Pinsk, Belarus (2011)

Photo below: Lenin Street, looking down from the Hotel Pripyat.

Tht view in the photo above is from the 6th floor of the Hotel Pripyat. In the photo, Lenin Street runs from the lower right corner of the photo diagonally towards the upper left corner.

Photo below: Street sign for Lenin Street.

Above, that's "Lenin" in both Russian and Belarussian. Both languages use the Cyrillic alphabet. There were no street signs; instead, the name of the street is attached to whatever building is on the corner.

Photo below: Roman Catholic Church of Assumption of the Blessed Mary Virgin.

The above view of the church is from the bridge across the Pina River, and the lower portion of the church is not seen in the photo.

Photo below: Roman Catholic Church of Assumption of the Blessed Mary Virgin.

Above photo shows the entrance to the compound of the Roman Catholic Church ofAssumption of the Blessed Mary Virgin in Pinsk. There's a six-foot high yellow wall that surrounds the compound. Catholics are in the minority in Pinsk these days. Most people are either Orthodox or have no religious affiliation (after decades of Communism).

Photo below: Roman Catholic Church of Assumption of the Blessed Mary Virgin.

The above photo of the church is from inside the six-foot high wall. Straight ahead is the building where the nuns live. The church is perpendicular to the convent, at the far left.

Photo below: The altar at the Roman Catholic Church of Assumption of the Blessed Mary Virgin (Pinsk, Belarus).

Photo below: Side altars at Assumption of the Blessed Mary Virgin.

The above photos show five of the side altars at the church. These are not stations of the cross; rather, these are side altars.

Photo below: Pipe organ at Assumption of the Blessed Mary Virgin.

Photo below: Plaque inside Assumption of the Blessed Mary Virgin.

Regarding the above plaque, I don't know what it says or what it is about. It is a list of names. The image is included here to benefit some future researcher.

Photo below: Catholic seminary.
It's down Lenin Street just a few blocks from the Roman Catholic Church of Assumption of the Blessed Mary Virgin. View is from the bridge.

Photo below: Catholic seminary.
Another view of the Catholic seminary. This view is from the side.

Photo below: Businesses on Lenin Street in Pinsk.

Above, the business with the name that looks like "Cnagapo?H?K" was a restaurant. Dinner for two, including a 15% tip, was $8.10 U.S. The meals were complete: salad, fish, potatoes, coleslaw, another side dish, and hot tea. That was four dollars and five cents per person, for dinner at a sit-down restaurant with table cloths! One usual thing about the restaurant: There also was a bar serving alcohol at the restaurant, not unusual, but men would come in during the evening, go up the bar and ask for a shot of vodka. They would down the shot, and leave immediately. No socializing; no drinking slowly or having any food. Just walk in, quickly have a shot of vodka, and leave.

Photo below: typical baby stroller in Pinsk.

The people in Pinsk are poor; the economy stinks, and folks do without. But the babies I saw appear to be well cared for. The protective baby stroller/carriage pictured above was not untypical for the babies out and about in Pinsk.

Photo below: Statue of Vladimir Lenin, Communist.

The Lenin statue is just beyond the Catholic seminary. To judge the size of the statue, consider that from Lenin's foot to his knee is about six feet.

Photo below: Stork's nest, on top of large chimney.

More interesting than the statue of Lenin was the stork's nest pictured above. The nest is on the top of a large chimney behind and to the right of Lenin's statute. Storks are a common sight in Pinsk.

Photo below: Entrance at the old Pinsk Cemetery.

The entrance is on Hodoyenko Street, and the cemetery covers about three acres. It has been closed to burials for many years. At the far end of the cemetery is a separate section of burials of German soldiers from World War I (and one German soldier from World War II, a lieutenant).

I had hoped to find markers for burials that I have been told were in the cemetery: Evdokiya Adamova Anaskewicz, Irena Ivanova Davlud, Ivan Lukin Davlud, Trofem Ivanovich Davlud, Felix Podlewski, and Joseph Matveev Urbanowicz. Despite three hours of looking, no markers were found for those burials. It is a generally well-maintained cemetery, but there were areas with heavy weed overgrowth, and some stones have shifted. Additionally, about half of the markers are in Cyrillic. Many of the graves are marked with only iron crosses, about four feet high. And other graves would have been marked with wooden crosses which would not have survived the decades.

My take-away memory of Pinsk is that it was so dark. Hotels, restaurants, stores. All conserve electricity to the maximum. Night comes, and it's dark. There were a few lampposts along the walkway next to the river, and there were street lights in some areas on Lenin Street, but not many. Inside the hotel, the lights in hallways were kept so dim that I almost needed a flashlight some nights to find my way down the long halls. In stores, lights were kept so dim that often I was left wondering whether a store was even open.

When I left Pinsk, I traveled by train to Brest.

2011 Trip