I’m not from Minsk, not even from Belarus. Perhaps, that’s why I love so much this city. A look from the outside allows you to see and love something that other people treat as usual and not outstanding. I don’t have any illusions about this city and I don’t demand from it something that couldn’t be and won’t be there. I like it just because it’s Minsk. I try to travel a lot, but I like to come back to this place. This city as a coffee aroma after a strong and rich perfume, it creates an exciting contrast and gives an opportunity to have a break.
And now let’s narrow our perspective: Octyabrskaya Street. I can’t call it my favourite place in the city, I don’t know why but I’m attracted to it all the time. I like walking there. Once it was the city’s factory outskirts; but now it’s a street in the centre of the city, situated on the peninsula. It’s such a small separate world. Maybe, because I grew up in a harsh industrial city with extreme climatic conditions, I learnt to observe something interesting and harmonious in industrial architecture. It’s very curiously to watch how the city dissolves «industrial' features in this place.
Centenary shops and entrance checkpoints are converted into photo studios and trendy cafes. Concrete is covered with colorful graffiti, mastery of which often surpasses traditional artists. Century-old
red brick creates a very important color atmosphere on the street. At certain moments of the day the street is filled with young people due to the close location of the campus. Then the street comes alive, gains the second life. Lines of workers hurrying to the factory entrance checkpoints in the morning are now substituted by representatives of different urban subcultures.
In the summer it’s a pleasure to cycle along rarely used tram ways (there's only one route singled out for this street: it runs only on weekdays in the morning and evening hours to collect and get workers of the still
retained enterprises). In the winter you can spend time in the frost, walking down the street, and then you can get warm in one of the cafes that have appeared on this street over the last few years. This district has a great potential. There’re a lot of unused spaces for various ideas and projects.
And slowly something gets done: the street is just about to acquire new hotel, stylized according to the surrounding architecture. The nearest park and quay are also assuming a wonderful air (also due to the developing hotel business in Minsk). Close location to the underground, bicycle path, tram ways and, the centre in general, makes this area very accessible and attractive for walking.
I truly believe in this street and invite everyone to visit it. Because all cities and streets are always people who live, work and walk on them.
Photo by Юлия Лискавец