Minsk

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Minsk Travel Guide

City Map

City Introduction

Minsk is a capital with beautiful Soviet city planning counting a grand general city plan with imposing quality buildings. Add old churches, green parks, interesting museums and a lovely atmosphere, and then you got some of the experiences that await visitors to the Belarusian city.

Minsk’s location on the large wooded plains has, throughout the city’s history, caused one devastating attack by neighboring countries after another. The city has always recovered, and nowhere else in the world is it possible for visitors to see a 1000 year old city that was almost completely destroyed within the last 100 years and rebuilt with great enthusiasm and efficient Soviet urban planning.

Independence Square and Boulevard are some of the most impressive city spaces in Minsk’s grand design. As a distinguished symphony, the buildings along the long boulevard form a striking setting that develops from neighborhood to neighborhood, and with the illumination in the evening, the sights almost becomes even better.

Not far from the fine architectural works of the Soviet and Belarusian era you can see many preserved and rebuilt houses and churches from Minsk’s past history. They contrast the newer parts of the city and it makes an interesting cocktail from an architectural perspective.

Top Attractions

Government Building, Minsk

  • Government Building/Дом правительства: The Belarusian government building is located on the north side of Independence Square. It was built in modernism in the years 1930-1934, and it is one of the few buildings in this area that was not destroyed during World War II. There is a statue of Lenin in front of the building.
  • Independence Boulevard/пр. Независимости: The impressive Independence Boulevard was laid out and developed after the Second World War destruction of Minsk, where only a few buildings in the center were intact. The boulevard is an impressive piece of Soviet planning and architecture.

City Hall, Minsk

  • City Hall/Ратуша: Minsk City Hall is designed as a representative office for the Minsk City Council. A museum has also been set up in the town hall building, which holds a copy of the Minsk Magdeburg rights from 1499.
  • Freedom Square/Площадь Свободы: Freedom Square is the central square in the so-called Upper Town, which belongs to the oldest parts of the city. The site was established in the 16th century as the city’s political, cultural and financial center.

Holy Spirit Cathedral, Minsk

  • Cathedral of the Holy Spirit Cathedral/Свято-духов кафедральный собор: The Holy Spirit Cathedral was built in 1633-1642 but after a fire in 1741 it was reconstructed. Today you can see a number of nice icons in the church from the Moscow Academy. A special shrine is the Icon from Minsk, which was named after its discovery in the city around the year 1500.
  • October Square/Октябрьская площадь: October Square is Minsk’s central square and one of the most impressive in its monumental setting with the many prominent buildings. The square was developed in the years 1949-1950.
  • Palace of the Republic/Дворец Республики: The Palace of the Republic is located in the middle of October Square. It opened in 2001 after 15 years of construction. The floor plan has impressive dimensions, as has the building itself with 45 meters/148 feet above street level and 20 meters/66 feet below. Among other things, the palace houses one of Minsk’s most distinguished concert halls.

Other Attractions

City Gates, Minsk

  • The City Gates/Ворота города: The city gates is the name of two symmetrical buildings from the time with Soviet classicism in the years after World War II. With symmetry the city gates face the main railway station, and they are the first thing to see on arrival by train to Minsk.
  • KGB’s Building/здание КГБ: This temple-like neoclassical building with the Corinthian portal is the former headquarters of the Soviet KGB in Minsk. Today, the subsequent Belarusian organization works under the same name.

Independence Square, Minsk

  • Independence Square/Пл. Независимости: The impressively large Independence Square is dominated by Soviet classicist post-war architecture, but there are also pre-World War II buildings. The square is 500 meters/1,600 feet long and is one of the largest in Europe.
  • Rakov District/Раковское предместье: The Rakov district is centrally located in Minsk and offers street scenes from the 19th century, where the houses have partially survived the destruction of the city in the 20th century. Thus, between the many modern buildings you can walk around a few streets with low houses.

St Simon & Helena Church, Minsk

  • Church of St. Simon and Helena/Костёл Святого Симеона и Святой Елены: This Catholic church is one of the most distinctive buildings in central Minsk. The red stone church with its beautiful interior dates from 1910 and is located between buildings in other architectural styles.
  • Lee Harvey Oswald’s Apartment/квартира Освальда: In the early 1960s, American Lee Harvey Oswald arrived in Minsk after a stay in Moscow from October 16, 1959. Oswald was enrolled in world history when he was arrested in 1963 and suspected of the murder of the United States president, John F. Kennedy. Oswald lived in Minsk in the years 1960-1962.

Minsk Opera and Ballet Theater

  • Belarus Grand Theater/Большой театр Беларуси: This is the country’s national opera and ballet theater. The theater opened in 1939 in the beautiful building of St. Petersburg architect Josef Langbard.
  • Victory Boulevard/пр. Победителей: Victory Boulevard is one of the streets that gives an impression of the modern Soviet urban planning and building style. The wide street contains both car traffic and wide sidewalks for strolls.
  • Belarusian State Museum of World War II/Белорусский Государственный музей истории Великой Отечественной войны: In 1942, a commission was set up to collect material depicting the courage and heroic deeds of the Belarusian people during the Great Patriotic War, the name of World War II in the Russian territory. The items collected were exhibited in Moscow in 1942 as a symbol of the struggle of Belarus and thus the Soviet Union.

Trinity Suburb, Minsk

  • Trinity Suburb/Троицкое предместье If Minsk has an old town, it is the part that is located to the winding flow of the Svisloch River. However, the suburb is a reconstruction and restoration that was completed in the 1980s. The work has recreated a distinguished 19th-century environment with cozy houses and cobblestones in the narrow streets, where you can find some eateries, cafes and more.
  • Island of Tears/Остров слёз: Island of Tears is located off the Trinity neighborhood and in the middle of the river Svisloch. It is designed as a memorial to fallen Belarusian soldiers in the Soviet Union’s war against Afghanistan in the years 1979-1988.
  • Maxim Gorky Park/парк им. Максима Горького: Gorky Park is the oldest park in Minsk. The park is laid out along the river Svisloch with a sidewalk at the banks. In the park there are many activities for children; hence the park’s real name, The Central Children’s Park.

Day Trips

Mir Castle, Belarus

  • Mir Castle/Мирский замок: Mir Castle is one of Belarus’s most famous and visited sights. Beautifully located down to a lake, the castle was constructed from the late 1400s to the beginning of the 1500s. Today, the castle is established as a museum, which belongs to the National Museum of Belarus.
  • The Hill of Honor/Курган Славы: Tanks, a high hill and a monument at the top form Kurgan Slavy, which is a memorial complex established in 1969 at the very place where four Soviet armies joined together to finally win against the Germans during World War II.
  • Borisov/Борисов: The historic town of Borisov is located on the Berezina River. Borisov’s old center is centered around Christ’s Resurrection Church north of the river, that winds through the city. Modern Borisov is found on the south side of the river.
  • Nesvizh/Несвиж: Nesvizh is a cozy and beautiful provincial town where you can take a nice stroll to soak up the atmosphere of the former nobility town of the powerful Radziwiłł family who built the major sights the city is known for today; the town castle and Corpus Cristi Church.

Nesvizh Castle, Belarus

  • Nesvizh Castle/Несвижский замок: The castle was completed in 1604 and the Radziwiłł family resided in the castle until 1700, when Russian forces conquered the area. In 1994 it was turned into a cultural-historical monument and a restoration started. In 2006 it was inscribed on UNESCO’s list of world heritage sites.
  • Zaslavl/Заславль: The city’s over 1000-year history can be seen in various buildings and archaeological excavations in the city’s present and also historic center. It stands as an architectural monument to traditional Belarusian culture.

Shopping

  • GUM / ГУМ, pr. Nezavisimosti 21 / пр. Независимости 21, www.gum.by
  • Impuls / Импульс, Very Horuzhei 2 / Веры Хоружей 2, www.tc-impuls.by
  • TSUM / ЦУМ, pr. nezavisimosti 54 / пр. Независимости 54, www.tsum.by
  • Na Nemige / На Немиге, Nemiga 8 / Немига 8, www.td-nanemige.by
  • Shopping streets: per. Nezavisimosti / пр. Независимости, Nemiga / Немига

With Kids

  • Botanical Gardens: Центральный ботанический сад, Surganova 2v / ул. Сурганова 2в
  • Children’s Railway: Детская железная дорога, pr. Nezavisimosti 86 / пр. Независимости 86, www.rwminsk.by/children_railway
  • Park & ​​Amusements: Центральный детский парк, парк Горького, ul. Frunze 2 / ул. 2рунзе 2
  • Amusements: Дримлэнд, ul Orlovskaya 80 / ул. Орловская 80 [вуліца Арлоўская 80] www.dreamland.by
  • Puppet Theater: театр кукол, ul. English 20 / ул. 20нгельса 20
  • Circus: Цирк, Nezalezhnosti 32 / пр. Незалежности 32
  • Zoo: Минский Зоопарк, ul. Tashkentskaya 40 / ул.Ташкентская 40, www.minskzoo.by

City History

The foundation
Minsk is founded in the important river region between the Baltic Sea and the Black Sea on the basis of a favorable trading position. Slavic tribes from the south founded many of the early Belarusian cities, including Minsk, around the 8th century.

In Kiev-Russia, battles between the nobility of Kiev and Belarus’s leading city of Polacak came, and before Minsk is mentioned for the first time in 1067, the city was attacked several times and captured in turn by local princes.

In 1084, Minsk was burned and destroyed by Kiev’s Vladimir Monomakh.

Fighting for the Belarusian Territory
In the years that followed, the current Belarusian territory was divided into smaller principalities, Minsk became its own territory in 1104 and an alliance between Minsk and the Duchy of Lithuania emerged, though still with Kiev as a power factor. Kiev’s power in the area was broken when Khan Batu invaded Kiev in 1240. In 1241, Minsk fell victim to the Tatars’ looting.

In 1499, Minsk acquired Magdeburg’s market town rights, which meant a growth in commerce as well as the cultural development of the citizens. Six years later, in 1505, the city was attacked by Khan Makhmet-Girey of the Crimean Khan.

Development and invasions
In the 1600s, Minsk and much of present-day Belarus entered Poland, which lasted until 1793, when Poland was divided. Minsk subsequently became part of the Russian Empire.

Throughout the 1600s-1700s, Minsk had suffered from its location on the flat land between the great powers Poland and Russia. Both during the war in 1654-1667 between the two countries and during the Great Nordic War in 1700-1721 Minsk was destroyed when first Sweden and then Russia conquered the city. The rebuild every time consumed the city’s resources.

The Russian czar Aleksejs troops had conquered Minsk in 1654, and when it was recovered by Poland under King Jan Kasimir in 1667, there were only about 2,000 inhabitants living in about 300 houses. The number grew steadily through the 1600s-1700s to number 7,000 people in the late 1700s.

Nineteenth-century Minsk
In 1793, Minsk and the region were annexed by Russia, and three years later the city became the administrative center of the Minsk government. The Polish past was replaced by a Russian present, for example, all street names were changed for that reason.

Minsk’s population grew to 11,000 in 1811; the year before Napoleon’s attack on Russia. Minsk and Belarus had always been a battleground for the rulers of the neighboring areas, and in the Napoleonic War it was once again besieged, shelled and looted. Napoleon’s French troops passed Minsk on their way between Paris and Napoleon’s final goal, which was Moscow.

During the French years in Minsk, there was a struggle between Polish and Belarusian forces for control of the city. Poles were hoping for a renaissance for the Kingdom of Poland, while the Belarusians had national ambitions for their country.

By the time Russia regained its territory, Minsk had once again been destroyed, and by Napoleon’s fall the population had been reduced to 3,500.

Soon after the peace, Minsk flourished again. The city had established its status as the main city, and the development came quickly. In the 1830s, the central streets and squares were paved, and through the same decade, for example, a public library, a fire station and Minsk’s first newspaper saw the light of day.

In the 1840s theaters, more schools and colleges were added, and the city established itself as a major provincial city, and the infrastructure contributed to increased growth. In 1846 the main road between Moscow and Warsaw was passed through the city, and in 1871 the railroad came along the same route. Two years later, the Baltic Sea and Ukraine were also connected to Minsk by rail.

Industrialization came with the railway, which had made Minsk a traffic hub. In the year 1900 there were 58 factories in the city, which employed a total of 3,000 people. At the same time, about 100,000 lived in the city.

Minsk in the Soviet Union
Minsk was the seat of the political movement that would later become the powerful Soviet Communist Party. The Russian Social Democrats held their founding meeting in Minsk in 1898. After the Russian Revolution of 1917, the party became the country’s political power base under its new communist name.

In 1919, Minsk became the capital of the Belarusian Soviet Republic; a status it had until the dissolution of the Union. The following came new developments; in 1929, the city’s first electric tram ran, and four years later, the city’s airport became operational.

World War I was again some years that destroyed Minsk, and this time to a degree not previously seen in the city’s hard-tried city throughout history.

When Soviet troops reached Minsk in the summer of 1944, the Belarussian capital was reduced to a smoking heap of ash and rubble. More than 80% of the city’s buildings were completely destroyed, and of the city’s 270,000 inhabitants, only 45,000 remained after the end of the war.

Reconstruction and new development
The enormous destruction suffered by the city led to considerations as to whether the capital of the Belarusian Soviet Republic should be moved to another location or rebuilt from the ashes.

The reconstruction was chosen and an incredible amount of work was initiated, which led to the result that one sees as visitors in today’s modern Minsk.

The city was built following a grand Soviet urban planning with open, wide boulevards, monumental buildings and many green parks and streets scattered throughout the capital.

In the middle of the city is the 11 km long Francyska Skaryny boulevard, which cuts through the city’s central squares. Skaryny is the magnificent street of the city plan and a prime example of so-called Stalinist Soviet architecture. The richly decorated buildings along Skaryny are obviously inspired by the grand style of ancient Rome.

Minsk today
Minsk became the capital of the new state, the Republic of Belarus in 1990, and the following year, the CIS community formed, among other things. Russia, Ukraine and Belarus. Minsk became the administrative center of the community.

Since then, there has been tremendous investment in the city, Belarus’s economic and cultural center. The historic buildings rise again, this time between modern new buildings. In the green city, for example, the 19th-century Troitskoye district was rebuilt in the old style, so historic Minsk stands side by side with modern construction from the latter half of the 20th century to the present day.

Geolocation

In short

Overview of Minsk

Minsk is a capital with beautiful Soviet city planning counting a grand general city plan with imposing quality buildings. Add old churches, green parks, interesting museums and a lovely atmosphere, and then you got some of the experiences that await visitors to the Belarusian city.

 

Minsk’s location on the large wooded plains has, throughout the city’s history, caused one devastating attack by neighboring countries after another. The city has always recovered, and nowhere else in the world is it possible for visitors to see a 1000 year old city that was almost completely destroyed within the last 100 years and rebuilt with great enthusiasm and efficient Soviet urban planning.

 

About the upcoming Minsk travel guide

  • Contents: Tours in the city + tours in the surrounding area
  • Published: Released soon
  • Author: Stig Albeck
  • Publisher: Vamados.com
  • Language: English

 

About the travel guide

The Minsk travel guide gives you an overview of the sights and activities of the Belarusian city. Read about top sights and other sights, and get a tour guide with tour suggestions and detailed descriptions of all the city’s most important churches, monuments, mansions, museums, etc.

 

Minsk is waiting for you, and at vamados.com you can also find cheap flights and great deals on hotels for your trip. You just select your travel dates and then you get flight and accommodation suggestions in and around the city.

 

Read more about Minsk and Belarus

 

Buy the travel guide

Click the “Add to Cart” button to purchase the travel guide. After that you will come to the payment, where you enter the purchase and payment information. Upon payment of the travel guide, you will immediately receive a receipt with a link to download your purchase. You can download the travel guide immediately or use the download link in the email later.

 

Use the travel guide

When you buy the travel guide to Minsk you get the book online so you can have it on your phone, tablet or computer – and of course you can choose to print it. Use the maps and tour suggestions and you will have a good and content-rich journey.

Grand Boulevards • Beautiful Squares • Churches • Museums • Parks

Overview of Minsk

Minsk is a capital with beautiful Soviet city planning counting a grand general city plan with imposing quality buildings. Add old churches, green parks, interesting museums and a lovely atmosphere, and then you got some of the experiences that await visitors to the Belarusian city.

 

Minsk’s location on the large wooded plains has, throughout the city’s history, caused one devastating attack by neighboring countries after another. The city has always recovered, and nowhere else in the world is it possible for visitors to see a 1000 year old city that was almost completely destroyed within the last 100 years and rebuilt with great enthusiasm and efficient Soviet urban planning.

 

About the upcoming Minsk travel guide

  • Contents: Tours in the city + tours in the surrounding area
  • Published: Released soon
  • Author: Stig Albeck
  • Publisher: Vamados.com
  • Language: English

 

About the travel guide

The Minsk travel guide gives you an overview of the sights and activities of the Belarusian city. Read about top sights and other sights, and get a tour guide with tour suggestions and detailed descriptions of all the city’s most important churches, monuments, mansions, museums, etc.

 

Minsk is waiting for you, and at vamados.com you can also find cheap flights and great deals on hotels for your trip. You just select your travel dates and then you get flight and accommodation suggestions in and around the city.

 

Read more about Minsk and Belarus

 

Buy the travel guide

Click the “Add to Cart” button to purchase the travel guide. After that you will come to the payment, where you enter the purchase and payment information. Upon payment of the travel guide, you will immediately receive a receipt with a link to download your purchase. You can download the travel guide immediately or use the download link in the email later.

 

Use the travel guide

When you buy the travel guide to Minsk you get the book online so you can have it on your phone, tablet or computer – and of course you can choose to print it. Use the maps and tour suggestions and you will have a good and content-rich journey.

Gallery

Gallery

Other Attractions

City Gates, Minsk

  • The City Gates/Ворота города: The city gates is the name of two symmetrical buildings from the time with Soviet classicism in the years after World War II. With symmetry the city gates face the main railway station, and they are the first thing to see on arrival by train to Minsk.
  • KGB’s Building/здание КГБ: This temple-like neoclassical building with the Corinthian portal is the former headquarters of the Soviet KGB in Minsk. Today, the subsequent Belarusian organization works under the same name.

Independence Square, Minsk

  • Independence Square/Пл. Независимости: The impressively large Independence Square is dominated by Soviet classicist post-war architecture, but there are also pre-World War II buildings. The square is 500 meters/1,600 feet long and is one of the largest in Europe.
  • Rakov District/Раковское предместье: The Rakov district is centrally located in Minsk and offers street scenes from the 19th century, where the houses have partially survived the destruction of the city in the 20th century. Thus, between the many modern buildings you can walk around a few streets with low houses.

St Simon & Helena Church, Minsk

  • Church of St. Simon and Helena/Костёл Святого Симеона и Святой Елены: This Catholic church is one of the most distinctive buildings in central Minsk. The red stone church with its beautiful interior dates from 1910 and is located between buildings in other architectural styles.
  • Lee Harvey Oswald’s Apartment/квартира Освальда: In the early 1960s, American Lee Harvey Oswald arrived in Minsk after a stay in Moscow from October 16, 1959. Oswald was enrolled in world history when he was arrested in 1963 and suspected of the murder of the United States president, John F. Kennedy. Oswald lived in Minsk in the years 1960-1962.

Minsk Opera and Ballet Theater

  • Belarus Grand Theater/Большой театр Беларуси: This is the country’s national opera and ballet theater. The theater opened in 1939 in the beautiful building of St. Petersburg architect Josef Langbard.
  • Victory Boulevard/пр. Победителей: Victory Boulevard is one of the streets that gives an impression of the modern Soviet urban planning and building style. The wide street contains both car traffic and wide sidewalks for strolls.
  • Belarusian State Museum of World War II/Белорусский Государственный музей истории Великой Отечественной войны: In 1942, a commission was set up to collect material depicting the courage and heroic deeds of the Belarusian people during the Great Patriotic War, the name of World War II in the Russian territory. The items collected were exhibited in Moscow in 1942 as a symbol of the struggle of Belarus and thus the Soviet Union.

Trinity Suburb, Minsk

  • Trinity Suburb/Троицкое предместье If Minsk has an old town, it is the part that is located to the winding flow of the Svisloch River. However, the suburb is a reconstruction and restoration that was completed in the 1980s. The work has recreated a distinguished 19th-century environment with cozy houses and cobblestones in the narrow streets, where you can find some eateries, cafes and more.
  • Island of Tears/Остров слёз: Island of Tears is located off the Trinity neighborhood and in the middle of the river Svisloch. It is designed as a memorial to fallen Belarusian soldiers in the Soviet Union’s war against Afghanistan in the years 1979-1988.
  • Maxim Gorky Park/парк им. Максима Горького: Gorky Park is the oldest park in Minsk. The park is laid out along the river Svisloch with a sidewalk at the banks. In the park there are many activities for children; hence the park’s real name, The Central Children’s Park.

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