From today several districts of the Grodno region are available to tourists for visa-free visits outside organized groups.
Thanks to the visa-free regime weekly hundreds of foreign visitors visit the city over the Neman . Residents of neighboring countries: Poland, Lithuania and Latvia most often come to get acquainted with Grodno and its sights. Particularly popular with them are tours in organized groups. Every Saturday, for example, only in the parking lot near the synagogue on Bolshaya Troitskaya you can see about ten buses with tourists, and this is about four hundred guests from abroad.
— With the introduction of a visa-free regime, the number of foreign guests is noticeably increasing every year. Especially popular with tourists are the city of Grodno and its environs. Since the beginning of 2019, more than 40,000 foreigners travelling without visas have been here. Nowadays, tourist programs are actively developing, for example, there are night excursions in Grodno, where tourists, walking with flashlights, learn the «dark» secrets and legends of our city. The guests are actively interested in everything related to the Belarusian culture and its identity, said the guide.
Among tourists you can meet people of different ages who have already been to Grodno and are only getting acquainted with the city.
— This is my first time in Grodno. My friends who have come here more than once spoke very warmly about this city. I must say, my ideas coincided with reality: it is really a very beautiful city, with its architecture it even resembles in some ways the small and cozy towns of Western Germany. My first impression is very good, said Michal Mitzier, a tourist from the Polish Opole.
Over the past years Grodno has changed: this applies both to the external appearance and the infrastructure for local residents and tourists.
— I visited Grodno earlier, but for a long time ago. Even then it was great and interesting. Arriving here again, she noticed that the city became even better. Many interesting places have appeared, as well as amenities for tourists: a menu in cafes and restaurants in foreign languages, more souvenir shops and shops have opened, there are much more hotels, told Ona Tsitsenene, a guest from the Lithuanian city of Alytus.
Foreigners appreciate architectural monuments, the rich history of Grodno and Belarusian national cuisine. Do not forget about souvenirs. As a rule, they willingly take Belarusian sweets, marmalade, marshmallows, kvass with them, Belarusian cosmetics and linen products, as well as souvenirs created by folk craftsmen, are in demand.
— Thanks to the visa-free regime, you can easily cross the border and get acquainted with the Belarusian culture at any time. This is my second time in Grodno. So far, this is the only city in Belarus that I visited. I like that all the attractions are located in the historical center of the city and there is no need to go far. My favorite places here are the house-museum of Eliza Orzeszko, amazed by the beauty of the Farny Church, the Holy Protection Cathedral, the Old and New Castles. In my free time I will definitely go shopping and buy Belarusian sweets, I liked them even during my first trip, said Patrick Blanja, a guest from Poland.
From 10th of November tourists will have access to the expanded visa-free zone “Grodno-Brest”. This will allow foreigners to enter and exit Belarus through any checkpoints in the Grodno and Brest regions. Thanks to the new decree, foreign guests will have more time at their disposal: travellers will be able to stay on visa-free territory for up to 15 day
By Diana Sidorkevich
Photos were taken by Vadim Golotik