During the pre-war era Molodechno was mainly a Jewish Shtetl. After the Shoah hardly anything of this past remained. After the war the shape of the city changed dramatic not only in terms of population, but of structure as well. What we would perceive as the city centre in fact was build only after the war, whereas the historical centre now is a bit in the periphery. Moreover, Molodechno was the centre of the Molodechno Oblast', that was later incorporated into the Minsk Oblast'. Some architetonic remains of this relatively important role as a kind of local capital still can be seen in the town.
By train it's slightly more than one hour from the capital Minsk, the tickets are, as generally in Belarus, not expensive (about one Euro). There are also buses from Minsk and other towns. Travelling in the region is tricky, because public transport is very poor developed. Usually there would be connections in the morning and in the late afternoon/evening.
In Molodechno you have several bus lines. But once the buses run not too often it is easier just to walk, the town is not very big. But if you want to try your luck, here are the timetables for the busstops and here a schema of bus-lines.
The town was located in different states during its history. All of them left their cultural imprints and you can see the different layers of Russian, Polish, Nazi-German, Soviet and Belarusian heritage. It is not easy to find traces of the former Jewish Shtetl Molodechno, after the Germans had killed most of Molodechno's inhabitants for being Jewish this part of history disappeared during the Soviet times. There are some Jewish houses left and the building of a former synagogue with a car work-shop in there now. At least one mass-grave is located at the R 28 road that leads to the north (left hand when you leave the town).
Molodechno is famous for the memorial for the Soviet POWs, killed in the German Stalag 342 (ul. Zamkova 18). It's one of the rare monuments of this kind in Belarus. Unfortunately the gates usually are closed, so one can peep inside only through gates and niches in the walls. The pupils of school no. 5 are kind of "in charge" with the monument, doing research and so on, may be it is possible to get access to the monument by asking in this school (it's next to the monument).
Former Polish barracks from the inter-war era are to be found in the area of the stadium on ul. Shkalova.
What had remained of old castle a bit outside the town was destroyed during the Napoleonic war in 1812. There is a small hill left where the complex once was located (northwards on the R 28).
The Broadway of Molodechno is the ul. Prytyckoho pedestrian zone. It leads from the train station to the central square with its Lenin monument. On this street (right hand near to the central square) the Homeland Museum of the Minsk oblast' is situated. The exhibition is quite new and really nice. It covers the period from ancient times until the early 20th century, and has focusses on the different religions of the area (several Christian confessions, Jews, Moslems) and the history of crafts. Unfortunately, the annotations are exclusively in Belarusian. Still, one can get good visual impressions. The entrance fee is about 0,60 Euro.
Of course one can get everything one needs in the many shops. A modern supermarket is situated right in the centre on ul. Partizanskaya.
Eat & Drink
In the pedestrian zone there are several cafés and restaurants.
Hospitality networks are hardly known in Molodechno, the town is not a magnet for travellers. There are two or three hotels. One is the Molodechno hotel (Molodechnenskaya gostinitsa) in the city centre (Tsentral'naya ploshchad' 3). Soviet charm, clean, not too expensive (single room about €20 - 2013). The breakfast contains of three slices of white bread, a bit of cheese, butter, a tea or a coffee, and a big heap of warm porridge. Don't expect to get rid of your hunger. When booking in one should insist to get a room on the west side of the building: The east side is extremely noisy because of the traffic and youngsters meeting on the central square.
Water in Molodechno is of excellent quality, you can drink it from the tap.
Return to Minsk if you travel by public transport...