Svabody Square is one of the central squares of the city since the 16th century. This is where the stone-and-brick Minsk originated. In the 16th century the square's name was Upper Marketplace. At the middle ages there was a place for Magistrate - the main municipal body. Swedish king Carl XII the Great, Ukraine duke Ivan Mazepa, Napoleon's general Davou, almost all Russian imperators, and a founder of an independed Poland Jozef Pilsudsky - all of them used to stay over here. The square turned into Sobornaya (Synod's) in the 19th. During World War II the square was almost completely demolished and lost its significance.
Nowadays the majority of the buildings are reconstructed. Among them are the City Hall, Gostiny dvor and the Holy Spirit Church.
The Roman Catholic Cathedral of Saint Virgin Mary is also worth looking with its attached former Jesuit College. Behind the Catholic Cathedral preserved Orthodox Cathedral of the Holy Spirit and buildings of former monasteries and convents. On the square there is also a small but nice park.