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Minsk is the capital and largest city of Belarus, situated on the Svislach and Nyamiha rivers. It is the administrative centre of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS).
80% of the city was detroyed during World War II and population was reduced to a 50,000.
City is rebuilt in 1950s by Stalinist architecture, which favoured grand buildings, broad avenues and wide squares. Subsequently, the city grew rapidly as a result of massive industrialisation.
Large Soviet-Bloc style "palaces" make up a portion of the city centre. For this reason Minsk is a wonderful place to visit for those interested in the Soviet Union who want to see it almost alive.
|TIME ZONE :||FET (UTC+3)|
|LANGUAGE :||Belarusian, Russian|
|RELIGION :||Eastern Orthodox 80%, Others (Catholic, Jewish, and Muslim) 20 %|
|AREA :||409.5 km2 (158.1 sq mi)|
|ELEVATION :||280.6 m (920.6 ft)|
|COORDINATES :||53°54′N 27°34′E|
|SEX RATIO :||• Male: 46.41% |
• Female: 53.59%
|ETHNIC :||Belarusian 83.7%, Russian 8.3%, Polish 3.1%, Others 4.9%|
|AREA CODE :|
|POSTAL CODE :||220001-220141|
|DIALING CODE :||+375 17|
|WEBSITE :||Official Website|
English is rarely spoken but Minsk is a wonderful place to visit.
Minsk is modern place, fashionable cafes, wonderful restaurants and crowded nightclubs vie for your attention, sushi bars and art galleries in a city centre once totally rebuild to the tastes of Stalin.
The area of today's Minsk was settled by the Early East Slavs by the 9th century AD. By 980, the area was incorporated into the early medieval Principality of Polatsk, one of the earliest East Slav states.
During World War II The city was the centre of German resistance to the Soviet advance and saw heavy fighting during the first half of 1944. Factories, municipal buildings, power stations, bridges, most roads and 80% of the houses were reduced to rubble.
After the Second World War, Minsk was rebuilt by Stalinist architecture, which favoured grand buildings, broad avenues and wide squares.
Throughout the 1990s, after the fall of Communism, the city continued to change. As the capital of a newly independent country, Minsk quickly acquired the attributes of a major city. Embassies were opened, and a number of Soviet administrative buildings became government centres. During the early and mid-1990s, Minsk was hit by an economic crisis and many development projects were halted, resulting in high unemployment and underemployment. Since the late 1990s, there have been improvements in transport and infrastructure, and a housing boom has been underway since 2002.
Minsk has a warm summer hemiboreal humid continental climate. The average January temperature is −4.5 °C (23.9 °F), while the average July temperature is 18.5 °C (65.3 °F).
Throughout the year, most winds are westerly and northwesterly, bringing cool and moist air from the Atlantic. Similar climatic regimes are found in Stockholm, Sweden and in Halifax, Canada.
Climate data for Minsk
|Record high °C (°F)||10.3|
|Average high °C (°F)||−2.1|
|Daily mean °C (°F)||−4.5|
|Average low °C (°F)||−6.7|
|Record low °C (°F)||−39.1|
|Source #1: Pogoda.ru.net|
|Source #2: NOAA|
Minsk is located on the southeastern slope of the Minsk Hills, a region of rolling hills running from the southwest (upper reaches of the river Nioman) to the northeast – that is, to Lukomskaye Lake in northwestern Belarus. The average altitude above sea level is 220 metres (720 ft).
Minsk is in the area of mixed forests typical of most of Belarus. Pinewood and mixed forests border the edge of the city, especially in the north and east. Some of the forests were preserved as parks (for instance, the Chelyuskinites Park) as the city grew.
The city was initially built on the hills, which allowed for defensive fortifications, and the western parts of the city are the most hilly.
Minsk is the economic capital of Belarus. It has developed industrial and services sectors which serve the needs not only of the city, but of the entire nation. Minsk's contributions form nearly 46% of Belarusian budget.
Minsk is the major industrial centre of Belarus.Today the city has over 250 factories and plants.
Minsk is divided into 9 administrative districts:
Centralny, or "Central District".
Zavodzki, or "Factory district"
A lot of places are appointed with WiFi hotspots but you have to buy a card and go through the login routine to get online. There are a few internet cafes in the Minsk but you’re more likely to be able to access the internet from your hotel’s Wi-Fi.
The country calling code to Belarus is: 375. To make international calls from Belarus it is necessary to dial 8, wait for a tone, then dial 10.
Prices in Minsk
MARKET / SUPERMARKET
|Beer (domestic)||0.5 l||€0.85|
|Bottle of Wine||1 bottle||€6.50|
|Dinner (Low-range)||for 2||€15.00|
|Dinner (Mid-range)||for 2||€26.00|
|Dinner (High-range)||for 2||€35.00|
|Mac Meal or similar||1 meal||€4.65|
|Beer (Imported)||0.33 l||€2.35|
|Beer (domestic)||0.5 l||€1.35|
|Coctail drink||1 drink||€5.70|
|Men’s Haircut||1 haircut||€4.80|
|Mobile (prepaid)||1 min.||€0.03|
|Pack of Marlboro||1 pack||€0.90|
|Toilet paper||4 rolls||€0.70|
CLOTHES / SHOES
|Jeans (Levis 501 or similar)||1||€65.00|
|Dress summer (Zara, H&M)||1||€46.00|
|Sport shoes (Nike, Adidas)||1||€86.00|
|Local Transport||1 ticket||€0.28|
36 $ per day
Estimated cost per 1 day including:
- meals in cheap restaurant
- public transport
- cheap hotel
106 $ per day
Estimated cost per 1 day including:
- mid-range meals and drinks
Transportation - Get In
- National Airport Minsk (IATA:MSQ , formerly known as Minsk-2) (37 km east of the city border), , fax: .International flights arrive here. If you are applying for a visa in Minsk Airport, or just landing there, it's important to know several tips about insurance, visa office and passport control. Spacious terminal building is impressive from outside, yet its interior and infrastructure are ideal examples of poor USSR-style design that renders the quiet airport with very sparse traffic ugly and inconvenient. - After passing the customs (first comes the Visa Office on the second floor, second - passports control, third - customs control), you find yourself in one of the dim arrival halls on the ground level. Each of the two halls offers a currency exchange booth (only one of them functions - the one in sector 5-6, 24/7 but with lots of stupid "technical breaks"), a newspaper kiosk in sector 5-6, 3rd floor, and lots of private taxi drivers. ATMs are few and badly marked, but they do help avoiding queues at the exchange booths. Car rentals (Sixt and Europcar) are located at the sector 5-6, on the far left. Departure hallon the third floor is brighter and more comfortable, with a 24/7 restaurant and few other places to eat (open 9—21) as well as a small souvenir shop and a bank office.
Flight connections to Minsk are somewhat scarce. Belavia operates regular flights to Moscow (6 times a day), Saint Petersburg and Kaliningrad(1-2 flights a day) as well as Tbilisi, Prague, Kiev, and Riga. It also has flights to major European airports, but none of these destinations are served on an everyday basis. Alternatively, you can fly to Minsk with Aeroflot (Moscow, twice a day), Lufthansa (Frankfurt, 1-2 times a day), Austrian Airlines (Vienna, twice a day), LOT (Warsaw, once a day), and Aerosvit (Kiev, once a day). Although low-cost airlines do not serve Minsk, most of the available carriers offer cheap tickets every now and then. If you are unable to find a cheap ticket or a suitable connection, consider flying to Vilnius, Moscow, or Warsaw and traveling to Minsk by train. However, the overland travel may require an additional visa and generally causes more bother than the arrival by plane.
Upon departure, you have to go through a very slow security control before you are allowed to check-in. The area behind the check-in features several duty-free shops and pricey bars with limited choice of snacks. The whole terminal is covered by decent wireless internet from Beletelecom, but you have to purchase an access card (very cheap, though) at their office or at the newspaper kiosk in the departure hall (before check-in).
Getting to the city by public transport is a tough job. The airport is served by regular buses that run every 45–60 minutes from Moskovsky or Vostochny bus terminals. The bus stop is well hidden so that many passengers do not even know about it. In the arrival hall, you won't find a single sign indicating the buses, but don't be confused: the bus stop does exist! It's next to the terminal, close to the exits 3-4, and marked by a small plate with the timetable written in Russian. The buses are punctual, and bring you to the city in 30 min for 5000 rubles. Tickets are purchased from the driver. You can go to any of the bus terminals, but it is advisable to get off at the subway station Uruchye and continue to the city centre by subway (as most people do). On the way back to the airport, leave the subway station through the front exit, turn right, and find the outermost bus stop. There is again a small, well-hidden plate with a timetable. The schedule is also available on-line, (type НАЦ АЭРОПОРТ МИНСК in the search form). Alternatively, travel to Moskovskaya Metro Station, walk forward for 500 meters and turn right to arrive at Moskovsky Bus Station.
Unless you are prepared to a strenuous search for the bus, taxi is the only option. There is no official taxi service, yet private drivers abound. The ride to the city centre shouldn't cost more than €25—30, and bargaining is recommended. If you prefer official service, call a taxi from any company in the city and pay the same price. To reach the airport by car, leave the city by Nezalezhnasti Avenue and follow the M2 highway.
- Minsk-1 (close to the centre). This is an old airport . The airfield is still in operation and, until recently, was used for domestic flights. Unless the airport is permanently closed, it might be interesting to visit the terminal building, a fine example of Stalinist architecture, and watch small airplanes scattered around the airfield.
Visa on arrival
Travelling by plane is much easier, and some can get a visa upon arrival! Check local embassy websites for details. But beware, getting a visa at the airport is 3 times more expensive than getting it in advance at the Belarusian Embassy in your country or another country. Detailed price-tag is available from the Belarus Foreign Ministry website. Only if there is no such embassy, you will be charged the normal visa fee. If your travel is arranged with a Belarusian Agency, the procedure may be well planned for you - the original of the tourist invitation letter will be delivered to the Minsk Airport Consulate (don't forget to bring one passport size photo). Sometimes the Consulate people speak several languages.
- Avtovokzal Vostochny bus station (а/в "Восточный"), Vulitsa Vanieyeva 34 (Trolleybuses 41д, 15, 30, 36, 19, 41, 49; Bus 55, 84д, 2с, 84, 93, 127 to Stop «Восточный ав» or A taxi cost 10 000 rubles (less than €4) to/from downtown), 8 902 101 41 14, e-mail:[email protected]. There are several bus routes from Vilnius central bus station to here. The bus also drops passengers off outside the railway station (look out for two Stalinist towers) in the centre before proceeding to the Vostochny (Eastern) station. The bus service takes up to 5 hours and costs around 36 litas; be prepared to spend more than 1.5 hours at the border. Due to the bad quality of the train service, the bus is preferable. - International ticket office: "Vostochny" Bus Terminal - tel.: +375 17 3680628
- "Tsentralnyi" Bus Terminal (автовокзал "Центральный"), Babrujskaja vulica (ул. Бобруйская), 6 (M: 'Lenin Square' (Площадь Ленина) 0.5km or Trolleybuses 44, 4, 7, 36 or Buses 46, 78, 958, 102, 123, 300э to Stop «а/в "Центральный"», - Next to), , fax: , e-mail:[email protected]. International ticket offices: tel.: +375 17 3285605. - Buses to Augsburg (daily), Airport Minsk-2, Baranovichi,Brest, Bystrica, Warsaw, Vilnius hourly, Vitebsk, Gomel, Grodno,Munich
- Bus station Karbyshava, vulica Karbyšava. For suburban buses
Driving in, while possible, requires knowledge of the border system. This is a border of European Union, so control is very strict. Crossing it can take 2 hours. They may check your bags. Without knowledge of Russian, Belarusian or Polish, this can be very hard. There is a very long line of cars at every border crossing. However, if you have passport, VISA and car registration papers prepared, act honest and helpful and arrives as a tourist in a personal car the border crossing can go very smoothly and be over within 45 minutes.
Transportation - Get Around
Central part of Minsk is easily manageable on foot. A hand-drawn panoramic English-language map of the centre which shows every building individually is available from bookshops and kiosks. It also has a conventional map showing more of Minsk and some tourist information. It is worth buying a copy as early on in your visit as you can because it makes getting around on foot easy and fun.
Public transportation which consists of buses, trams and subway is cheap and reliable. The Minsk Metro is noted for being clean and safe. Additionally, each metro station is decorated uniquely. For instance, the station at Oktober square is decorated in the theme of the Communist Revolution. The station at Victory square is decorated in a victory theme, and the Lenin Station includes a bust of Lenin and a host of hammer and sickle reliefs.
The subway is the most reliable transport system in Minsk. It consists of two lines crossing at the very city centre, the red line runs from the northeast to the southwest (currently being expanded with three more stations) while the blue line runs from the west to the southeast. Trains depart every 3 min and are almost never late. You can buy tokens at a window inside the station. One ride costs 3,700 rubles (as of March 2014), but if you speak no Russian, just give 7400 rubles and stick 2 fingers up. Make sure you hold on because it goes very fast. For those staying a week or longer, a 10-day or a 14-day pass may be a good option.
Taxis are cheap as well. You will notice 70,000 rubles will already be on the meter. Like Russia there are no taxi ranks although you can usually find them outside the train station and can order one from the airport. You can get a local English-speaking taxi driver by phoning +375 297 777 313
- BEST RATED -
- BEST VALUE -
Local goods are usually rather good quality, and there are several things that are worth buying. Some wool and linen clothes - you can get very good stuff for little money. Linen in all forms is a special bargain.
Women's housery Milavitsa, is widely known across former USSR. It's good quality, and cheap as well.
Various types of cosmetics - firstly brand-name, are called "O2".
Vodka produced by Brest spirit factory easily outperforms Stolichnaya, Absolut or Smirnoff. Generally, the Minsk Airport has a very reliable duty-free shop with rich choice of fragrances, spirits and souvenirs. There is no sense to get international brands- usually it costs 20-50% more than European average.
- Stolitsa, Nezalezhnasti pl (centrally located).
- GUM department store, Praspekt Nezalezhnasti 23. built in the 50s, Socialist Realist classic
- TSUM department store, Praspekt Nezalezhnasti 54.
- Podzemka Bookshop, Praspekt Nezalezhnasti 43. An underground bookshop-cum-art gallery.
- Suvenirnaja Lavka, Vulitsa Maxima Bahdanovicha 9. A souvenir type shop with straw crafts, wooden boxes, embroidered linen & Belarusian alcohol.
- Central Bookshop (Tsentralnaja Kniharnya), Praspekt Nezalezhnasti 19. The largest bookshop in the city, some English language novels, guidebooks and stationary. Also posters of Belarusian president Alexander Lukashenko.
Belarusian cuisine is similar to that of the rest of Eastern Europe but particularly Russian and Ukrainian. Generally it features heavy-fat potato dishes, mushrooms, soups and baked meat. - The quality of Western European cuisine (Italian, French...) is not amazing. The average level of cafes and restaurants is low but there are several good places in the centre. The price of a meal at these places should cost between 20,000 and 40,000 rubles.
- Freskee Cafe, Nezalezhnasti pr. 18. Café with a large choice of main dishes.
- McDonald's (corner of Pr. Nezalezhnasti and Vul. Lenina and several other locations). In most cities, McDonald's doesn't deserve or require a special listing. Minsk, however, is the capital of a country often described as having forgotten about the end of the Soviet Union. Nothing could be further from the truth, and the two prominent McDonald's restaurants in downtown Minsk are clear signs that Belarus has in fact changed a lot since the end of the cold war. Food is the same as in McDonald's restaurants around the world.
- Dzhomalungma Indian, Vulitsa Gikalo 17. Huge menu with an array of cuisines: Nepalese, Tibetan, Sushi & Indian. Vegetarians and vegans should also be able to find something here. Mains from BR8,000 to BR30,000.
- Gourman trattoria (Гурман), ul. Kommunisticheskaya 7 (close to Grand Opera Theater). Styled as an Italian trattoria, the place serves Belarusian and European cuisine. English menu available.
- Kuchmistr (Кухмістр), Karla Marksa 40, . Belarusian and Lithuanian cuisine.
- Taj restaurant, Vulitsa Romanovskaya Sloboda 26. Open Noon-Midnight. North Indian restaurant. There should be an English menu available. Indian dance group on weekends. Vegetarian dishes start from around BR60,000 and mains from BR120,000.
- National Food (Trinity Suburb). Not the restaurant's real name but this place has "National Food" on the front in big English letters so should be easy to find. It has a large menu of traditional food available in English, including a couple of vegetarian options. The food really sticks to your ribs. They also sell honey-flavoured kvass. Mains BR20,000 to BR30,000.
- Vasil'ki (Васильки), 16 Nezalezhnasti Av., (029) 706-44-52. 8–23. Bucolic style and good local fare. They also serve decent breakfasts. More restaurants of the same name can be found at 37 Yakuba Kolasa St. (metro station Akademiya Nauk) and 89 Nezalezhnasti Av. (metro station Park Chelyuskintsev).
Coffe & Drink
- Beze Cafe, Praspekt Nezalezhnasti. Viennese style café with a great bakery and light snacks.
- Grand Cafe, Vulitsa Lenina 2, . 12-12. A high end restaurant on Lenin Street. Try the roasted duck or salmon with asparagus. They offer a no smoking section, menu's in English and most of the servers speak good English, too. Making a reservation is recommended, especially on weekends.
- London, Pr. Nezalezhnasti (close to KGB headquarters, on the other side of the street). This friendly little café, in the shadow of the KGB headquarters, offers a wide range of teas, free wi-fi, seating outdoors (with heaters) and a small cozy room upstairs where it's possible to sit and talk in a relatively private setting.
- Golden Coffee, Pr. Nezalezhnasti 18, . 7a - 2a. This cafe is on the main strip and one of the few that has both an outside and inside patio. And it is THE place to see and be seen. The food is exquisite and they provide free wifi (till 6PM when it automatically goes off for some reason). Also two other locations.
Sights & Landmarks
- St Mary Magdalene Church (Tsarkva Svyatoi Maryi Magdaleny, Belorusian: Царква Сьвятой Марыі Магдалены), Vulica Kisialiova (вуліца Кісялёва) 42 (Buses 39, 18, 26, 44, 136, 29, 29н or Trams3, 4, 5; all to Stop «Театральная»). It was built in 1847 in the Russian Revival style, with a pointed octagonal bell tower over the entrance.
- Sts Peter & Paul Church(Православная церковь Петра и Павла), Vulitsa Rakovskaja 4 (Metro: Nemiga). Built in 1613 and restored in 1871, it is the oldest church in Minsk. It is worthwhile to go inside.
- Sts Simon & Helena Church (Russian: Костёл святых Семёна и Елены, Belorusian: Касьцёл Сьвятых Сымона і Алены), Vulitsa Sovietskaja 15. The best known Roman Catholic church in the city, commonly known as the Red Church, built between 1908 and 1910 in Romanesque Revival style.
- Church of Saint Joseph (Belorusian: Касьцёл Сьвятога Язэпа,).
- Holy Spirit Cathedral, Belorusian:Кафедральны сабор Сашэсця Святога Духа, Russian: Кафедральный собор Сошествия Святого Духа.
- Catholic St. Mary church (Католический костёл Пресвятой Девы Марии).
- Church of All Saints (Vsekh Svyatykh Sobor).
- Church of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross (Касьцёл Узьвіжаньня Сьвятога Крыжа), Kaĺvaryjskaja vulica (Calvary cemetery - Metro 'Маладзёжная' 0.5km).
- Church of Holy Trinity (Saint Rochus) (Касьцёл Найсьвяцейшай Тройцы (Сьвятога Роха)), Čyrvanazornaja vulica 44/А (M Plošča Pieramohi 'Плошча Перамогi').
- Church of St. Yevfrosinya of Polotsk (Yevfrosinyi Polotskoy Sobor).
- Church of St Elizabeth Convent.
- Church of St Sophia of Slutsk (Sofia Sluckaya church).
Other interesting places
- Former Residence of Lee Harvey Oswald, Vulitsa Kamunistychnaja 4 (the bottom left apartment). Lee arrived in the Soviet Union in December 1959 willing to denounce his US citizenship and was sent to Minsk. He changed his name to Alek and married a native woman, Marina Prusakova, with whom he had a child. The young family left for the United States in June 1962.
- KGB Headquarters, Praspekt Nezalezhnasti (Проспект Независимости) 17(Metro 'Купаловская' 0.5km; or Metro 'Октябрьская' 0.6km or Bus 100 to Stop «Ленина ул.»). This impressive building, on the main street of Minsk has a façade that belies what's found within. It is somehow appropriate that in a country like Belarus, the KGB should be located in a landmark building in the centre of the capital.
You might be willing to hire a private guide when staying in Minsk or another major Belarusian city. Please note that private guides are licensed by the National Tourism Agency - and you can check the list of their names on the official website of the Agency List of private guides in Russian [www]. A licensed guide must always wear a special Badge of a licensed guide in Belarus.
Out of town
- Ozertso - Open Air Museum of Rural Architecture and Life(Aźjarco, Aziarco. Азярцо - Беларускі Дзяржаўны Музей Народнай Архітэктуры і Побыту), Aźjarco (The 203 bus from “Paŭdniova-zachodniaja” coach station goes directly to the museum. Timetable to the museum: 9:15, 12:00, 13:15, 15:50. - - Or The 402, 363, 277, 325, 357 buses from “Paŭdniova-zachodniaja” coach station to the bus stop “Pavarot na muzej”. These buses go in the direction of “Haradzišča” – 277, “Dubiancy” – 357, “kalchoz Kalinina” – 363, “Zachodnija mohilki” – 402, “Bohušava” - 325. - Timetable to the museum: 9:40, 10:00, 10:28, 11:35, 12:20, 13:10; 14:14; 14:40; 15:50; 16:30.). W-Su 10.00-18:20. 4 km west. 30 000 BYR, Cartage: - Itinerary №1: BYR10 000, - Itinerary№ 2: BYR20 000.
- Stalin's Line (30 km north-west. - 'P28' Road West side. - From Lashany village 2.2km North), , e-mail: [email protected]. A reconstructed line of defences on what once was the state border of the USSR.
- Mound of Glory (20 km east- 'P53' Road North side - Northeast 0.5km from Sloboda village). 70m high mound from 1969 commemorating Soviet soldiers who died during WW2.
- Khatyn Memorial Complex. 50 km north. A place where a village, savagely massacred in 1943 by Nazi forces, once stood.
Museums & Galleries
- Belarusian National Arts Museum (Belarusian: Нацыянальны мастацкі музей Рэспублікі Беларусь), Vulitsa Lenina 20. We-Mo 11:00-19:00. Excellent overview of fine arts in Belarus. Many art description placards in English, unlike most museums in Belarus. - More than twenty seven thousand works of art – creating twenty miscellaneous collections and comprising two main representative ones: the one of national art and the other of monuments of art of the countries and nations of the world – can be found on exposition, at the branches of the Museum and its depositories. 50,000 rubles.
- Belarusian National History Museum (Нацыянальны гістарычны музей Рэспублікі Беларусь), vul. Karla Marksa (вулiца Карла Маркса) 12 (Metro station 'Купаловская' 0.6km, 'Площадь Ленина' 0.6km), , e-mail:[email protected]. 11:00-19:00 (new visitors are not let in after 6:30PM). Here is the biggest collection of the monuments of material and spiritual culture of the Belarusian people from the ancient times to our days. Chronological frames of the museum fund are from 40, 000 B.C. to present time. Several collections of the museum are of special value: - The biggest archeological collection in Belarus. - Collection of materials on the history of primeval society includes hunting, fishing, and agricultural instruments, domestic and ritual articles, ancient works of art and adornment. - Manuscripts and block letter books. - Collection «Belarusian folk costume» features both everyday and festal, ceremonial Belarusian clothes; there are costumes of different age and social groups of population. - Collection of numismatics. - Exposition «The ancient Belarus». - Exposition «Old heraldry of Belarus». 30,000 rubles for adults.
- Belarusian Great Patriotic War Museum (Музей ВАВ, Беларускі дзяржаўны музей гісторыі Вялікай Айчыннай вайны), praspiekt Pieramožcaŭ, 8, , e-mail: [email protected]. Tu, Th-Su 10:00-18:00, We 12:00-20:00, closed Mo. A large collection of exhibits about WWII in Belarus. Adults 7.00 rubles, students 3.50 rubles, free on 1st Tuesday of a month.
- Maksim Bahdanovič Literary Museum (Літаратурны музей Максіма Багдановіча), (вул. М. Багдановіча), 7a, . 10.00–17.00. It is dedicated to the writer Maksim Bahdanovič (1891–1917).
- Art Palace (Palats Mastatsva), Vulitsa Kazlova 3. Tu-Su 10AM-7PM. Several exhibition spaces showing modern art, second hand books and antiques stalls.Admission Free.
- Mastatsky Salon, Praspekt Nezalezhnasti 12. Mon-Sat 10.00-20.00. An art gallery with local artists exhibitions and some overpriced souvenirs.
- Ў Gallery, Praspekt Nezalezhnasti (Проспект Независимости) 37a. (Metro Station «Площадь Победы»). contemporary art space, a bar, a bookstore and a souvenir shop with Belarusian design.
- National Library of Belarus (Национальная библиотека), Prospekt Nezalezhnasti (Проспект Независимости) 116 (metro station Восток 0.5km).Huge, glass and concrete rhombicuboctahedron houses a collection of over 8 million items. On 22 floors it features conference halls, 20 reading rooms and a Book Museum, on the roof there is an observation deck with good views of the city and surrounding area (accessed from outside via lift, ticket price below €1).
Things to do
- Minsk Sea (Minskoe More) (5 km north of the city centre. - Buses leave the central bus station regularly. To get there by car, head north along the P28 and lookout for signs after Ratomka village.). This is an artificial reservoir. There's a free public beach, and pedal-boat and catamaran rental.
- Minsk Zoo.
- Botanical Garden. with some 9,000 different species. Opened in 1932.
- Chelyuskinites Park (Belarusian: Парк Чалюскiнцаў, Russian: Парк Челюскинцев, pronounced [park tɕeˈlʲʉskʲintsef]), prospekt Nezavisimosti, ~91 (M Station Chelyuskinites Park «Парк Челюскинцев»). is an urban forest park in Minsk, Belarus. The park's area is 78 ha.- The park contains an amusement park. Other attractions include a Children's Railroad, operated exclusively by teenagers, and a cinema Raduga (Russian: rainbow). There is a Minsk Metro station "Park Chalyuskintsau" next to the park. The park is adjacent to the Minsk Botanical Garden.
- Children's Railroad (K. S. Zaslonov Children's Railroad in Minsk (Belarusian: Дзiцячая чыгунка (Dzitsyachaya chyhunka); Russian: Минская детская железная дорога имени К.С.Заслонова (Minskaya detskaya zheleznaya doroga imeni K.S.Zaslonova)), prospekt Nezavisimosti, ~84a(Chelyuskinites Park - M Station Chelyuskinites Park). This is a 750 mm (2 ft 5 1⁄2 in) narrow gauge railroad loop passing through the Chelyuskinites Park. The railway line counts 3 stations (listed from north to south): Zaslonovo, Pionerskaya (or Pionerskaja) and Sosnovy Bor (or Sosnovyj Bor); and a pair of rail loops after the end stops.
- Gorky Park (Парк Горкага, Цэнтральны дзіцячы парк імя Максіма Горкага, Maksim Gorky Central Children's Park), Vulitsa Frunze 2 (Near the Victory Square and the Yanka Kupala Park.). is a public park in Minsk, Belarus.-The park was established in 1800 under the name Governor's Garden. During the Soviet times it was renamed "парк культуры і адпачынку імя Максіма Горкага" (Park of culture and recreation after A.M.Gorky) after the famous Russian/Soviet writer Maksim Gorky. Parks with this name have been established in many cities of the Soviet Union. - A part of the park's territory is occupied by an amusement park with a 56 metre high Ferris wheel. It also has an educational observatory with planetarium. - The Ice Palace (indoors skating rink) is also located in Gorky Park. President Lukashenko, known for his hobby of ice hockey, frequents this place, at which times the access to this part of the park is closed for general public.
- Yanka Kupala Park (Парк імя Янкі Купалы) (located along Svislach river - From Metro 'Oktyabrskaya' NE 0.5km).
- Ice skating rink (Front of the Palats Respubliki). Daily 8AM-10PM. In winter there are crowds of people ice skating here. A pair of skates should cost 3000-5000 rubles to rent.
- Skiing resorts (located at Silichy and Logoisk). These are the most popular places to have a rest. They provide wide range of winter activities: skiing, snowboarding, skating, tubing etc.
Safety in Minsk
Minsk is a very safe and clean city, especially compared to neighbouring capital cities like Kiev or Moscow. Unlike most Central and Eastern European cities, there are very few homeless and drunkards wandering the streets. Although locals might insist otherwise, Minsk is a city where you really must go out of your way to find trouble, even at night. If you are in need of assistance, there is a strong police presence in the downtown area. However, their ability to speak English is in most cases severely limited.
Be careful when photographing government buildings and the Lenin monument at Independence Square. While you might be observed and kindly ushered away from the monument, photographing government buildings can lead to trouble with authorities or even arrest. Be mindful of what you are photographing.
While not seen as frequently as in Kiev, be aware of cars or delivery trucks moving on sidewalks. In some areas of Minsk parking is limited forcing drivers to maneuver and park their vehicles on pedestrian lanes.