Brest is a city with a long and complex history, and at different times it has been part of different countries and linked to different cultures. First mentioned in 11th century chronicles, Brest was a city in the eastern part of Kievan Rus. Later it became part of the Grand Duchy of Lithuany and eventually in the 16th century, the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth. When, in the late 18th century, the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth was partitioned between Prussia, Russia and Austria at the end of the 18th century, Brest became part of Russia on the newly created eastern border with Austria. After the first world war Poland was re-established as a country and gained control of Brest as well as most of today's western Belarus. In 1939 this area was again annexed, this time by the Soviet Union, and became part of the Byelorusian Soviet Socialist Republic. With the disintegration of the Soviet Union, Brest became a city in the modern Belarus.
The fortress is the main attraction of the city. The history of this defensive construction started in 1842 when the entire city of Brest was moved 3 kilometers east, and on its place a massive fortress was set up. The fortress made a prolonged defence against Germans in 1941 and was ruined in the result of severe battles. After the war the remains of the fortress were turned into a grandiose memorial to its defenders.
At present near 300.000 people live in Brest. It is a big economic center because it's situated on the border of Belarus and Poland. There are many beautiful new and old buildings.