Day trip to the Stalin Line in Minsk. A visit to the former Soviet defense line, located outside Minsk. A day looking at tanks, bunkers, and shooting guns.
During our trip to Minsk – Belarus, one of our highlights was the visit to the Stalin Line. Or Linia Stalina as they call it in Belarusian.
A little bit of history:
The Stalin Line was meant as a defense line to protect the USSR from the west. Construction was started in the 1920s. As a result of the Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact(non-aggression treaty between Germany and the USSR), the territories of the USSR expanded to the west. Meaning a new defense line was needed. However in 1941 the Germans did invade, since the new defense line was not yet ready and the older Stalin Line was mostly abandoned. Most of the line was quickly overrun by the Germans in 1941.
Today only a few parts remain of the Stalin Line. These can be visited 30-40 Km outside Minsk.
Our Uber dropped us off at the entrance where we were greeted by a giant head of Stalin. We bought our tickets, looked at the “Russian info” sign, and started the walk through the park.
As we followed the main exhibition route we covered the whole park. The whole park is filled with old military stuff from post WW2 times. Since we arrived we heard the constant shooting sounds of AK47s and other machine guns. The day we visited it was quite rainy and clouded which added to the whole “scary post WW2 – USSR” feeling.
What is nice is that all of the bunkers, manholes, trenches, and military equipment is open for the public. Which makes for a nice interactive day exploring. We walked around the area for the rest of the morning; walking through trenches, crawling through bunkers and climbing tanks.
Since we entered we heard a constant sound of shooting. While we were walking in the trenches (at the end of the shooting range) we felt a bit weird since we walked in the direct line of the shooting range. However we were walking in trenches so we are safe right? Good thing they only shoot blanks.
We’ve gotten curious about the shooting range at decided to take a closer look. They were shooting some heavy machine guns, so let’s check it out!
At one point we heard some Belarusian screaming, everyone started running. Of course we don’t speak Belarusian so we had no idea what was going on. A few seconds later we heard a loud bang and felt the ground shaking like a bomb was being dropped. The old soviet tank which we stood next to started shooting. The Belarusian screaming was probably meaning that we had to cover our ears, Haha. The bang was so extremely loud that even a few days later my ears still hurt. Only in
Fascinated by all the craziness we decided to take a look at the “menu”.
We opted for the DShK machine gun, which is a heavy machine gun and used as a small anti-aircraft gun. After paying the man it was our turn:
Man! What a kick, I’ve done some shooting in former Soviet countries with different guns but this was crazy loud and heavy. The power released as soon as you hit the trigger makes you feel like Rambo. The shock wave from the blast almost felt like a boxing glove punching you in the face.
Filled with adrenalin and smelling like gun powered we had enough for the day. We got a Maschrutka back and 30 minutes later we were back in the city center. Time for some food and drinks while we were still on our Rambo rush.
How to get there:
There are quite a lot of tours offering to go there. But they are all quite expensive, so we decided to take an Uber there and then we would have to find our way back from there.
Since no one speaks English at the complex we resorted to google translate, and soon it became clear the Maschrutka’s (Minibusses) leave every 10 minutes just outside the park. After 10 minutes waiting, we were picked up and 30 minutes later we were back in the city center.
The Uber cost us €10,- from the center of Minsk and the Maschrutka back €2,5. (2 people). So definitely no need to take a guided tour.
For more information: https://stalin-line.by/en/
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