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Minsk

Travel Guide Europe Belarus Minsk

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Introduction

Minsk: October Square

Minsk: October Square

© All Rights Reserved astralex

Minsk, the capital and largest city in Belarus, is home to about 2 million people. During World War II, the city was virtually obliterated during heavy fighting, leaving much rebuilding to be done under the ensuing Soviet rule. Stalin's taste has left its mark on the city, with grand buildings, broad avenues, wide square and large apartment blocks making up the city's skyline. Aside from being the capital of Belarus, Minsk is also a headquarters of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS).

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Neighbourhoods

There are 9 administrative districts in Minsk:

  • Frunzenski
  • Kastrychnitski
  • Leninski
  • Maskouski
  • Partyzanski
  • Pershamayski
  • Savetski
  • Centralny, or "Central District".
  • Zavodzki, or "Factory district" (so named due to the major plants that were once located there).

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Sights and Activities

Mirsky Castle Complex

Mirsky Castle Complex (Мірскі замак) is an amazing sight located just outside of Mir or a day trip from Minsk. Construction of the castle was begun in the 15th century with a Gothic architecture style. Around 1568 the castle got a new Lithuanian Duke as owner who decided to finish the castle in a renaissance style. It was abandoned for about a century then it was restored in the 19th century. When the Nazi's took it over they turned the castle into a Jewish Ghetto. Today it is a very popular tourist sight and a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Other Sights and Activities

  • Holy Spirit Cathedral - Was built in 17th century and is one of only a few historic buildings remaining in the city.
  • Museum of the Great Patriotic War (Location: pr Francyska Skaryny 25A, city centre. Tel: (017) 277 5611. Open: Tue-Sun 10am-5pm).
  • Palats Mastatsva (Art Palace) - Has several exhibition halls showcasing modern art. (Location: vul Kazlova 3, city centre. Tel: (017) 213 3549. ).
  • Victory Square - Located in Minsk is an excellent public square with several public structures and monuments.
  • National Library of Belarus - Check out this space age building in Minsk.

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Weather

Minsk has a continental climate with generally warm sunny summers and cold winters with regular snowfall. Daytime temperatures in summer (June to September) are around 25 °C (with a record of around 35 °C), in winter (December to February) around -3 °C. Nights are 15 °C and -10 °C respectively but can drop below -25 °C sometimes. Precipitation is fairly even during the year, although July and August are somewhat wetter. Winters have snowfall.

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Getting There

By Plane

Minsk International Airport (MSQ) is located 42 kilometres east of the city. The national carrier Belavia operates from the airport and several international carriers have flights as well including Lufthansa, Austrian Airlines and Alitalia. Belavia theoretically flies to and from Minsk, Brest, Homel, Hrodna, Mahileu, Mazyr and Vitsebsk.

NOTE. Unless you are on a UK passport you will need to buy a local medical insurance policy (US$ 2-5) for a short-term visit. This is particularly an issue at MSQ Airport where you cannot cross the border without a local policy.

By Train

Belarus Railways operates an extensive rail network with frequent departures to and from Minsk from most major cities and towns, as well as smaller regional places.

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Sleep

Minsk has very few budget sleeping places that are advertised online. One of these is the Hostel of International Relations Center located in central Minsk.

Budget

PropertyAddressTypePopularity
Lux Apartment in MinskNemiga str. 10APARTMENT-
Palace Republic Apartment CenterNezavisimosti 23 Lenina 5APARTMENT-
Minsk AccommodationNezavisimosti 18-15 zip 222000Apartment-
Lido Apartment MinskYakub Kolas Gikalo 18APARTMENT-
Postoyalets HostelPartizansky Ave. 147HOSTEL-
Hostel JazzMozyrskaya Street 37aHostel-
Viva Hostel MinskZhukovskogo St, 4HOSTEL83
Prime Apartments agency 152-1, Nezavisimosti AvenueAPARTMENT-
Prime Apartments Agency 252-2, Nezavisimosti avenue, MinskAPARTMENT-
Avenue-Center HotelSovetskaya Str. 100 a ZaslavlHOTEL-
EasyFlatBerestyanskaya st. 4, flat 21Hostel-
Hostel Sky2b Leanida BiadyHOSTEL-
Trinity Hostel12 Starovilenskaya StrHOSTEL-
KinghostelStorozhevskaya 8-208HOSTEL-
Best Minsk Hostelul. Podgornaya 42HOSTEL-
Comfort Apart-Hotel1, Shchorsa Str. GrushevkaHOTEL-
Garni HotelInternacionalnaya St. 11HOTEL-
IBB Hotel11 Gazeta Pravda Ave.HOTEL-
Orbita Hotel39 Pushkin AvenueHOTEL-
Planeta Hotel31 Pobediteley Ave.HOTEL-
Yubileinaya Hotel19 Pobediteley Ave.HOTEL-
Marx HostelC. Marx str. 8-99HOSTEL-

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Keep Connected

Internet

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 major cities, but you’re more likely to be able to access the internet from your hotel’s Wi-Fi.

Phone

See also: International Telephone Calls

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. Calls from Belarus to some countries must be booked through the international operator. Public telephones take cards. Grey booths are for internal calls and blue ones for international calls. Prepaid phone cards are available.

There are 3 major GSM providers in Belarus: MTS, Velcom and Life. All of them offer no-contract GSM SIM-cards and USB modems for Internet access. Cellular communications are very affordable and popular in Belarus. Each of these companies has numerous stores in Minsk, Brest and other regional centres. You will need your passport to purchase a SIM card, but many tariffs are available only to those who are registered with the authorities in Belarus. However, a stamp by your hotel on the back of the immigration card in your passport is sufficient to be registered, and this is routinely done by hotels upon check-in.

Avoid using your home SIM card in your own phone. Switch off data roaming and use only wifi instead.

Post

Belposhta (Belarusian: Белпошта) is the national postal service of Belarus. Services are affordabele but slow: airmail to Western Europe takes a minimum of 10 days. Post offices are generally open between 8:00am and 6:00pm Monday to Friday, but some central offices in major cities keep slightly longer hours. Likewise, in rural small communicaties post offices might not be open every day. If you want to send a package internationally, use companies like DHL, FedEx, TNT or UPS, as they are faster and more reliable.

Quick Facts

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Coordinates
  • Latitude: 53.967787
  • Longitude: 27.576555

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This is version 32. Last edited at 14:31 on Sep 15, 14 by Utrecht. 14 articles link to this page.

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