Minsk Travel Guide

Why? Taking a holiday in Minsk, capital of Belarus, is like whizzing back in a time machine to an Orwellian Soviet-era society where the clock stopped in the 1960s. A Minsk holiday is therefore a unique and fascinating experience.
When? The best time to travel to Minsk is during the warm summer months between May and September, when the streets are lively and outdoor cafes open their doors. Summer, however is also the wettest season, so it would be wise to pack an umbrella along with the sunglasses.
Who for? Westerners usually find a Minsk holiday a little perplexing, and it is not a city that most would choose for a romantic or relaxing break. A holiday in Minsk would appeal most to those interested in history, or fascinated by the socialist way of life, or for those who simply want to experience something different off of the usual European tourist track.
More Info: A holiday in Minsk is fraught with rules and regulations, so it is imperative that travellers know the ins and outs of Belarussian society before they go. Our comprehensive Minsk travel guide contains all the information required to ensure a trouble-free visit.

Minsk © Belarus Ministry of Foreign Affairs

Dating back to the 10th century, Minsk, capital of Belarus, is one of Europe's oldest cities, but it presents a surprisingly modern aspect today, most of its historic buildings having been flattened during World War II. After the war, during the 1950s, Minsk was rebuilt as a showpiece Soviet city, and little has changed since then. Scrupulously neat wide boulevards and squares lined with grandiose block-style buildings, interspersed with looming statues of Lenin, war memorials and Soviet symbols, set the backdrop for this city which is home to almost two-million people, on the banks of the Svisloch River.

Visitors to Minsk will find it hard not to be struck by the simple pride and joy the local citizens take in their city, where the interiors and style are a somewhat 'over-the-top' and often kitsch attempt at modern sophistication. There are nightclubs and casinos full of mirrors and lights; restaurants with steel and glass levels; theatres oozing baroque both on and off-stage; and a variety of incredibly themed health spas (called 'saunas') where waterfalls cascade into indoor pools. It all adds up to a fascinating experience, which visitors either love or hate, but cannot fail to appreciate.

The present in Minsk is interesting, but so is the past. Because of its central eastern location between Poland and Ukraine, this city has been a European battleground over the centuries, suffering at the hands off the Russian Tsar's troops in the 1600s, Peter the Great and Sweden in the 1700s, Napoleon and then Hitler. Perhaps it is not surprising that the city is seemingly content under communism-inspired rule after all it endured with imperialism.

Our Travel Expert

Andrei Burdenkov is a Minsk native and a certified self-employed tour guide with www.minskguide.travel.

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