Grodno

Grodno (Belarusian: Hrodna, Russian: Grodno) is a city in Belarus. It is located on the Neman River, close to the borders of Poland and Lithuania (about 20 km and 30 km away respectively).

Understand

This is a very pleasant town with a nice pedestrian area and central square worth a visit if you are in Belarus, but it may remind you more of western Europe than the former Soviet Union until you get out of the centre.

Get in

By train

The train station at Grodno is where the change of car trucks (wheels and axles) takes place to accommodate different track gauges on east and west routes. It is a place of almost terrifying size, disorder and noise.

Carriages are uncoupled from the others and, in turn, lifted about ten feet as the trucks are changed. This is done without notice and while the operation takes place one has a good view of the acres of rusted, obsolete and unused equipment that litters the area.

Domestic trains from Minsk are daily, departing 4:22PM taking five hours, with several night trains.

There are several international trains from Russia, the one from Moscow is daily and for a 16 h journey. From Saint Petersburg there is up to three departures a week taking 22 h. During summer additional routes are added, Odessa (39 h) via Kiev, Simferopol (37.5 h) and Sochi (62 h). From Poland, you can take train in Białystok. There is two direct trains per day, at 06:50 AM and at 19:02 PM. A ticket is about 20 zlotys.

Note that cigarette smuggling is very common, and many people will be doing it.

By car

Roads are pretty good, you can easily get here from Minsk, Brest, Vilnius (Lithuania), Białystok, Warsaw (Poland).

Be aware of borders, and possible waiting in line (especially on the Polish border Kuznica-Bruzgi or, with usually smaller lines, Berestavitsa).

By bus

There are a lot of buses from Minsk (costs around 45,000 rubles for the express route, which takes 4 h) from Vostochnyj Station or from Druzhnaya Station (behind the main train station), few from Brest (the same price), few from Vilnius, one bus from Warsaw (departure around 10-11AM from Warszawa-Stadion station; a few buses from Moscow.

Get around

There are plenty of buses and trolley buses going around town. In the evenings though, they get down to travelling on the outskirts once an hour or two. A ticket for a trip costs 1300 rubles ($0.20 US). Buy the tickets from kiosks near the bus stops. If you speak no Russian, just say "Talony," and hold up fingers to indicate how many.

When you get on the bus, find a grey metal device that they have near the windows, put your ticket in and clamp down on it with a little lever next to it. Then, it is validated and if a ticket controller comes in, you will get no fine.

Taxis are cheap and plentiful: taxi trips within the city cost about 50,000 rubles (about 3,60 €).

See

Church of the Discovery of the Holy Cross

  Kalozha Church (Sts. Boris and Gleb Church). A 12th-century Orthodox church, one of the few surviving monuments of the Old Rus period in the country.

  St. Francis Xavier Cathedral. A fine Baroque basilica, once a church of a Jesuit monastery, now the city's Roman Catholic cathedral.

  Old Hrodna Castle. The present appearance of this royal residence was mostly shaped in 16th century, when it was renovated in Renaissance fashion for King Stephen Bathory. Only a few elements of the previous Gothic castle survive.

  Fire Tower. The old Fire Tower built at the end of 19th century. Every day at midday a trumpeter dressed in historic costume goes 120 stairs up and plays a tune on the top of the tower. Interestingly, a fresco on the tower has a lady with the face of Mona Lisa.

  Hrodna Zoo. Hrodna Zoo is situated next to the railway station. It was the first Belarusian Zoo opened in 1927. There are over 300 kinds of animals in the Zoo nowadays: predators, small predators, hooted animals, birds and a terrarium. Total area is 5.35 ha.

Eat

Mid-range

Sleep

A good way to find cheap accommodation is to rent an apartment for a short period. You can find ads in newspaper Iz ruk v ruki or on website (in Russian)

Mid-range

Splurge

Go next

This article is issued from Wikivoyage - version of the Monday, October 19, 2015. The text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike but additional terms may apply for the media files.