Wanderlist Discover: Brest, Belarus
Belarus, once a part of the former Soviet Union, is not a very immediate choice of travel destinations for most tourists. Which is quite tragic, as this country has a lot to offer in terms of grandiose architecture, endless pastoral landscapes, cosy cafes and even epic WW II memorials. The city of Brest was originally founded by the Slavs and today it is the administrative centre of the Brest district in Belarus. Despite its laid-back pace and charming demeanour, it is one of the most significant cities in the country, from a cultural, historical and even political point of view.
Like many other cities in the former USSR, Brest takes pride in fighting the Germans army during the WWII, and has several monuments commemorating their fallen heros, who died defending their city. Despite its rich historical and cultural heritage, Brest still has a laid back and relaxed demeanour and most tourists can expect to be warmly welcomed by the locals, once initial introductions are made.
A COUPLE OF ACTIVITIES YOU DON’T WANT TO MISS
- Hero Fortress : Built in the period from 1830s to 1840s, Brest Fortress is situated at the meeting point of rivers Bug and Mukhyavets. After WWII, it became one of the symbols of courage and bravery, and has become the most important WWII monument in Belarus today. Today, as a War Museum, it is a shrine to the events - both terrible and heroic - that took place during the war.
- Belovezhskaya Puscha National Park : The primeval National Park is home to over 900 plants and 250 animal species, including many rare and endangered species. It is famous for its ancient oak trees, which date back to almost 500 years ago. It is one of the several UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Belarus.
- Brest Train Museum : Train fans can head to the Brest Train Museum, which displays almost 50 different types of steam and diesel hydraulic engines, retro carriages, and other railway equipment.
Best Time To Go: JULY
The climate can be quite harsh in the winters, and it is best advised to reach Brest during the hot summer months of July.
Where in the world:
Brest lies in the South-West corner of Belarus, right on the border with Poland
Fun Fact: Brest played an important role in both the Great Wars. The “Treaty of Brest-Litovsk” was signed in Brest, which marked Russia’s withdrawal from the WWI. In WWII, the Polish and the Russians valiantly fought off the Germans, from within the massive Brest Fortress. Although, the Polish and Russian forces eventually fell to the Germans, the Brest Fortress came to be known as the Hero-Fortress, to commemorate the defense of the resistance during the first week of War.
- Language : Belarusian, Russian
- Currency : Belarussian Rouble (Br); 1 USD roughly equals 1.98 Br.
- How to Get Around : Most of the local attractions are within walking distance of one another, so walking is an easy way to get around in Brest. You can also take a bus in Brest. However, many buses don’t run beyond 10.30 pm. In the night, you will be better off using a taxi to get around. You can also order a “mashrutka”, which is a private minibus taxi, that follows regular bus routes in the city.
The Discover Series by Wanderlist
Discover less explored destinations & places that have never been on your travel radar with our Discover Series. Every week we will share a beautiful underrated city you should add to your travel bucket list.