One of the most instantly recognisable symbols of Minsk is this magnificent, gleaming, two-towered Orthodox cathedral in the heart of the city. Completed in 1642 as part of a larger ensemble to serve Bernadine nuns, consecration was delayed for 40 years because of the Muscovite invasions. In 1741 the original structure was damaged by fire but later reconstructed. The convent was closed in 1852 and the building given to the Russian Orthodox Church for use as a monastery before being closed by the Bolsheviks after the October Revolution. Today the church has been restored to its former glory. Look out for the famed Minsk Icon, supposedly dating from around 1500.