About the city

Borderline city of Brest (1019) is one of the oldest cities in Belarus. According to the legend, the name "Berestye" is associated with a birch rind –bark. Once, a rich merchant settled here with his a squad. Driving with the goods, he paved the swamp with birch logs, built a temple of Veles, and named the place Beresten (Berest).

Originally the town was a fortress. Through Berestye the trade routes went from the Kievan Rus' to the Baltic States and Western Europe. For many centuries the city developed into a major cultural and commercial center. Everything that happened in Ancient Rus', in Russia, Ukraine, Baltic lands, Poland and in Europe reflected on its fate.

In 1390 Berestye was the first city in Belarus which obtained Magdeburg rights. King of Poland - Jagailo and Prince of Lithuania - Vitautas in 1409 discussed in this land plan of a general battle with the Crusaders. In 1553 the headman of Berestye Nikolaj "the Black" Radzivil founded the first printery in Belarus. Church Council in 1596 proclaimed the union of the Orthodox and Catholic churches in Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth Rzecz Pospolita. In March 1918, at the White Palace the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk was signed.

In the Middle Ages the city was located on the islands, formed by the river Mukhavets at the confluence in the Western Bug. But at the beginning of the 19-th century old city was demolished and rebuilt 2-3 km upstream, to the east on the right bank of the river Mukhavets. And at former  place of the city in 1842 the legendary Brest Fortress was built.

During the Second World War – on June 22nd, 1941 - Brest fortress and the garrison were among the first to hold the defense against he enemies. Surrounded by enemies, deprived of food and water, Brest fortress continued to fight until the end of July 1941. For courage and heroism during the Second World War in 1965 the citadel was awarded with the title "Hero-Fortress". Bastions, forts, ruins of buildings become part of the memorial which was dedicated to the heroic defense.

After the war the town was completely rebuilt and renovated. In the 60-90-years of the twentieth century Brest was one of the fastest growing and developing cities in the Soviet Union.

And nowadays Brest has not lost its role in historical events that determine the fate of nations and people. In 1991 in the government residence Viskuli in the Bialowiezha Forest (just an hour away from Brest), heads of Belarus, Russia and Ukraine decided to terminate the existence of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics and signed the Agreement establishing the Commonwealth of Independent States.

The geopolitical position of Brest at all times of the city created favorable conditions for the international cooperation. Here, in 1997, the first free economic zone in the country - "Brest"- was formed. It is located in the northwestern part of the city. In Brest, every year an international interdisciplinary exhibition and fair "Commonwealth" take place.

Modern Brest is a large administrative, industrial, transport and sport center - the western gate of the Republic of Belarus, which is always open for guests!