in Ruzhany but it will probably be more reasonable to come here for one day.

Pruzhany, Belarus

Holy Trinity Church In The Village Of Gervyaty

Holy Trinity Church is  located in the large village  Gervyaty of Ostravets District, Grodno Region. It is   among the three highest churches in Belarus (61 m) and is undoubtedly one of the finest examples of the neo-Gothic style. The temple was built in 1903 on the site of a wooden church of 1526. In the front of the temple there are a few wooden crosses with rich carvings, which is typical for Lithuanian churches. The church is located a few kilometres from the Lithuanian border.

During the turbulent historical events of the first half of the 20th century village Gervyaty often passed from one state to another. However, the church had survived all the wars and revolutions and was never seriously damaged. The church today is in excellent condition and is valid. In addition to worship in the church building also hosts a variety of conferences and concerts of organ music. The old organ in Trinity church is designed specifically for the incredible acoustics of the church, so it sounds fantastic.

The area around the Holy Trinity church in Gervyaty  beautifully landscaped – you will see a small park and garden with a variety of rare ornamental manicured trees, shrubs and flowers, gathered in the beautiful flowerbeds. In the territory adjacent to the church of the Apostles placed a lot of sculptures, benches, lamps, flower beds and other small architectural forms. The territory of this garden is crossed by beautiful paths and surrounded by a wrought-iron fence. Near the entrance to the church there is a unique wooden crosses with very complex, expressive and beautiful carvings.

Also Gervyaty is perfectly preserved water mill of the 19th century.  Nowadays a nice restaurant located in a former mill building. This small tourist site is very well complements the already excellent tourist village atmosphere.

Gervyaty is one of the best places for a leisurely guided tour of the day. Here is one of the key attractions throughout Belarus, and in the village itself can be a great pleasure to spend a few hours, in addition there is a place where you can relax and have a snack culture.

Address: village Gervyaty, Ostrovets District, Grodno Region, Belarus

Ostrovets, Belarus

Gatovsky Estate In Krasny Bereg

The manor and park complex in the village of Krasny Bereg is a vivid example of the monuments of architecture and landscape art of the late 19th and early 20th centuries of the eclectic trend. The undoubted advantage of the monument is the integrity and good preservation of the constituent elements. The ensemble is located on the bank of the river Dobysna and includes a manor house, a wing, a number of outbuildings, surrounded by a park.

The estate in the village of Krasny Bereg, resembling a fairy tale house, was built in the second half of the 19th century for Lieutenant General Mikhail Gatovsky. The building seamlessly combined the elements of the Gothic, Renaissance, Modern and Empire styles through towers, bay windows, mansards, dormer windows, and the enfilade disposition of rooms. The interior of the rooms themed Romanic, Arabic, Renascent, French styles. The palace boasted rich art collections, among which were the original works of Ivan Aivazovsky, Gavriil Kondratenko, Genrikh Semiradsky. The residence was surrounded by an English park and an exotic garden.

The estate is located by the address:  16 Isayeva Street, Krasny Bereg village, Zhlobin District, Gomel Region, Belarus

Zhlobin, Belarus

Monument To Child Victims Of War In The Village Of Krasny Bereg

On International Children's Day the unique memorial in Belarus, the only one in the world dedicated to child victims of WWII, traditionally hosted a meeting to commemorate the memory of tens of thousands of lives lost in Nazi concentration camps. During the Great Patriotic War the Nazis created a brutal "blood donor conveyor" - in 1943 they set up a camp in the village of Krasny Bereg near Belarusian Zhlobin. In the most barbaric way the Nazis took the blood from innocent children for the Hitler army. In the 21st century the memorial was erected at the place of the murder of 1,990 people. The memorial was designed by a group of architects under the supervision of Leonid Levin, the Khatyn Memorial author. Visitors are welcomed at the entrance by a bronze figurine of a girl with arms up and crossed. The Sun Square sends out alleys-rays, with one named Ray of Memory crossing an empty classroom with 21 white desks and a blackboard featuring Katya Susanina’s letter to her father. The memorial also features heart-stirring glass paintings and a symbol of children’s broken dreams, a Paper Shiplet…

The memorial in Krasny Bereg is surrounded by an old apple garden that became another symbol of the horrible tragedy of the village. A legend says that local botanist Nezvedsky planted Chinese apple trees here which turn poppy red in spring and get covered with ruby apples in autumn.

The memorial is located in Krasny Bereg village, Zhlobin District, Gomel Region, Belarus

Zhlobin, Belarus

The Minsk Sea

The Minsk Sea, which is another name for Zaslavl Water Reservoir, is located close to the Belarusian capital (around 17 km).

The Minsk Sea, or the Zaslavsky Reservoir, is the second largest reservoir in Belarus, created by the hands of a man who is the favorite vacation spot for Minsk citizens. The area is about 30 km. sq. m. The length is 10 km. The width is 4.5 km. The greatest depth is 8 m.

Officially Zaslavsky Reservoir was opened for tourists in June 1956. However, the idea of ​​the Minsk Sea creation  goes back to the late 1930s, Minsk often suffered from floods when Svisloch river  emerged from the shores and could flood up to a third of the city's territory. At the same time, Minsk did not have a place where one could rest by the water and swim a lot.

Nowadays it is a favorite vacation spot for citizens and guests of the capital. As soon as it gets warmer, a large number of tourists come to the water every weekend. Places for a picnic near the shore, special areas with tables, chairs, benches and barbecues are arranged for the recreation there. In the pond you can swim, for this s the bottom of the reservoir is specially cleaned , installed safety buoys on the water, and in summer the rescue station operates.

In the territory of the reservoir there is a sailing school, and the corresponding competitions are held

For fans of outdoor activities you can rent a bicycle, catamaran, kayak, boat, water skiing, motorcycle. Incredible, but  you can even ride a yacht and a boat. In addition, there are lessons on windsurfing and on skating on a wakeboard.

Around the reservoir there are specially equipped car parkings on the beaches there is a minimal infrastructure. And even if the weather is not too hot, the Minsk Sea will delight you with magnificent sunsets.

This is also a place for the fishing. On the Minsk Sea there are: bream, pike perch, perch, podleschik, roach, pike, tench. Less common ruff, staking, crucian and gudgeon. The total length of the coastline is over 28 kilometers. When choosing a place for fishing, you need to consider that during  weekends and holidays  (especially in the equipped places and near the beaches) is very crowded and noisy, and finding a quiet place is not so simple.

Minsk, Belarus