Friday, 1 July 2016

Visiting Belarus in Second Life

Where I live in RL, Belarus is usually mentioned only in the context of its long-ruling President Lukashenko (in power since 1994!), dubbed as "Europe's last dictator." I'll be the first to admit that I know very little about the country and its history, and so I couldn't pass on the opportunity to visit Belorussian capital Minsk - in Second Life.

Landing point is a large square in front of the city's iconic social-realist government building - Independence Palace - with a large map of Belarus on the ground.

Walking down the street towards east gets you to the escalators which you can take to go inside the underground train station.

The station needs some improvement, as you can easily fall off the wall and end up on the neighbouring parcel...

...or among the dancing sirens on the level below!

Back on the ground level, I spent some time clicking on the links available on the kiosk. They all take you to various Belorussian newspapers. As a native speaker of Croatian, I was surprised by how much I could understand.

Not far from the train station is a large church with a rather colourful interior.

Back on the central square, I went to check out the Independence Palace. To be honest, it was a pleasant surprise. There's a number of galleries depicting the history of Belarus, from the medieval times until the 1990s, also showing the country's notable scientists, writers and historical figures. Interestingly, not a word of Lukashenko.

You can flick through the books and, even though everything is in Belorussian, the illustrations are quite nice.

On the other side of the city there's a monument dedicated to victory in WW2...

...and a small store where you can pick up a few Belarus-themed freebies, such as these T-shirts.

Also available there are displays of the country's postage stamps and RL clothes featuring typical Belorussian folk ornaments.

Just when I was about to TP back home, I realized there was another underground train station not far from there. Or that's what it looked like at first... When you walk down, there's actually a relatively large underground area turned into a lake. Who knew there were crocodiles in the lakes of Belarus! :D

Giving the limited size of the parcel, it's probably a good use of space, although I guess a bit different textures on the side walls would have been more effective....

All in all, Belarus in SL may not be the most visually appealing sim out there, but it is interesting and worth a visit. One thing I would definitely suggest adding are the signs and translations in English, which would make the place much more informative for those who don't understand a word of Belorussian and can't read the Cyrillic letters.

Overview of Belarus in Second Life
To visit Belarus, follow this SLurl.