Monday, October 13, 2008

Lenin's statue


Few buildings in Minsk survived the wars. Among the ones that did survive were Orthodox and Catholic churches. Many older buildings had been recently restored to their pre-war state. Others were built from scratch in the same styles and on the original sites. (In this latter respect, the restoration of Minsk resembles how the older palaces of Seoul were returned back to their original glory. The only difference is that Minsk is not marred by the crowded skyscrapers and riots of neon billboards in South Korea.)

The Belarussian State University occupies a gray behemoth swathe of the centre, located on Sovetskaya street, a long stone's throw away from the popular landmark status of Lenin in front of the House of Government. In the evening, the building is very difficult to traverse from one end to the other; I got tired walking across the plaza in front of it, as I tried to reach the older part of Minsk. It did not help that the gates of the park were closed, so I couldn't cut through, as I was able to in the day time.

The BSU campus encompasses several nearby buildings. The rector's office is located at a red-brick structure across the garden. The Lyceum is about a 15 to 20 minute walk away.

Lenin stands tall in Ploshad Nezavisimosti. Erected across the wide avenue from the BSU colossus, Lenin has overlooked Independence Square since 1933. The seven metre high monument is by Aleksander Grube who designed the first public statue of Lenin in the USSR, which was erected in the Belarusian town of Krasnopole in 1922.
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