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Architecture of Belarus

Belarusian Architecture - All Saint's Church in Minsk
All Saint's Church in Minsk

Belarus's architectural history is scant at best. As a periphery land to many foreign occupiers and kingdoms, Belarus has rarely been the recipient of great wealth or the ability to build lavish buildings in the style of choice for much of Europe. For these reasons, most of Belarus's historical architecture was domestic/home architecture, which was rarely built to last or was church architecture.

Much of the church architecture in Belarus is similar to either Russian or Polish churches, based upon when they were built and for whom they were built. The Russian styled churches are generally Eastern Orthodox and are a distant relative to the early Byzantine churches from Constantinople (modern day Istanbul). The Polish styled churches tend to be more Central European and vary from style to style based upon when they were built. These churches can be found throughout the country, but many were destroyed during World War II.

Belarusian Architecture - Nesvizh Castle
Nesvizh Castle

The other significant architectural style that made an impact on Belarus also came from Russia in the early 1900s when the Soviets incorporated Belarus into the Soviet Union. From this point until the fall of the Soviet Union in 1991 most of the buildings erected in Belarus were modern concrete bloc buildings with functional means winning over aesthetics. Due to the devastation on the country from World War II, much of the country is now in this style.

The two most notable exceptions to all of the above movements are the Mir Castle complex and the Radziwill family's Nesvizh Castle. The Mir Castle complex has architecture representing nearly every style from the 1400s until the 1800s while the Radziwill compound has buildings from the 1500s on. Both of these are the pinnacle of Belarusian architecture.

This page was last updated: March, 2013