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Mogilev

Mogilev is the administrative center of the Mogilev region and the 3rd largest city in Belarus. It’s located in the east, within less than 100 kilometers from the Russian border.

Belarusian (latin) Mahilioŭ
Belarusian (cyrillic) Магілёў
Russian (latin) Mogilev
Russian (cyryllic) Могилёв
Founded 1267
Population 361 000
Oblast Mogilevskaya
Rayon Mogilvesky
Area (sq.km) 119
Phone code 375 22
Time zone GMT + 3
Postal code 212 001
License plate 6

The river Dnieper stretches through the city, giving it a picturesque and serene vibe. The respectively plain and delicate cityline makes Mogilev seem cozy and untouched by the distasteful mixture of Soviet era buildings and modern architecture.

As is with most Europes great towns, Mogilev too has a legend concerning the origin of its name. The peculiar thing is that the greatest poets of Belorussian land composed plays and ballads inspired by the plot of this very legend. The legend says that Mogilev derived its name from a robber named Leo Masheka. He lived in the Mogilev area and was the local Robin Hood. One day he was killed by his lover. Mahseka’s friends buried him on the bank of the Dnieper and called the place Lion’s Grave or in Russian Mogila L’va.

Panaroma of Mogilev

Panaroma of Mogilev

 

1577 was one of the most important moments in Mogilev’s history. The king Stefan Batory granted it city rights under Magdeburg law. To commemorate this special event a clock tower was build in the main square of the city. Unfortunately the terrible tortures of the two wars demolished the tower to the ashes. However in the 2000s Mogilev’s city council took decision to reconstruct the building. The funds for the reconstruction were raised by the whole city and finally in 2008 it was totally restored. Today this subtle building surely adds essential beauty to the city’s scene.

Mogilev Clock Tower

Mogilev Clock Tower

 

Additionally, back in the Soviet times Mogilev was supposed to become the capital of the existing Belorussian Soviet Socialist Republic. The authorities were firmly determined to carry out this plan and even started to construct the exact copy of the Government House that existed in Minsk. Therefore today this twin of Minsk Government House makes visitors from Minsk experience a slight de ja vu!

 Twin Government House

Twin Government House

 

Industry in Mogilev

Mogilev is said to be the 2nd (after Minsk) industrial center of Belarus. Indeed the city brims with various factories and enterprises. After World War II Mogilev turned into a metallurgy centre. Moreover a chemical plant was established here. A machine-building, elevator-building, electric motor engineering plants are also concentrated in Mogilev. Textile producing enterprise Mogotex and the footwear factory Shagovita are also based in the city. The list goes on.

Industrial part of Mogilev

Industrial part of Mogilev

It seems that such considerable industrial base should have made Mogilev an important economic centre too. Unfortunately the city lags far behind the capital’s economy. Many of the enterprises don’t function anymore or have gone bankrupt. The mismanagement, poor funding and lack of investments are to blame.

 

Tourist attractions in Mogilev

In 2014 Mogilev was chosen to be the cultural capital of Belarus and the CIS countries. This honorable status has contributed to the rapid improvement of the city.

As a matter of fact every respectable city has a visit card in the form of some exceptional landmark or place of interest. In Mogilev’s case this associative role has gone to the Square of Stars. In the centre of the square there’s a monument to the astrologist which is surrounded by 12 chairs. Each chair symbolizes a certain zodiac sign. People believe that if you find the chair with your zodiac sign, sit in it, make a wish and then go to the astrologist and touch his toe your dream will come true! They say that so many have already made wishes that the astrologist toe has become white. Besides the Square of Starts is a popular meeting point among young people as the local cinema “Rodina”. The sweet smell of caramel popcorn and youth’s heated discussions has become attributive to the celebrated square.

Square of stars

Square of Stars

We have to mention that the Square of Stars is situated in Leninskaya Street which is the largest pedestrian street in the city. There you can find a number of different boutiques and cafes. It’s a perfect place for a leisurely stroll to soak up the atmosphere of the city. In one part of the street, the Music College is found so frequently you can hear how young musicians practice playing their instruments. In the other part of the street there’s a painting school. So some people even call it Mogilev Arbat as sometimes in good weather you can see artists sitting on the benches and creating their works of art.  In addition practically in front of the painting school you’ll find the museum dedicated to an outstanding landscape painter Bialynitsky-Birulia. The museum occupies one of the oldest and most beautiful houses in Mogilev where the talented painter lived himself. There you can find about 100 of his works of art and some of his personal belongings. Besides temporary art are held at the museum. Currently it’s closed for reconstruction.

Leninskaya street

Leninskaya street

Mogilev is rather small. The truth is you’ll most probably cover the walk round the city centre in less than an hour. However whatever route you choose you are sure to sooner or later reach the culmination point of Mogilev which is the Square of Glory. It’s funny that a few months back it was still called Soviet Square. Yet the new name seems to better reflect the glorious vibes that penetrate you once you step into the square. The pompous monument and the eternal flame almost give you shivers reminding about the tragic past of the city. The square itself stands on the legendary hill where Mogilev appeared and offers you a breathtaking view over that part of the city that lies behind the river Dnieper.

Square of Glory

Square of Glory

Not far from the city centre there lies the tiny Dubrovenka river. It’s a favored spot of the urban dwellers who wish to escape from the traffic and hustle without going far from the city centre. There are always people strolling around, feeding ducks, walking their dogs, riding bicycles or jogging.

Dubrovenka river

Dubrovenka river in winter

Another outstanding place to visit in Mogilev is definitely Mogilev Zoo. It’s situated outside the city and covers the area of 124 hectares.  Evidently it’s not a typical zoo. Many of the animals kept in the zoo are rescue animals. It means that before they got there they were either lost or injured in some way. The environment the animals live in is as close to natural as possible. The most popular inhabitants of area are European bisons who are also known as the symbol of Belarus.  If you’re lucky you can notice them while walking in the wooded area of the zoo or taking a two-kilometer ride on a specially suggested train.

If you managed to make your way to Mogilev Zoo don’t miss the chance to visit the memorial complex of Buinichi field which is situated nearby. It is a very important Mogilev sight. It was opened to commemorate the heroic defense of Mogilev in July 1941. The heroism of the soldiers greatly impressed the famous journalist and writer Konstantin Simonov. The battles at Buinichi field actually inspired him to write his most famous book “The Living and the Dead”. After his death his ashes were blown over Buinichi field.

It’s also worth going to the opposite edge of the city as there is fond a veritable isle of peace and quiet. It’s called Krynitsa and in essence is a duet of churches that stands on the edge of a forest right on the riverbank. If you are not going by car you’ll have no alternative but cross the forest to get there. But it’s worth it. The place is filled with spirituality and natural genuineness. This must be the true Belarus!

Bank of the Dnieper near Krynitsa

Bank of the Dnieper near Krynitsa

People and Notable Citizens of Mogilev

It won’t be an exaggeration to say that Mogilev has been the birthplace of a number or gifted people. Musicians, singers, scientists, writers, even revolutionists were born here. Here is a couple of Mogilev citizens who have been recognized worldwide.

One of such people is Otto Schmidt. He was a Soviet scientist, mathematician, astronomer, geophysicist and all around Hero of the USSR. He’s best known for supervising an expedition to the North Pole. Today one the streets in Mogilev bears his name.

Michael Sudzilowski was a prominent revolutionary who organized  the socialist movement in Romania, published a socialist paper, and carried out socialist propaganda among the Russian troops during the Russo-Turkish war. He was expelled from Romania and moved to San Francisco. Later he settled in Hawaii where he was elected Senator and then Senator President.

The famous physicist Leonid Mandelstam who discovered the combinatorial scattering of light also was born in Mogilev.

The roots of the renowned composer Irving Berlin who wrote songs for Frank Sinatra, Billie Holiday, Ella Fitzgerald originated in Mogilev as well.

 

Hotels in Mogilev

Over the last 20 years Mogilev saw rather radical changeover: lots of renovation works, remodeling of the central street, new constructions etc. All these made the city an attractive destination for tourists and consequently motivated the development of hotel business in Mogilev.

Below are the names of the most popular hotels rated in accordance with Booking.com

It’s worth mentioning that reservation without a credit card and free cancellation are possible in all the aforementioned hotels.

Lira Hotel 

Rating: Wonderful 9.4

Address: Leninskaya 45

Price: $50 per night

Lira Hotel is situated in the centre of Mogilev right next to the famous Square of Stars. Each room is equipped with a TV, air conditioning, a refrigerator and a minibar. Free access to Wi-Fi is provided. Lira Hotel also has a spa and wellness centre as well as a restaurant. Breakfast at the restaurant is included into the price of a one-night stay at the hotel.

Gubernskaya Hotel

Rating: Excellent 8.8

Address: Leninskaya 56/6

Price: $174 per night

As you can possibly see from the price Gubernskaya Hotel is the most luxurious place to stay at in Mogilev. Offering free secure parking, a daily buffet breakfast and a 24-hour front desk, Gubernskaya Hotel is located in the heart of Mogilev on the pedestrian Leninskaya Street. Rooms come with free Wi-Fi, cable TV, a safety deposit box and a minibar.

Metropol Hotel & Spa

Rating: Excellent 8.7

Address: Komsomolskaya Street 6

Price: $37 per night

Metropol Hotel & Spa is a new fancy with a comparatively reasonable price.  It is located in the centre of Mogilev next to the Drama Theatre.  All rooms are provided with a private bathroom, a flat-screen TV, a safety deposit box and a minibar. Additionally there is a conference hall and a spa centre with an indoor swimming pool, a Finnish sauna, a Turkish steam bath. Free Wi-Fi and free parking are provided. A buffet breakfast is served every morning in the hotel’s restaurant.

Mogilev Hotel

Rating: Good 7.7

Address: Mira Prospekt 6

Price: $24

Mogilev Hotel is surely the biggest and oldest one in Mogilev! This hotel is located in the central part of Mogilev and overlooks the picturesque Dubrovenka River. Although the hotel is rather old-fashioned it features all necessary conveniences including a TV, a refrigerator, a private bathroom and even a balcony overlooking the river.The hotel also has a restaurant where European and Belorussian cuisine is served.

ApartHotel Ljubuzh

Rating: Exceptional 9.6

Address: Lesnichestvo Street 17а

Price: $45 per night

The hotel is located within a 20-minute drive from the centre of Mogilev. Located in the picturesque natural surroundings it offers exceptional opportunity for hiking and outdoor recreation.

The rooms are equipped with satellite TV, a refrigerator, minibar and private bathroom. Free Wi-Fi access is provided. A safety deposit box is extra charged. Additionally guests can dine at the hotel’s restaurants and enjoy a Russian steam bath. Moreover the reception-desk and the bar are available 24 hours.

 

Cafes and restaurants in Mogilev

When exploring a new city you can never do without eating out!

Unfortunately the city doesn’t have a restaurant which will specialize in national cuisines. The reason must be the little demand from the native citizens who prefer to cook national dishes at home.

However you should know the best pizza is served in Parmesan restaurant. This venue was opened by an Italian gentleman so the quality of the pizza is Italian through and through. The restaurant in located in Pervomayskaya Street 34/1.

A newly opened Filetto House Café in Mogilev is a good place to spend an evening in a cozy atmosphere. The café boasts of a high selection of wine, accurately prepared dishes, stylish décor, good service and reasonable prices. The café is situated in Leninskaya Street 22.

Buffet cafe

Buffet cafe

The best coffee in the city is served in Buffet café. It has unofficially gained the reputation of the most fashionable café of the city. Practically always it’s full of people of all age sipping coffee, eating donuts or Belgian wafers, pizzas, pastas etc. Buffet is situated in Komsomolskaya 5.

Hopefully this review has persuaded you that Mogilev is a worthy destination to visit when you travel in Belarus.

 

 

 

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