My trip to Belarus


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Mission trip to Belarus offers amazing photography opportunities

Victory Square in the center of Minsk, Belarus, memorializes the Soviet Union’s victory over Nazi Germany during the Great Patriotic War (aka World War II). The lettering atop the buildings reads “The Heroic Actions of Our People are Eternal.”

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During a recent mission trip to Belarus, I carved out a little time to shoot some photos in the small town of Kostsyukovichy and the capital city of Minsk. The former Soviet Union republic is just a wonderful place, with welcoming people and a culture that is steeped in history. And the rural Kostsyukovicy offered different photographic opportunities than the metropolitan environs of Minsk.

My first photo opp came during an overnight visit to Minsk, during which I conned my crew into letting make two stops — one at the amazing Victory Square and one at the National Library. While I hurried the National Library image and was disappointed in the results, the Victory Square photo couldn’t have turned out better. And, as a bonus, I was able to shoot an underground memorial located on the walk to the square. The Soviet Union-era memorials scattered across the city are just amazing.

Then it was off for the four-hour drive to Kostsyukovichy for a few more days of eating delightful Belarusian food and visiting residents in the town just 30 kilometers from the Russian border. On my final day in the town, I had about an hour of free time so I grabbed my camera and a group of us walked the streets of the beautiful little town. I shot images of the colorful homes lining the streets, the Exaltation of the Holy Cross Orthodox church, the Vladimir Lenin statue in front of the local governmental building and the World War II memorial.

And then it was decided to return to Minsk the day before our flight home for some touring. That afforded me some more camera time, this time as we traveled about the nation’s capital. I really just scratched the surface of the potential, but my gallery now includes some images of this amazing city.

Minsk is full of memorials to soldiers who died in the various Soviet Union conflicts, including the Great Patriotic War (aka World War II) and the Afghanistan war that lasted from 1979-89. We also visited the Orthodox Holy Spirit Cathedral, the Upper and Old Town districts, and rode the metro. I captured images of everything I could.

I can’t wait to go back for a dedicated photo trip. I’m not sure when that will happen, but it tops my bucket list — maybe combining time in Amsterdam and Russia’s St. Petersburg. Hey, a man has to have a dream.

All images are located on my Belarus photography gallery.

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About Andy Crawford

Andy Crawford has been a photographer and writer for more than 20 years, with thousands of images and articles published in magazines and newspapers around the country. He now focuses on Louisiana photography, landscapes, HDR photography, urban prints and other fine art photography. He also is a portrait photographer.