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Minsk
Мiнск, Минск

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Minsk is located in Belarus
Minsk
Location of Minsk, shown within the Minsk Voblast
Coordinates: 53°54′N 27°34′E / 53.9°N 27.567°E / 53.9; 27.567
Country
Subdivision
Belarus
Minsk
Founded 1067
Government
 - Mayor Mikalai Laduts'ka (acting) (2009-)
Area
 - Total 305.47 km2 (117.9 sq mi)
Elevation 280.4 m (920 ft)
Population (2007)
 - Total 1,830,700
 Density 6,000/km2 (15,539.9/sq mi)
Time zone EET (UTC+2)
 - Summer (DST) EEST (UTC+3)
Area code(s) +375 17

+375 29 (mobile) +375 25 (mobile Best or Life) +375 33 (mobile MTS)

+375 44 (mobile Velcom)
License plate 7
Website www.minsk.gov.by

Coordinates: 53°54′N 27°34′E / 53.9°N 27.567°E / 53.9; 27.567

Minsk (Belarusian: Мiнск, pronounced [mʲinsk]; Russian: Минск, [mʲinsk]) is the capital and largest city in Belarus, situated on the Svislach and Niamiha rivers. Minsk is also a headquarters of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS). As the national capital, Minsk has a special administrative status in Belarus and is also the administrative centre of Minsk voblast (province) and Minsk raion (district). It has a population of 1,830,000 inhabitants (2008). An urban area that includes about thirty satellite cities (e.g. Krupki) holds 3,000,000.

The earliest references to Minsk date to the 11th century (1067), when it was a provincial city within the principality of Polotsk. In 1242, Minsk became a part of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania, and it received its town privileges in 1499. From 1569, it was a capital of the Minsk Voivodship in the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth. It was annexed by Russia in 1793, as a consequence of the Second Partition of Poland. From 1919–1991, Minsk was the capital of the Byelorussian Soviet Socialist Republic.

Contents

Geography and climate

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 the Lukomskaye lake in northwestern Belarus. The average altitude above sea level is 220 m (721.78 ft). The geography of Minsk was formed during the two most recent Ice Ages. The Svislach river, which flows across the city from the northwest to the southeast, is located in the urstrohmtal, an ancient river valley formed by water flowing from melting ice sheets at the end of the last Ice Age. Minsk was initially founded on the hills. However, in the 20th century, it grew to include the relatively flat plains in the southeast. The western parts of the city are the most hilly.

Satellite view.

Minsk is located in the area of mixed forests typical for most of Belarus. Pinewood and mixed forests are still present at the edge of the city, especially in the north and east. Some of the forests were transformed into parks (for instance, the Chelyuskinites Park) as the city grew.

Minsk has a warm summer humid continental climate (Koppen Dfb), owing to its location between the strong influence of the moist air of the Atlantic Ocean and the dry air of the Eurasian landmass. Its weather is, however, unstable and tends to change often. The average January temperature is -6.1 Celsius (21 °F), while the average July temperature is 17.8 °C (64.0 °F). The lowest temperature was recorded on 17 January 1940, at −40 °C (−40 °F) and the warmest on 29 July 1936, at 35 °C (95 °F). The air is often moist, with humidity levels at 80-90%,[citation needed] especially during the cold season. There are on average 135 humid days a year, compared with only 6 dry days.[citation needed] This results in frequent fogs, common in the autumn and spring. Minsk receives annual precipitation of 646 mm (25.4 in), of which one third falls during the cold period (as snow and rain) and two thirds in the warm period. Throughout the year, most winds are westerly and northwesterly, bringing cool and moist air from the Atlantic.

Climate data for Minsk
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °C (°F) 10.3
(51)
13.6
(56)
18.9
(66)
26.0
(79)
30.9
(88)
32.5
(91)
33.9
(93)
34.6
(94)
30.3
(87)
24.7
(76)
16.0
(61)
10.3
(51)
34.6
(94)
Average high °C (°F) -2.7
(27)
-1.4
(29)
3.3
(38)
11.5
(53)
18.3
(65)
21.5
(71)
22.4
(72)
22.2
(72)
15.9
(61)
9.6
(49)
2.6
(37)
-1.0
(30)
10.1
(50)
Daily mean °C (°F) -5.4
(22)
-4.4
(24)
-0.5
(31)
6.6
(44)
12.8
(55)
16.3
(61)
17.4
(63)
16.9
(62)
11.3
(52)
6.0
(43)
0.3
(33)
-3.4
(26)
6.1
(43)
Average low °C (°F) -7.9
(18)
-7.2
(19)
-3.8
(25)
2.2
(36)
7.5
(46)
11.5
(53)
12.8
(55)
12.1
(54)
7.5
(46)
3.0
(37)
-1.8
(29)
-5.7
(22)
2.5
(37)
Record low °C (°F) -39.1
(-38)
-35.1
(-31)
-30.5
(-23)
-18.4
(-1)
-5.0
(23)
0.0
(32)
3.8
(39)
1.7
(35)
-4.7
(24)
-12.9
(9)
-20.4
(-5)
-30.6
(-23)
-39.1
(-38)
Precipitation mm (inches) 40
(1.57)
34
(1.34)
42
(1.65)
42
(1.65)
62
(2.44)
83
(3.27)
88
(3.46)
72
(2.83)
60
(2.36)
49
(1.93)
52
(2.05)
53
(2.09)
677
(26.65)
Source: Pogoda.ru.net[1] 19.09.2009

History

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Early history

The Saviour Church (1577) is part of an archaeological preservation in Zaslavl, 23 km (14 mi) northwest of Minsk.

The area of today's Minsk was settled by the Early East Slavs by the 9th century. The Svislach River valley was the settlement boundary between two Early East Slavs tribes - the Krivichs and Dregovichs. By 980, the area was incorporated into the early medieval Principality of Polatsk, one of the earliest East Slav states. Minsk was first mentioned in the name form Měneskъ (Мѣнескъ) in the Primary Chronicle for the year 1067 in association with the Battle on the river Nemiga.[2] 1067 is now widely accepted as the founding year of Minsk. City authorities consider the date of September 2, 1067, to be the exact founding date of the city,[3] though the town (by then fortified by wooden walls) had certainly existed for some time by then. The origin of the name is unknown but there are several theories.

In the early 12th century, the Principality of Polatsk disintegrated into smaller fiefs. The Principality of Minsk was established by one of the Polatsk dynasty princes. In 1129, the Principality of Minsk was annexed by Kiev, the dominant principality of Kievan Rus; however in 1146 the Polatsk dynasty regained control of the principality. By 1150, Minsk rivaled Polatsk as the major city in the former Principality of Polatsk. The princes of Minsk and Polatsk were engaged in years of struggle trying to unite all lands previously under the rule of Polatsk.

The remains of pre-WWII Minsk on the Svislach bank.

Lithuanian and Polish rule

Minsk escaped the Mongol invasion of Rus in 1237-1239. In 1242, Minsk became a part of the expanding Grand Duchy of Lithuania. It joined peacefully and local elites enjoyed high rank in the society of the Grand Duchy. In 1413, the Grand Duchy of Lithuania and Kingdom of Poland entered into a union. Minsk became the centre of Minsk Voivodship (province). In 1441, the Lithuanian prince Kazimierz IV Jagiellon included Minsk in a list of cities enjoying certain privileges, and in 1499, during the reign of his son, Aleksander Jagiellon, Minsk received town privileges under Magdeburg law. In 1569, after the Union of Lublin, the Grand Duchy of Lithuania and the Kingdom of Poland merged into a single state, the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth. Afterwards, a Polish community including government clerks, officers, and craftsmen settled in Minsk.

The High Square as painted in the 1840s.

By the middle of the 16th century, Minsk was an important economic and cultural centre in the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth. It was also an important centre for the Eastern Orthodox Church. Following the Union of Brest, both the Uniate church and the Roman Catholic Church increased in influence.

In 1654, Minsk was conquered by troops of Tsar Alexei of Russia. Russians governed the city until 1667, when it was regained by Jan Kasimir, King of Poland. By the end of the Polish-Russian war, Minsk had only about 2,000 residents and just 300 houses. The second wave of devastation occurred during the Great Northern War, when Minsk was occupied in 1708 and 1709 by the Swedish army of Charles XII and then by the Russian army of Peter the Great. The last decades of the Polish rule involved decline or very slow development, since Minsk had become a small provincial town of little economic or military significance. By 1790, however, it had a population of 6,500-7,000 and was slowly re-expanding to the city limits of 1654. Most of the Minsk residents at the time were Jews and Poles, with a minority of Belarusians.

Russian rule

Russian Orthodox church of St. Mary Magdalene (built in 1847).

Minsk was annexed by Russia in 1793 as a consequence of the Second Partition of Poland. In 1796, it became the centre of the Minsk guberniya (province). All of the initial street names were replaced by Russian names, though the spelling of the city's name remained unchanged.

Throughout the 19th century, the city continued to grow and significantly improve. In the 1830s, major streets and squares of Minsk were cobbled and paved. A first public library was opened in 1836, and a fire brigade was put into operation in 1837. In 1838, the first local newspaper, Minskiye gubernskiye vedomosti (“Minsk province news”) went into circulation. The first theatre was established in 1844. By 1860, Minsk was an important trading city with a population of 27,000. There was a construction boom that led to the building of 2 and 3-story brick and stone houses in Upper Town.

Minsk's development was boosted by improvements in transportation. In 1846, the Moscow-Warsaw road was laid through Minsk. In 1871, a railway link between Moscow and Warsaw ran via Minsk, and in 1873, a new railway from Romny in Ukraine to the Baltic Sea port of Libava (Liepaja) was also constructed. Thus Minsk became an important rail junction and a manufacturing hub. A municipal water supply was introduced in 1872, the telephone in 1890, the horse tram in 1892, and the first power generator in 1894. By 1900, Minsk had 58 factories employing 3,000 workers. The city also boasted theatres, cinemas, newspapers, schools and colleges, as well as numerous monasteries, churches, synagogues, and a mosque. According to the 1897 Russian census, the city had 91,494 inhabitants, with some 47,561 Jews constituting more than half of the city population.

20th century

The Jesuit collegium in 1912.

In the early years of the 20th century, Minsk was a major centre for the worker's movement in Belarus. The 1st Congress of the Russian Social Democratic Labour Party, the forerunner to the Bolsheviks and eventually the CPSU, was held there in 1898. It was also one of the major centres of the Belarusian national revival, alongside Vilnia. However, the First World War affected the development of Minsk tremendously. By 1915, Minsk was a battle-front city. Some factories were closed down, and residents began evacuating to the east. Minsk became the headquarters of the Western Front of the Russian army and also housed military hospitals and military supply bases.

The Russian Revolution had an immediate effect in Minsk. A Worker's Soviet was established in Minsk in October 1917, drawing much of its support from disaffected soldiers and workers. After the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk, German forces occupied Minsk in February 1918. On 25 March 1918, Minsk was proclaimed the capital of the Belarusian People's Republic. The republic was short-lived; in December, 1918, Minsk was taken over by the Red Army. In January, 1919 Minsk was proclaimed the capital of the Byelorussian SSR, though later in 1919 (see Operation Minsk) and again in 1920, the city was controlled by the Second Polish Republic during the course of the Polish-Bolshevik war. Under the terms of the Peace of Riga, Minsk was handed back to the Russian SFSR and became the capital of the Byelorussian SSR, one of the founding republics of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics.

The Railway station square, an example of Stalinist Minsk.
German troops marching through Minsk.
The monument on the Victory Square.

A programme of reconstruction and development was begun in 1922. By 1924, there were 29 factories in operation; schools, museums, theatres, libraries were also established. Throughout the 1920s and the 1930s, Minsk saw rapid development with dozens of new factories being built and new schools, colleges, higher education establishments, hospitals, theatres, and cinemas being opened. During this period, Minsk was also a centre for the development of Belarusian language and culture.

Before World War II, Minsk had had a population of 300,000 people. After Germany invaded the Soviet Union on 22 June 1941, as part of Operation Barbarossa, Minsk immediately came under attack. The city was bombed on the first day of the invasion and came under Wehrmacht control four days later. However, some factories, museums and tens of thousands of civilians had been evacuated to the east. The Germans designated Minsk the administrative centre of Reichskomissariat Ostland. Communists and sympathisers were killed or imprisoned; both locally and after being transported to Germany. Homes were requisitioned to house invading German forces. Thousands starved as food was seized by the German Army and paid work was scarce. Some residents did support the Germans, especially at the beginning of the occupation, but by 1942, Minsk had become a major centre of the Soviet partisan resistance movement against the invasion, in what is known as the Great Patriotic War. For this role, Minsk was awarded the title Hero City in 1974.

Minsk was, however, the site of one of the largest Nazi-run ghettos in World War II, temporarily housing over 100,000 Jews (see Minsk Ghetto).

House of Government in Minsk, with a statue of Vladimir Lenin in the foreground.

Minsk was recaptured by Soviet troops on 3 July 1944, during Operation Bagration. 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. In 1944, Minsk's population was reduced to a mere 50,000. After World War II, Minsk was rebuilt, but not reconstructed. The historical centre was replaced in the 1940s and 1950s by Stalinist architecture, which favoured grand buildings, broad avenues and wide squares. Subsequently, the city grew rapidly as a result of massive industrialisation. Since the 1960s Minsk's population has also grown apace, reaching 1 million in 1972 and 1.5 million in 1986. This rapid population growth was primarily driven by mass migration of young, unskilled workers from rural areas of Belarus, as well as by migration of skilled workers from other parts of the Soviet Union. To house the expanding population, Minsk spread beyond its historical boundaries. Its surrounding villages were absorbed and rebuilt as mikroraions, districts of high-density apartment housing.

Recent developments

Island of Tears, with a recently constructed memorial monument.

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 centers. 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. On the outskirts of Minsk, new mikroraions of residential development have been built. Metro lines have been extended, and the road system (including the Minsk BeltWay) has been improved. Owing to the small size of the private sector in Belarus, most development has so far been financed by the government. In January 2008, the city government announced several projects on its official web-site. Among them are the refurbishment of some streets and main avenues, the constructions of more up-to-date hotels (one near the Palace of the Republic and another on the shore of Lake Komsomolkye), the demolition of the out-of-date Belarus hotel and the erection in the same premises of a complex consisting of sport facilities, swimming pool, 2 hotel towers and one business center building with the help of potential foreign investors and the construction of a modern aquatic park in the outskirts of the city. On September 8, 2007, the city of Minsk celebrated 940 years since its founding.

Etymology and historical names

The Old East Slavic name of the town was Мѣньскъ (i.e. Měnsk < Early Proto-Slavic or Late Indo-European Mēnĭskŭ), derived from a river name Měn (< Mēnŭ, with the same etymology as German Main). The direct continuation of this name in Belarusian is Miensk (pronounced [mʲɛnsk], according to the Łacinka alphabet).

Independence Square in the centre of Minsk.

In the 16th and 17th centuries, however, the pronunciation of this name in the Ruthenian language common to the ancestors of Belarusians, Rusyns and Ukrainians was influenced by the pronunciation of as i in many Ukrainian dialects. The resulting form of the name, Minsk (spelled either Минскъ or Мѣнскъ) was taken over both in Russian (modern spelling: Минск) and Polish (Mińsk), and under the influence especially of Russian it also became official in Belarusian. However, some Belarusian-speakers continue to use Miensk (spelled Мeнск) as their preferred name for the city. Another explanation of the origins of the modern form of the name, Minsk, is the strong Ukrainian influence in the Belarusian lexicography in the 1920s, which resulted in the Ukrainian-like i vocalisation of then-deprecated ѣ.[4]

When Belarus was under Polish rule, the names Mińsk Litewski 'Minsk of [the Grand Duchy of] Lithuania' and Mińsk Białoruski 'Minsk in Belarus' were used to differentiate this place name from Mińsk Mazowiecki 'Minsk in Masovia'. In modern Polish, Mińsk without an attribute is Minsk, which is about 50 times bigger than Mińsk Mazowiecki; (cf. Brest-Litovsk and Brześć Kujawski for a similar case).

Belarusian rock band N.R.M. have recorded a song titled Miensk i Minsk (Miensk and Minsk) on their 2007 album "06".

Demographics

Population growth

Year Population
1450 5 000
1654 10 000
1667 2 000
1790 7 000
1811 11 000
1813 3 500
1860 27 000
1897* 91 000
1917* 134 500
1941 300 000
1944 50 000
1959* 509 500
1970* 907 100
Year Population
1972 1 000 000
1979* 1 276 000
1986 1 500 000
1989* 1 607 000
1999* 1 680 000
2007 1 814 000
2008 1 830 000

* - census

Ethnic groups

During the first centuries of its existence, Minsk was a city with a predominantly Early East Slavic population (the forefathers of modern-day Belarusians). After the 1569 Polish-Lithuanian union, the city became a destination for migrating Poles (who worked as administrators, clergy, teachers and soldiers) and Jews (who were mainly employed in trade and as craftsmen). During the last centuries of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth many locals were polonized and abandoned their Belarusian culture. After the Partitions of Poland, Minsk became part of the Russian Empire, the Russians essentially stepping in to the leadership role enjoyed by the Poles in earlier centuries. By the end of the 19th century Minsk was undergoing increasing russification. Many locals became russified and still claim Russian ethnicity today. The Russians restored the Belarusian culture, a culture very similar to Ukraine and Russia.

At the time of the 1897 census, Jews were the largest ethnic group in Minsk, constituting 47,500 out of the population of 91,000 (52% of the population).[5] Other substantial ethnic groups were Russians (25.5%), Poles (11.4%) and Belarusians (9%). The latter figure may be not accurate as some local Belarusians were likely to be counted as Russians. There was also a small traditional community of Lipka Tatars living in Minsk for centuries.

Both World War I and World War II affected the demographics of the city. The Jewish community suffered catastrophic losses during the Nazi occupation—very few survived. In the post-war years Minsk's population grew primarily as a result of rural migrants from other parts of Belarus moving to the city.

In 1959 Belarusians made up 63.3% of the city's residents. Other ethnic groups included Russians (22.8%), Jews (7.8%), Ukrainians (3.6%), Poles (1.1%) and Tatars (0.4%). Migration of rural migrants from other parts of Belarus in the 1960s and 1970s changed the ethnic composition further. By 1979 Belarusians made up 68.4% of the city's residents. Other ethnic groups included Russians (22.2%), Jews (3.4%), Ukrainians (3.4%), Poles (1.2%) and Tatars (0.2%).

According to the 1989 census, 82% percent of Minsk residents have been born in Belarus. Of those, 43% have been born in Minsk and 39% - in other parts of Belarus. 6.2% of Minsk residents came from regions of western Belarus (Grodno and Brest voblasts), and 13% - from eastern Belarus (Mahileu, Vicebsk and Homiel voblasts). 21.4% of residents came from central Belarus (Minsk voblast).

According to the 1999 census, Belarusians make up 79.3% of the city's residents. Other ethnic groups include Russians (15.7%), Ukrainians (2.4%), Poles (1.1%) and Jews (0.6%). The Russian and Ukrainian populations of Minsk peaked in the late 1980s (at 325,000 and 55,000 respectively). After the break-up of the Soviet Union, many of them chose to move to their respective mother countries. The Jewish population of Minsk peaked in the early 1970s at 50,000 (according to official figures; independent estimates put the figure at 100-120,000), but then declined as a result of emigration to Israel, the USA and Germany. Today there are only about 10,000 Jews living in Minsk. The traditional minorities of Poles and Tatars have remained at much the same size (17,000 and 3,000 respectively). There was migration of rural Poles from the western part of Belarus to Minsk, and many Tatars moved to Minsk from Tatarstan.

Some more recent ethnic minority communities are establishing themselves in the city. The most prominent are migrants from the Caucasus countries—Georgians, Armenians and Azerbaijanis each numbering about 2,000-5,000. They began migrating to Minsk back in the 1970s, and more migrants have joined them since. Many of them are employed in the retail trade in open-air markets. There is also a small but prominent Arab community in Minsk, primarily represented by recent migrants from Syria, Lebanon, Egypt, Algeria, etc. (often graduates of Minsk universities who decide to settle in Belarus and their families). There is also a small community of gypsies, numbering about 2,000, which is settled in suburbs of north-western and southern Minsk.

Languages

Throughout its history Minsk has been a city of many languages. Initially most of its residents spoke Ruthenian (which later developed into modern Belarusian). However, after 1569 the official language was Polish. By the end of the 18th century most residents of Minsk were Polish-speakers (or Yiddish-speakers among the Jewish community). Yiddish remained a major language in Minsk until the early 20th century. In the 19th century Russian became the official language and by the end of that century it had become the language of administration, schools and newspapers. The Belarusian national revival increased interest in the Belarusian language—its use has grown since the 1890s, especially among the intelligentsia. In the 1920s and early 1930s Belarusian was the major language of Minsk, including use for administration and education (both secondary and tertiary). However, since the late 1930s Russian again began gaining dominance. This process accelerated after World War II —by the mid-1980s Minsk was almost exclusively Russian-speaking.

A short period of Belarusian national revival in the early 1990s saw a rise in the numbers of Belarusian speakers. However, in 1994 the newly elected president Alexander Lukashenko slowly reversed this trend. Most residents of Minsk now use Russian exclusively in their everyday lives at home and at work, although Belarusian is understood as well. Substantial numbers of recent migrants from the rural areas use Trasyanka (a Russo-Belarusian mixed language) in their everyday lives.

The most commonly used and understood international language in Minsk, especially among the younger generation, is English. The second most widely spoken international language is German. French, Spanish and Italian are understood by only a few.

Religion

There are no reliable statistics on religious affiliations in Minsk or in Belarus. According to various estimates, between 30% to 50% of Minsk's population do not practice any religion, while being either atheist, agnostic or simply spiritual, but not attached to a particular formal religious institution. Of those Minsk residents who are religious, about 70% consider themselves to be Russian Orthodox, 15-20% - Roman Catholic, and about 5% - Protestants. Most ethnic Russians, Ukrainians and Belarusians from the central and eastern parts of Belarus are Russian Orthodox, while Poles and Belarusians from Western Belarus are often Roman Catholic. There are small religious communities of Jews and Muslims (the latter are primarily recent migrants from countries or regions with a predominantly Muslim population, such as Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Turkey, Syria, Iran, and Tajikistan). The total number of religious groups registered in Minsk is 116.

Currently there are 24 churches of various denominations; another 10 are being built or reconstructed.

Government and administrative divisions

Raions of Minsk

Currently Minsk is subdivided into 9 raions (districts):

  1.      Tsentralny, or "Central District" (Belarusian: Цэнтральны раён)
  2.      Savetski, or "Soviet District (Belarusian: Савецкі раён)
  3.      Pershamayski, named after the 1st of May (Belarusian: Першамайскі раён)
  4.      Partyzanski, named after Soviet partisans (Belarusian: Партызанскі раён)
  5.      Zavodzki, or "Factory district" (Belarusian: Заводскі раён) (initially it included major plants, Minsk Tractor Works (MTZ) and Minsk Automobile Plant (MAZ), later the Partyzanski District with MTZ was split off it)
  6.      Leninski, named after Lenin (Belarusian: Ленінскі раён)
  7.      Kastrychnitski, named after October Revolution (Belarusian: Кастрычніцкі раён)
  8.      Maskouski, named after Moscow (Belarusian: Маскоўскі раён)
  9.      Frunzenski, named after Mikhail Frunze (Belarusian: Фрунзенскі раён)

In addition, a number of residential neighborhoods are recognized in Minsk, called microdistricts, with no separate administration.

Economy

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.

Belavia, the national airline of Belarus, has its head office in Minsk.[6]

Industry

Minsk Tractor Works, main entrance.

Minsk is the major industrial centre of Belarus. The city has over 250 factories and plants. Its industrial development started in the 1860s and was facilitated by the railways built in the 1870s. However, much of the industrial infrastructure was destroyed during World War I and especially during World War II. After the last war the development of the city was linked to the development of industry, especially of R&D-intensive sectors (heavy emphasis of R&D intensive industries in urban development in the USSR is known in Western geography as 'Minsk phenomenon'). Minsk was turned into a major production site for trucks, tractors, gears, optical equipment, refrigerators, television sets and radios, bicycles, motorcycles, watches, and metal-processing equipment. Outside machine-building and electronics, Minsk also had textiles, construction materials, food processing, and printing industries. During the Soviet period, development of the industries was linked to suppliers and markets within the USSR, and the break-up of the union in 1991 led to a serious economic meltdown in 1991-1994.

However, since the adoption of the neo-Keynesean policies under Alexander Lukashenko's government in 1995, much of the gross industrial production was regained. Unlike many other cities in the CIS and Eastern Europe Minsk was not heavily de-industrialised in the 1990s. About 40% of the labour force is still employed in the manufacturing sector. Over 70% of produced goods are exported from Belarus, especially to Russia and other members of the Commonwealth of Independent States. However, the recent industrial revival did not lead to updating technologies and equipment (as FDI was discouraged), therefore much of the local industry is not highly competitive by international standards.

Major industrial employers include:

  • Minsk Tractor Plant - specialised in manufacturing tractors. Established in 1946 in eastern Minsk, is among major manufacturers of wheeled tractors in the CIS. Employs about 30,000 staff.
  • Minsk Automobile Plant - specialising in producing trucks, buses and mini-vans. Established in 1944 in south-eastern Minsk, is among major vehicle manufacturers in the CIS.
  • Minsk Refrigerator Plant (also known as Atlant) - specialised in manufacturing household goods, such as refrigerators, freezers, and recently also of washing machines. Established in 1959 in north-west of the city.
  • Horizont - specialised in producing TV-sets, audio and video electronics. Established in 1950 in north-central Minsk.

Transport and infrastructure

Local Transport

Tram in Minsk.

Minsk has an extensive public transport system. Passengers are served by 8 tramway lines, over 70 trolleybus lines, and over 100 bus lines. Trams were the first public transport used in Minsk (since 1892 - the horse-tram, and since 1929 - the electric tram). Public buses have been used in Minsk since 1924, and trolleybuses since 1952.


All public transport is operated by Minsktrans, a government-owned and -funded transport not-for-profit company. As of January 2008, Minsktrans used 1,420 buses, 1,010 trolleybuses and 153 tramway cars in Minsk.

The Minsk city government in 2003 decreed that local transport provision should be set at a minimum level of 1 vehicle (bus, trolleybus or tram) per 1,500 residents. Currently the number of vehicles in use by Minsktrans is 2.2 times higher than the minimum level.

Rapid Transit

Uruchye station in the Minsk Metro.

Minsk is the only city in Belarus with an underground metro system. Construction of the metro began in 1977, soon after the city reached over a million people, and the first line with 8 stations was opened in 1984. Since then it has expanded into two lines: Moskovskaya and Avtozavodskaya, which are 12.2 and 18.1 km (7.6 and 11.2 mi) long with 11 and 14 stations, respectively. On November 7, 2007, two new stations on the Moskovskaya Line were opened; work continues on a 5.2 km (3.2 mi) extension, with 3 more stations slated to open in 2011.

There are plans for a network with three lines totalling (based on present expansion plans) 58.3 km (36.2 mi) of track with 45 stations and 3 train depots. For this to happen the third line should cut the city on a north-south axis crossing the existing two and thus forming a typical Soviet triangle layout; construction of the third line is expected to begin in 2011 and for the first stage to be delivered in late 2010s. Some layout plans speculate on a possible fourth line running from Vyasnyanka to Serabranka micro-rayons.

As of 2007 Minsk metro had 25 stations and 33 km of tracks. Trains use 243 standard Russian metro-cars. On a typical day Minsk metro is used by 800,000 passengers. In 2007 ridership of Minsk metro was 262.1 million passengers,[7] making it the 5th busiest metro network in the former USSR (behind Moscow, St. Petersburg, Kiev and Kharkiv). During peak hours trains run each 2-2.5 minutes. The metro network employs 3,200 staff.

Currently most of the urban transport is being actively renovated and upgraded to modern standards. For instance, all metro stations built since 2001 have passenger lifts from platform to street level, thus enabling the use of the newer stations by disabled passengers.

Railway and intercity bus

Railway terminal.


Minsk is the largest transportation hub in Belarus. Minsk is located at the junction of the Warsaw-Moscow railway (built in 1871) running from the southwest to the northeast of the city and the Liepaja-Romny railway (built in 1873) running from the northwest to the south. The first railway connects Russia with Poland and Germany; the second connects Ukraine with Lithuania and Latvia. They cross at the Minsk-Passazhyrski railway station, the main railway station of Minsk. The station was built in 1873 as Vilenski vakzal. The initial wooden building was demolished in 1890 and rebuilt in stone. During World War II the Minsk railway station was completely destroyed. It was rebuilt in 1945 and 1946 and served until 1991. The new building of the Minsk-Passazhyrski railway station was built during 1991-2002. Its construction was delayed due to financial difficulties; now, however, Minsk boasts one of the most modern and up-to-date railway stations in the CIS. There are plans to move all suburban rail traffic from Minsk-Passazhyrski to the smaller stations, Minsk- Uskhodni (East), Minsk-Paudnyovy (South) and Minsk-Paunochny (North), by 2020.

There are three intercity bus stations that link Minsk with the suburbs and other cities in Belarus and the neighboring countries. Frequent schedules of bus routes connect Minsk to Moscow, Vilnius, Riga, Kiev and Warsaw.

Airports

Minsk International Airport is located 42 km (26 mi) to the east of the city. It opened in 1982 and the current passenger terminal opened in 1987. It is an international airport undergoing modernisation with flights to Austria, Cyprus, France, Germany, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Iran, Latvia, Poland, Russia, Turkey, the United Kingdom, and other countries. Operators include the national carrier Belavia, and also the German airline Lufthansa, AirBaltic of Latvia, LOT Polish Airlines, and the Austrian Airlines Group.

Airport Minsk-1.
Main building of Minsk-2 international airport

Minsk-1 opened in 1933 a few kilometres to the south of the historical centre. In 1955 it became an international airport and by 1970 served over 1 million passengers a year.

From 1982 it mainly served domestic routes in Belarus and short-haul routes to Moscow, Kiev and Kaliningrad. Minsk-1 is expected to be closed in 2008 because of the noise pollution in the surrounding residential areas.

The land of the airport will be redeveloped for residential and commercial real estate, currently branded as Minsk-City.

Education

Minsk is the major educational centre of Belarus. It has over 500 nursery schools, 258 schools, 28 further education colleges, and 36 higher education institutions, including 12 major national universities (most specialising in certain areas of science and technology).

Major higher educational establishments

Culture and religion

Statue of Francisk Skaryna.

Minsk is the major cultural centre of Belarus. Its first theatres and libraries were established in the middle of the 19th century. Now it has 11 theatres and 16 museums. There are 20 cinemas and 139 libraries.

Churches

  • The Orthodox Cathedral of the Holy Spirit is actually the former church of the Bernardine convent. It was built in the simplified Baroque style in 1642-87 and went through renovations in 1741-46 and 1869.
  • The Cathedral of Saint Virgin Mary was built by the Jesuits as their monastery church in 1700-10, restored in 1951 and 1997; it overlooks the recently restored 18th-century city hall, located on the other side of the Independence Square;
  • Two other historic churches are the cathedral of St. Joseph, formerly affiliated with the Bernardine monastery, built in 1644-52 and repaired in 1983, and the fortified church of Sts. Peter and Paul, originally built in the 1620s and recently restored, complete with its flanking twin towers.
  • The impressive Neo-Romanesque Roman Catholic Red Church (Cathedral of Sts. Simeon and Helene) was built in 1906-10 immediately after religious freedoms were proclaimed in Imperial Russia and the tsar allowed dissidents to build their churches;
  • The largest church built in the Russian imperial period of the town's history is dedicated to St. Mary Magdalene;
  • Many Orthodox churches were built after the dissolution of the USSR in a variety of styles, although most remain true to the Neo-Russian idiom. A good example is St. Elisabeth's Convent, founded in 1999.

Cemeteries

  • Kalvaryja (Calvary Cemetery) is the oldest surviving cemetery in the city. Many famous people of Belarus are buried here. The cemetery was closed to new burials in the 1960s.

Theatres

Major theatres are:

Museums

The city hall (rebuilt in 2003) overlooks the Cathedral of Saint Virgin Mary.

Major museums include:

Recreation areas

Nightlife

There are more than 30 nightclubs [8] in Minsk, usually open 23:00-5:00. Almost all the clubs are crowded at week-ends. Only few are open on workdays. The week-end entry fee at most of the clubs is approximately 10-15 USD. Night spots are scattered around different areas of the city. There is no street or area dedicated to or associated with nightlife in the way that is common in Western cities.

Sport

International relations

Twin towns and Sister cities

As of 2008 Minsk maintains cultural links to 18 twin towns in various countries:[9]

Partnerships

Furthermore, partnership agreements with 23 cities and regions from Russia are signed alongside of many Baltic and CIS cities.[13]

Honors

A minor planet 3012 Minsk discovered by Soviet astronomer Nikolai Stepanovich Chernykh in 1979 is named after the city.[15]

Notable residents

References

Notes
  1. ^ "Pogoda.ru.net" (in Russian). http://pogoda.ru.net/climate/26850.htm. Retrieved September 8, 2007. 
  2. ^ "Въ лЂто 6563 [1055] - [6579 1071]]. Іпатіївський літопис"]. Litopys.org.ua. http://litopys.org.ua/ipatlet/ipat08.htm#r1067. Retrieved 2009-05-05. 
  3. ^ "The Celebration of the 940th anniversary of Minsk will start with ringing of bells - Minsk City Executive Committee". Minsk.gov.by. http://www.minsk.gov.by/news/4.09.2007/5/8411/eng. Retrieved 2009-05-05. 
  4. ^ Such influence is also evidenced in some then-constructed Belarusian linguistic terminology, like words for verb (дзеяслоў) and others. Per Uladzimir Anichenka. Ukrainisms in Encyclopedia of literature and arts of Belarus. V.5, p.351 (У. В. Анічэнка. Украінізмы // Энцыклапедыя літаратуры і мастацтва Беларусі. У 5 т. Т.5. С.351.)
  5. ^ Joshua D. Zimmerman, Poles, Jews, and the politics of nationality, Univ of Wisconsin Press, 2004, ISBN 0-299-19464-7, Google Print, p.16
  6. ^ "Contacts." Belavia. Retrieved on 10 October 2009.
  7. ^ CIS Metro Statistics
  8. ^ "The Best Minsk Nightclubs, Nice Girls and Great Parties!". Minsknightlife.net. http://minsknightlife.net/nightclubs.htm. Retrieved 2010-01-22. 
  9. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p "Twin towns of Minsk". © 2008 The department of protocol and international relations of Minsk City Executive Committee. http://minsk.gov.by/cgi-bin/org_ps.pl?k_org=3604&mode=doc&doc=3604_2_a&lang=eng. Retrieved 2008-12-08. 
  10. ^ "Partner Cities of Lyon and Greater Lyon". © 2008 Mairie de Lyon. http://www.lyon.fr/vdl/sections/en/villes_partenaires/villes_partenaires_2/?aIndex=1. Retrieved 2009-07-17. 
  11. ^ "Twin Cities". The City of Łódź Office. Flag of the United Kingdom.svg Flag of Poland.svg (in English and Polish) © 2007 UMŁ. http://en.www.uml.lodz.pl/index.php?str=2029. Retrieved 2008-10-23. 
  12. ^ "Ankara Metropolitan Municipality: Sister Cities of Ankara". © 2007 Ankara Büyükşehir Belediyesi - Tüm Hakları Saklıdır. Kullanım Koşulları & Gizlilik.. http://www.ankara-bel.gov.tr/AbbSayfalari/hizmet_birimleri/dis_dairesi_baskanligi/avrupa_gunu_kutlamasi.aspx. Retrieved 2008-12-08. 
  13. ^ "Отдел протокола и зарубежных связей Мингорисполкома - Минский городской исполнительный комитет". Minsk.gov.by. http://www.minsk.gov.by/cgi-bin/org_ps.pl?k_org=3604&mode=doc&doc=3604_3. Retrieved 2009-05-05. 
  14. ^ "Twin cities of Riga". Riga City Council. http://www.riga.lv/EN/Channels/Riga_Municipality/Twin_cities_of_Riga/default.htm. Retrieved 2009-07-27. 
  15. ^ Dictionary of Minor Planet Names - p.248

External links


Travel guide

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikitravel

Europe : Belarus : Minsk

Minsk is the capital and biggest city of Belarus. It is situated on the Svislach and Niamiha rivers. From 1919-1991 it was the capital of the Former Byelorussian SSR. It is also the capital of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS).

The city was 80% destroyed during World War II and as such was rebuilt in the 1950s to the liking of Stalin. Large Soviet-Bloc style buildings make up a large portion of the city. For this reason Minsk is a wonderful place to visit for those interested in the Soviet Union and are interested in seeing it almost alive.

English is not really spoken, and tourism is not a priority in Minsk. It would be wise to learn some key phrases in Russian (which is the "default" language, Byelorussian may also be spoken/understood).

Get in

By train

The width of the train tracks is different in Poland and in Belarus, so if you choose to arrive by train please be prepared for long wheel changing.

From Berlin

There is almost always a daily train leaving from Lichtenberg station. It leaves at 13:49 and arrives the next morning at 9:30 or so. Note: This is the train en route to Russia.
Second Class, €69, 3 people per compartment - men and women separate.
First Class, €109, 2 people per compartment - not gender separated.

From Warsaw

The trip is about 10 hours. There is one train a day that departs from Central Station at 20:35 which arrives in Minsk around 8:00.

From Vilnius

From Vilnius, Lithuania, the train takes about 4-5 hours. You will be given a card with two sides to fill out, and the guards at the Belarussian border keep one. You need to keep the other one for your hotel to stamp, and give it back to the guards when you leave Minsk. There are two stops. You should have your insurance and invitation letter (if you're a tourist) out to show the guards. The train from Vilnius is pretty cheap: about $10-15 one way. Also quite comfortable. You can check schedules at www.litrail.lt

There are also trains from Prague and other European cities.

From Moscow

Overnight train leaves Moscow about 23:30 and arrives Minsk about 06:30. No stop at the border for passport checks, so a good nights sleep in the 2 berth cabins.

By bus

There are several bus routes from Vilnius central bus station to "Avtovokzal Vostochniy" bus station in Minsk. The Minsk bus station is not very close to downtown, however you can have a taxi ride with 10000 roubles (less than €4). The bus also drops passengers off outside the railway station (look out for two Stalinist towers) in the centre of Minsk before proceeding to the Vostochniy (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, bus ride should be preferred.

By plane

There are flights from Frankfurt but they are quite pricey, $500 or so. There are also flights from Tallinn, Estonia by Estonian airlines [1], from Riga, Latvia by airBaltic[2]. If you wish to have budget price (80 €) tickets book flight tickets a few months before hand.

Belavia has codeshare flights with many other airlines. Travelling by plane is much easier for getting a Visa as well (price for visa at airport $100 or €65). If your agency organises your travel with a Belarussian Agency everything will be planned for you. Airport personel will meet you just as you come out. They will guide you to the visa office (Just after the exit from the plane), they will help you fill out the form required and pay the Visa fee. Yes, they do speak very good English.

Gomelavia has inland flights to all the major cities and major Western-Russian cities.

The majority of flights arrives at Minsk International 2 Airport, quite far from the city centre. If possible, you should prefer flights to the nearer Minsk International 1 Airport (currently served by Atlant-Soyuz Airlines from Moscow Vnukovo).

By car

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.

Get around

Get around by using bus, tram, or subway or rent a car. First three are cheap and reliable. The subway is noted for being clean and safe. Additionally, each subway 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/Sickle reliefs.

A panoramic English-language map of the centre of Minsk that shows every building individually is widely available from bookshops and kiosks for 5,000 roubles. It also has a conventional map showing more of Minsk and some tourist information. It's worth buying a copy as early on in your visit as you can because it makes getting around on foot easy and fun.

The Subway (Minsk Metro) is the most reliable Transport around Minsk. A train every 3 minutes and never late. You can buy tokens at a window inside the station. One ride costs 600BYR, if you don't know any Russian, just give 6000BYR and stick 10 fingers up. Make sure you hold on, because it goes real fast.

Taxis are cheap as well. All Taxis have a base rate of 6000BYR and thats from 0-6km distance. That is the minimal pay. You will notice 6000BYR will already be on the meter.

You may also rent a car to travel around the country. Rates depend on period of hire and start from 20US/day. There are offices of Europcar, Avis, SIXT and other rental companies. You may browse a list of cars and rental companies here [3]

Regional Trains from the Central Station are also cheap. A trip from Minsk to Gomel (5 hours) with a cabin for 4 cost 20000($10US)and Usually never full.

  • Former Residence of Lee Harvey Oswald, Vulitsa Kamunistychnaja 4 (the bottom left apartment). Lee arrived in the Soviet Union in December 1959 wanting 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 on June 1, 1962.
  • St Mary Magdeline Church (Tsarkva Svyati Mary Magdaleny), Vulitsa Kisjaleva 42. Metro: Njamiha. It was built in 1847 in the Orthodox style - with a pointed octagonal bell tower over the entrance.
  • Saint Peter & Saint Paul Church, Vulitsa Rakovskaja 4. Metro: Njamiha. Built in 1613 and restored in 1871, it is the oldest church in Minsk. It is worthwhile to go inside.
  • Belarus National Museum of History & Culture, Vulitsa Karla Marxa 12. Admission 7,000BYR. Open Thursdays to Tuesdays from 11AM to 7PM. There is plenty to see here, sadly there is only Belarusian explanation panels.
  • Palats Mastatsva (Art Palace), Vulitsa Kazlova 3. Admission Free. Open Tuesdays to Sundays from 10AM to 7PM. Several exhibition spaces showing modern art, second hand books and antiques stalls.
  • Mastatsky Salon, Praspekt Francyska Skaryny 12. Open Mondays to Saturdays from 10AM to 8PM. An art gallery with local artists exhibitions and some overpriced souvenirs.
  • Minskoe More (Minsk Sea) is an artificial reservoir 5km north of the city centre. There's a free public beach, and pedal-boat and catamaran rental. Buses leave the central bus station regularly. To get there by car, head north along the P28 and lookout for signs after Ratomka village.
  • Ice Skating Rink infront of the Palats Respubliki. In Winter there are crowds of people ice skating here. It is open from 8AM until 10PM and a pair of skates should cost between 3,000-5,000BYR to rent.
  • Skiing resorts located at Silichy and Lagoisk are the most popular place to have a rest in Minsk. Located not far from the city they provide wide range of winter activities - skiing, snowboarding, skating, tubing etc.

Buy

Local goods are usually bad quality, but 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. Typical is a woven patterned linen tablecloth, excellent quality, 150cm x 300cm (about 5 ft x 10 ft), for 34,280 Belarus rubles, approximately $16.25 US (10.30 euro, 8.25 GB pound) (as of May 2008). Womens underwear "Milavitsa", is widely known across former USSR. This good quality, and cheap as well. Various types of cosmetics - firstly brand-name, are called "O2". Vodka produced by Brest spirit factory, is probably the best in the world. This easily outperforms Stolichnaya, Absolut and 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.

  • Podzemka, Praspekt Nezalezhnasti 43. An underground bookshop-cum-art gallery.
  • Suveniraja Lavka, Vulitsa Maxima Bahdanovicha 9. A souvenir type shop with straw crafts, wooden boxes, embroidered linen & Belorussian alcohol.
  • Tsentralnaja Kniharnya, Praspekt Nezalezhnasti 19. A bookshop with posters of Belorussian president Alexander Lukashenko.

Advice for Vegetarians & Vegans

Meat is always on the menu. It isn't considered a meal if meat isn't a part of it but, because of a love of the potato you should be able to get vegetarian side dishes. Sometimes borsch is made with only potato and beetroot, but be aware that borsch is sometimes cooked with meat. Some golubsty are only stuffed with rice. If you're a vegan you will have a very hard time trying to adequately feed yourself; buying fresh produce at the numerous markets might be your best bet. Often it can be a lot easier to try and find perhaps an Indian restaurant. Pizza restaurants usually have a meat-free pizza on the menu.

Belorussian 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 center of the city. The price of a meal at these places should cost between 20,000BYR and 40,000BYR. The list of the restaurants -> [4]

  • Pechki-Lavochki, Main Ave. Is a great Belarusian restaurant.
  • Beze, Main ave. Viennese style café with a great bakery and light snacks.
  • Gourman, close to Grand Opera Theater. Styled as an Italian trattoria. It serves Belarusian and European cuisine. Excellent quality and affordable prices.
  • Freskee Cafe, Niezaležnaści Square. Café with a large choice of main dishes.
  • Taj, Vulista Brilevskaja 2. Wonderful North Indian restaurant. Vegetarians will find heaven. There should be an English menu available also. Vegetarian dishes start from around BR6,000 and Mains from BR12,000. Open Noon-Midnight.
  • Chomolungme, 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.
  • 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. Mains BR20,000 to BR30,000. The food really sticks to your ribs. They also sell honey-flavoured kvass.

Drink

A typical drink is "Kefir", which is a sort of sour milk, similar to yogurt.

  • 40 Let Pobedy (40 Years of Victory), Azgura 3, Minsk 220088. checkin: 12; checkout: 12. Nice rooms, decent location. No internet, few English speaking receptionists. $45/shared room.  edit
  • Hotel Belarus, 220002, Minsk, street Storozhevskaja, 15-201, (017) 209 75 37, [5]. checkin: 12; checkout: 12. Great location, clean Soviet hotel with very old school interior. Great indoor pool/hot tub and a gym, cost $10 extra. Free wifi in lobby. 35 Euros/single.  edit
  • Hotel Orbita Praspekt Pushkina 39. A clean 208 Room Hotel with friendly but boring staff. There is a supermarket next door and Cash Exchange in the hotel lobby. The airport and Train terminal are about 6km away. It is in the western part of Minsk not far from the Republican Exhibition Centre. [6]
  • Minsk Vacation Apartments [7] Vacation apartment for rent in central Minsk. Near major railway stations. 1-3 room flats. Rates: 50-200 EUR.
  • Planeta (Planet), 31 Pobediteley avenue, 220126 Minsk, (+375 17) 203 85 87, [8]. checkin: 12; checkout: 12. They have great services all within the Hotel. Internet Cafe is open till 8PM. Casino is open 24hrs.  edit
  • Hotel “Europe” (Отель «Европа»), 28, Internatsionalnaya st., Minsk, (+375 17) 229-83-33, [9]. checkin: 14:00; checkout: 12:00. Exclusive five-star Hotel Europe is situated in the historical and cultural heart of Minsk, at the intersection of Lenin Street and Internatsionalnaya Street. The beautiful 7-storey atrium-type building is carried out in Modern Style of early XX century. Late departure (till 11 p.m. (24.00) is charged with 50% of the room rate. from 265 EUR.  edit
  • Crowne Plaza Hotel, 13 Kirova St., 220040 Minsk, +375-17-2005354 or 0800 181 6068, [10]. checkin: 12; checkout: 12. The Crowne Plaza Minsk hotel is a 5 star international hotel in the heart of Minsk. The hotel, with its unique architecture, is in the Minsk city centre opposite the Minsk Dynamo Stadium and within walking distance from the Minsk Nezavisimosti Square. Shopping, cultural institutions, attractions of the city and business spots are all within easy reach from the hotel via underground or even walking.  edit

On the web you can find a lot of cheap offers to rent a flat. Average price is about 50 USD for the night. There is also a good rental service provided by www.belarusrent.com . They rent rooms in good quality in the center of Minsk. They also provide assistance for Visas.

You might receive a call to your hotel room late at night offering a "massage". To avoid being woken up it is worth unplugging your phone.

  • United Kingdom, [11].  edit
  • United States, 46 Starovilenskaya St. Minsk 220002, Belarus, +375 17 210-12-83 / 217-7347 / 217-7348 (fax: +375 17 234-78-53), [12].  edit

Get out

Lake Narach is the largest lake in Belarus, located about 160 km north of Minsk.

This is a usable article. It has information for getting in as well as some complete entries for restaurants and hotels. An adventurous person could use this article, but please plunge forward and help it grow!

1911 encyclopedia

Up to date as of January 14, 2010
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From LoveToKnow 1911

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Wiktionary

Up to date as of January 15, 2010

Definition from Wiktionary, a free dictionary

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Wikipedia

See also Mińsk

Contents

English

Proper noun

Minsk

  1. The capital of Belarus.

Translations

Anagrams

  • Anagrams of ikmns
  • minks

Estonian

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Estonian Wikipedia has an article on:
Minsk

Wikipedia et

Proper noun

Minsk

  1. Minsk (capital of Belarus)

German

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Minsk

Wikipedia de

Proper noun

Minsk n.

  1. Minsk (capital of Belarus)

Simple English

File:Belarus-Minsk-Cathedral of Holy
The Cathedral of the Holy Spirit, in Minsk

[[File:|right|300px|thumb|Victory Square, the central place of Minsk]] Minsk or Miensk (Мінск (official spelling in Belarus), Менск; Минск ; Mińsk) is the capital and a major city of Belarus. 1.8 million people live in the city. Minsk is also a headquarters of the Commonwealth of Independent States. As a capital, Minsk has a special administrative status in Belarus and is also the capital of Minsk voblast (province) and Minsk raion. Minsk is situated by the Svislach and Niamiha rivers. The timezone in Minsk is GMT +2.

The oldest mentions of Minsk date back to the 11th century (1067). In 1326 Minsk became a part of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania and received its town privileges in 1499. From 1569 it was a capital of the Minsk Voivodship in the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth. It was annexed by Russia in 1793 as a consequence of the Second Partition of Poland. During 19191991 Minsk was the capital of the Byelorussian SSR.

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