Brest is an obligatory stop for any tourist planning a trip to Belarus. It stands out for its “Europeanness”, cleanliness and cosiness. Brest is especially attractive for megapolis inhabitants, for whom a huge amount of greenery in the heart of the city acts like a balm for the soul. But, the main attraction of the city is, of course, the heroic Brest Fortress, which is one of the main historical monuments in the country attracting thousands of tourists every year.
History of Brest
The first mention of Brest dates back to 1019. The city had great significance, because it was on the crossroads of two important trade routes. The legend about the emergence of the city is also connected with the trading history of Brest. It says about merchants, who on their way to Lithuania were forced to stop in front of an impassable swamp. Main merchant ordered to cover it with Birch bark (‘beresta’). So, having crossed the swamp they saw two rivers forming a nice cozy island. Returning, they decided to stay here for a long time, thus founding the city of Brest. Mindful of their difficulties on the nearby swamp, they decided to name the settlement Berestie (former Brest).
During the reign of Nicholas I, the old part of the city was destroyed and the legendary Brest fortress was built in its place. The town itself is located to the East from it.
Brest fortress is the main attraction for travelers visiting Brest. Built in 1836, it went down in history thanks to the heroic defence of the Red Army against the Nazis in 1941 year. The fights lasted one month, while the whole Poland was ceized in just 2 weeks. Legendary steel inscriptions are left by soldiers on the walls. The most famous of them is: “I am dying, but I am not giving up. Goodbye, Motherland!”.
On the territory of the fortress there is an archaeological museum called “Berestie”. Here you can see more than 224 wooden buildings dating back to the XIII century. It gives tourists an opportunity to get acquainted with the life and architectural art of Western Belarus.
Entering the gates of the Brest Fortress, you can hear the original announcement about the Fascist invasion on the territory of the Soviet Union. Everything here makes you feel the tragic war times of the Belarusian history. On the territory of the Brest Fortress complex, you can also visit one of the museums: Museum of War, Defence Museum or 5th Fort Museum. You can find more information about the things to do in the memorial on the official website of Brest Fortress.
Watch a Video about Brest Fortress
Modern Attractions of Brest
There is a number of museums in Brest that will be interesting to culture lovers. Among them we should mention “Salvaged art treasures”, National History Museum and the Museum of Railway Machinery. On its territory, you can see unique cars and locomotives of the mid-twentieth century. Brest also hosts primer, dated 13th century in the form of boxen ridge with a thread showing 13 Cyrillic alphabet letters.
Don’t get bored of the museums and walk along the pedestrian Sovetskaya street in the center of Brest. It is one of the favourite places and attractions for both locals and tourists. It is famous for its world-renowned lamplighter, who every evening lights the kerosene lanterns, distinguished by their extraordinary beauty. Only after this ritual the light in the rest of the city turns on. Taking a picture with him is a matter of honor of every tourist.
It was our quick overview of the city of Brest, its attractions and especially the famous Brest Fortress, which is the main reason for most of the tourists to come to this wonderful city, meaning so much for the history of Belarus! Read 50 interesting facts about Belarus on our blog!