Brest is the hometown of first Belarusian cosmonaut Piotr Klimuk and laureate of the Nobel Prize for Peace Menachem Begin. The city has changed its location twice and was known as Berestye, Brest-Litovsk, Brest-upon-Bug at different times in its history. Brest was the first city of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania to receive Magdeburg rights. It was the meeting place of the masterminds who prepared the military campaign against the Teutonic Knights which resulted in the Polish-Lithuanian victory at the battle of Grunwald. The Union of Brest was concluded here, and once the city boasted the richest synagogue in the whole Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth. Take a look at the list of the most stunning places of interest in Brest we have compiled for you. Do not forget that this year the city celebrates its millennium!
Exploration of the city usually starts with the railway station. Before World War I, it looked similar to a huge medieval castle. The building and the railway platforms had electric lighting – even Moscow and St. Petersburg could not boast such engineering excesses. Today, the railway station building topped by a steeple with a five-pointed star is a fine example of Stalinist architecture.
Brest Museum of Rail Equipment offers the public its outdoor sites where you can discover steam and diesel locomotives and even carriages equipped with anti-aircraft guns.
The most important place in the city is Brest Fortress. Brest Fortress was built as fortification on the western border of the Russian Empire. In peacetime, it was used as barracks, a military warehouse and a prison. It was one of the first places to be hit by the Great Patriotic War. The citadel has been awarded the highest title of the Hero Fortress. The memorial includes the recently restored St. Nicholas Garrison Church. A long time ago it was visited by Russian Emperors Alexander II and Nikolai II. The 18th-century Bernardine monastery ruins can still be seen at the Volyn Fortification.
Near the Kholmsky Gate you will find the Berestie Archeologic Museum that displays a finely preserved 13th-century Eastern Slavic settlement. Another must-see place is the Museum of History of Brest. Its 800 exhibits will tell you plenty of interesting facts about the city starting with its foundation in 1019.
Take some time and have a look at the magnificent collection of cultural items confiscated from smugglers at border control at the Saved Art Museum. The museum offers Oriental art, such as traditional Japanese paintings and Chinese vases, as well as works by Aivazovsky and Vrubel.
Brest Regional Museum offers a chance to learn more about the history of this region and its culture. The permanent collection features traditional clothes, furniture and household items.
The winter garden of the Pedagogical University with its tropical, subtropical and desert plants is a delight for the eyes.
A must-see among the religious buildings of the city is the Resurrection Church built in 1995 to commemorate the 50th anniversary of Victory in the Great Patriotic War. Its five domes symbolise Jesus Christ and the evangelical apostles. The church and the bell tower were consecrated by Patriarch Alexy II of Moscow and all Rus.
You may also be lucky to happen upon a pipe organ concert at the Church of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross.
St. Simon Cathedral is yet another ever-popular site. It is home to the venerated icon of the Virgin Mary of Brest, an important Roman Catholic relic in the territory of Belarus.
The greenery of Brest Park of Culture and Leisure is the essential respite from the city’s blare and bustle. Here you can relax, feed the ducks, walk along the picturesque alleys and across numerous bridges. The lively Saveckaja vulica (Sovetskaya St.) is the perfect place to feel the rhythm and the spirit of the city. This pedestrian street is proudly dubbed Brest's Arbat, or even Brest's Broadway.
The next must-see is the 1000th anniversary monument. It features such historic rulers and political figures as Prince of Volhynia Vladimir Vasilkovich, Grand Duke of Lithuania Vytautas, Mikołaj Radziwill the Black as well as the symbolic figures of the local residents – the chronicler, the soldier and the mother.
Come to Brest to explore the amazing tradition that no other European country has. Brest is the only place where you can still meet the lamplighter. Lamplighters ignite and put out the kerosene street lamps. If you happen to meet them in the streets, make a wish!
The easiest and most convenient way to get to Brest is by rail. There are two popular options a sitting coach train (€3) or a sleeper train(€10). If you plan to visit Brest during the weekend, we recommend you book tickets in advance as tickets sell out quickly.
Additional options are a coach(€ 7-10) or a minibus (€ 9-10). They arrive at the city centre which is a stone's throw away from the main pedestrian street.
There are several hostels in Brest: BVT (36 Dubroŭskaja vulica /Dubrovskaya St.), Brest Central (5 Saveckaja vulica /Sovetskaya St.), Good Morning (21 Varoŭskaha vulica /Vorovskogo St.), Dream (17/1 Majakoŭskaha vulica /Mayakovskogo St.).
If hostels are not really your cup of tea, there are plenty of hotels in the city: Intourist (15 Mašerava praspiekt /Masherova Ave.), Vesta (16 Krupskaj vulica/Krupskai St.), Hermitage (7 Čkalova vulica/Chkalova St.).
A variety of coffee shops in Brest offer delicious coffee, pastries and cakes: Paragraph (66 Saveckaja vulica /Sovetskaya St., 30 Saveckaja vulica/Sovetskaya St., 32 Karbyshava vulica/Karbysheva St.), Tashkent (21/1 Internacyjanaĺnaja vulica /Internatsionalnaya St.), Times Coffee (30 Saveckaja vulica/Sovetskaya St.) and Sonet (110 Saveckaja vulica/Sovetskaya St.). If you appreciate Starbucks, you will also like Royal Coffeе (55 Saveckaja vulica /Sovetskaya St.). Fine, tasty and budget breakfasts can be found at Progresso (21 Puškinskaja vulica /Pushkinskaya St.). Enjoy national cuisine at Svayaki (5 Puškinskaja vulica /Pushkinskaya St.), while excellent Russian dressed herring salad and draniki potato pancakes are served in Kliukva (52 Dziaržynskaha vulica/ Dzerzhinsky St.). Consider visiting the CHOCOTE cafe and store (25 Kamsamoĺskaya vulica /Komsomolskaya St.) and Traktir na Kovelskoy restaurant & museum (36 Koveĺskaya vulica/Kovelskaya St.).
Jules Verne restaurant is a higher-class place.
The best value places are KFC (39 Mašerava praspiekt/Masherova Ave), local fast-food classics such as FriDom (48 Saveckaja vulica/Sovetskaya St.), Burger Club (20 Puškinskaja vulica/Pushkinskaya St.), Al Taglio pizza (55 Saveckaja vulica /Sovetskaya St.).