A guide to the New East
Photography

The Green Diameter: kicking back in a Soviet-era arcadia in the centre of Minsk

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The Belarusian capital of Minsk is widely known for its Stalinist architecture, but one of the most impressive infrastructural masterpieces of the Soviet era truly comes to life at the height of summer —  the Green Diameter, a vast system of artificial lakes and parks that crosses the city from north-west to south-east. The Green Diameter was designed as a large recreation zone for the city inhabitants. Work on modifying the Minsk cityscape started at the end of the 1940s, with an elaborate system of ponds and concrete waterfalls created in the middle of 1970s. The Green Diameter provides the inhabitants of numerous large housing complexes with much-needed peace and quiet. Belarusian photographer Alexandra Soldatova documented the laid-back atmosphere of hot summer days in the urban sanctuary. Today the population of Minsk exceeds two million, and these green spaces are integral to life in the capital. “The Green Diameter was planned as a centre for social communication for people of Minsk,” Soldatova says. “While it still serves this function today, its parks are more a place of solitude and escape, a palace where you can withdraw and be alone with nature.”

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