As a theatre starts with the coat-check room, cities begin with their stations. Speaking more broadly, the transport system forms the ‘face’ of a city. In this respect, Minskers are lucky, as anyone who has ever witnessed a Moscow or Kiev traffic jam can easily confirm.
However, our capital is ever expanding. It can be a true challenge to get around during rush hour. As the President of Belarus, Alexander Lukashenko, has noted, we must act quickly. In support of these words, he visited the reconstructed Tsentralny bus station to launch this joint project of the Minsk City Executive Committee and the Railway and made a short trip on an urban Swiss-made electric train.
The major construction site has attracted attention in the centre of the city for the past four years. Tsentralny bus station has acquired a new ‘face’, with work now completed. The unique complex is open at last, offering access to the train station and, by November, a business centre and parking.
The site is a landmark for Belarus, being the first European level complex of its kind in the country, as specialists assert. Initially, it was to open in November but, on the eve of City Day, the bus station was unveiled, making a worthy present for the capital’s birthday. Its four storey building resembles an express train.
The Ivan Vinogradov Studio designed the architectural appearance of the new station, with construction overseen by the Miaton company. Its Director, Alexander Kunitsky, admits that they are pleased with the results. It’s hard to argue on viewing the beautiful building, which received over $55m in investments. The Director of the Minsk Bus Station’s branch, Alexander Buslyuk, is also satisfied and transport staff are now taking up residence in their wonderful new workplace.
From now on, Tsentralny will operate as an international bus station, receiving its first passengers at platforms and ticket offices. Work continues on cafes, restaurants, shops and multi-level parking for the eye-catching building. It stands in Privokzalnaya Square and is certainly a calling card for the Belarusian capital.
As regards the urban electric train, the first stage of the project is now complete. The President travelled from the railway station to Zhdanovichi to sample the new development. In the coming five years, urban trains are to connect Minsk with more neighbouring suburbs, in addition to Smolevichi (an upcoming city-satellite).