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Minsk

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Minsk (Belarusian: Мінск, Russian: Минск) is the capital and largest city of the Republic of Belarus, its population is about two million people.

Minsk and Belarus, in general, had a reputation of a Soviet experience park. However, this stereotype is not accurate; Minsk offers reliable and affordable public transport, plentiful hotels, convenient banking, as well as shopping and dining experience that international tourists will find familiar. The quality and number of sightseeing opportunities is plentiful. Those who want to see the Soviet past in action should venture further afield in Belarus and consider specialist tours.

Get in

By plane

Passengers from 74 countries do not need a visa if flying to Minsk National Airport under certain conditions. For more information, see Belarus#Get_in.

  • 1 Minsk National Airport (MSQ IATA , formerly known as Minsk-2) (37 km (23 mi) east of the city border), ☎ +375 17 2791300, fax: +375 17 2791730. All international flights arrive here. The Arrivals feature a standard selection of cash machines, currency exchange, a taxi call point, mobile phone providers, Life:) and MTS, kiosks. The Departures hall has several cafes and small shops. On departure, after passing the passport control, a selection of duty-free shops and cafes are available. For all services, please see the airport website. Airport plan For the free airport-wide Wi-Fi, use the АirportMinsk network. Cafes in the Departures have their own free Wi-Fi network.

Flight connections

The only Belarusian airline, Belavia, is based at the Minsk National Airport which has become an increasingly popular transit hub for travel between Ukraine, Russia, Caucasus, Central Asia and Europe. Also, a number of Russian airlines, Ukrainian International Airlines, LOT Polish Airlines, Lufthansa, Austrian, airBaltic, Etihad, Air China and few other airlines fly to Minsk daily or near daily. For transfer instructions, see the Airport website (links in the left-hand menu).

Getting to the city

Bus

The airport is served by regular buses №300Э (price as of October 2017 is BYN4.00 and BYN0.40 for luggage) and private minivans №1400-ТК and №1430-ТК running every 30 to 45 minutes – less frequently in the night – from the central coach terminals (Aŭtavakzal Centraĺny, Аўтавакзал Цэнтральны; also may be spelled Avtovokzal Tsentralny, from its Russian name). The bus stop can be easily found in front of the airport, in front of the exit by the arrivals sectors 5/6 (far left side of the building). Tickets are purchased from the driver (Belarusian cash only) or terminals inside the airport building and at the bus stop using any local or international bank cards (only for the most frequent bus, №300Э).

If you take bus №300Э or minivan №1400-ТК, the first stop is in about 30 minutes - the Uručča, Уручча metro station. Change here to continue your journey by Minsk Metro (underground). Alternatively, continue to the final stop, Aŭtavakzal Centraĺny, located next to the main train station, Minsk Pasažyrski, Мінск Пасажырскі.

On the way back to the airport, either depart from the central coach terminals (Aŭtavakzal Centraĺny, Аўтавакзал Цэнтральны) or from the Uručča, Уручча metro station. Leave the station through the front exit, turn right, and find the outermost bus stop. Tickets can be purchased from the kiosk at the bus stop or from the driver. The schedule is available online.

The minibus №1430-ТК runs less frequently (see schedule) and takes a different route. It stops at the Mahilioŭskaja, Магілёўская metro station which may be more convenient for those going to the Šabany, Шабаны, Aŭtazavod, Аўтазавод, Čyžoǔka, Чыжоўка, Sierabranka, Серабранка districts and the stations along the Aŭtazavodskaja metro line. Tickets can only be purchased from the driver. The fare to the Mahilioŭskaja, Магілёўская metro station is BYN3.00, to the central coach terminals (Aŭtavakzal Centraĺny, Аўтавакзал Цэнтральны) - BYN4.00. Luggage is free, but there is only limited space in minivans, so particularly large suitcases may not be appreciated by drivers and fellow passengers.

Taxi

Yandex taxi, which can also be accessed via the Uber mobile app, operates in Minsk. If requesting from the airport, it may be helpful having the Viber app installed - taxi drivers tend to use it for contacting customers with foreign phone numbers. The airport charges drivers for repeat entries to the Airport area; drivers employ various tricks to avoid charges, incl. applying fake number plates. This may confuse travelers occasionally. The app offers a choice of collection points described by the exit in the Arrivals; there are three of them: Sectors 1/2, 3/4 and 5/6. The latter one is the nearest to the airport shuttle bus stop and so is the busiest one - to be avoided.

  • Official Airport Transfer. Flat-rate trips, from BYN30. The taxi desk can be found in the Arrivals. Only cash payments in the Belarusian currency. English-speaking drivers and wifi in the car. BYN30.
  • Minsk Airport Transfer. Using an online booking form you can book a fixed price transfer. You will be met by the driver in the Arrivals and get a free bottle of water and wifi in the car. From €30 single trip up to three passangers.

Alternatively, many taxi drivers offer their services in the Arrivals and just outside. Their prices tend to be steep, but negotiable; always agree on the price in advance.

Car

To reach the airport by car, leave the city by Praspiekt [Avenue] Niezaliežnasci | Праспект Незалежнасці and follow the M2 highway.

By train

  • 2 Railway Station (Minsk-Pasažyrski), 220050 Minsk, pl. Pryvakzaĺnaja, 3 (Metro: Plošča Lienina | Плошча Леніна. Bus: 3с, 81э, 85с, 102, 43, 79, 79д to stop Vakzal | Вакзал. Tram: 2, 1, 4, 7 to stop Vakzal | Вакзал), ☎ +375 17 225 70 00. 24/7. The main railway station of the country, it is well served by trains from western and central Europe, Lithuania, Ukraine and Russia - in addition to local destinations.

There is at least one daily connection from Berlin, some direct, some with change in e.g. Warsaw. Departures and travel times vary. - From Warsaw, the trip is about 10 hours. There is one train a day that departs from Central (or possibly Gdański) Station around 20:35 and arrives in Minsk around 8:00. - From Vilnius, Lithuania, the fastest train takes about 2½ hours. The train is pretty cheap: about US$10–15 one way. Also quite comfortable. - There are also trains from Prague and other European cities. - From Kiev is always a daily train leaving Tsentralnyi Vokzal (Central Station) at the eponymous metro stop in Kiev. It leaves Kiev at 18:22 and arrives the next morning at around 06:00. A 4 person berth should cost around US$47. From Minsk, train #86 leaves at 20:51, and arrives in Kiev the next morning around 09:00. A 4 person berth should cost about $47. - From Moscow an overnight train leaves every day 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. - In the train you will be given a card with two sides to fill out, and the guards at the Belarusian border will take one. You need to keep the other one for your hotel to stamp, and give it back to the guards when you leave the country. There are two stops. You should have your insurance and invitation letter (if you're a tourist) out to show the guards.

By bus

  • 3 "Tsentralnyi" Bus Terminal (Аўтавакзал "Цэнтральны"), Vulica Babrujskaja, 6 (M: Plošča Lienina 0.5km or Trolleybuses 44, 4, 7, 36 or Buses 46, 78, 958, 102, 123, 300э to Stop «Aǔtavakzal Centralny», - Next to), ☎ +375 17 3285605, fax: +375 17 2260994, e-mail: avtovokzal@minsktrans.by. International ticket offices: tel.: +375 17 3285605. - Buses to Augsburg (daily), Airport Minsk-2, Baranavičy, Brest, Bystrica, Warsaw, Vilnius hourly, Vitebsk, Gomel, Grodno, Munich. International couches timetable.
  • 4 Karbyšava Bus Station, vulica Karbyšava. For suburban buses to Lahojsk, Astrašycki Haradok, Radaškovičy, Plieščanicy and Viliejka.

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 may be a very long line of cars at a 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. There are may toll roads in Belarus, please be prepared to get on-board electronic unit and pay right from the start, so not to face heavy fines later on. Please check out information on toll roads at Beltoll's site .

Get around

Central part of Minsk is easily manageable on foot. Public transportation consists of buses, trams, trolleybuses and Minsk Metro (underground). It is cheap and reliable. One ride on bus, tram or trolleybus costs BYN0.60 or BYN0.65 when a ticket is bought from the driver (as of March 2018). Tickets have to be validated straight away.

The Minsk Metro (underground) consists of two lines crossing at the very city centre, stations Kastryčnickaja and Kupalaǔskaja. On the Metro map, the Maskoŭskaja line is in blue, it is often referred as the first line. It is the oldest line of the Minsk Metro. Its earliest stations, Instytut Kultury to Uschod, each uniquely decorated, are listed objects reflecting the Soviet architectural tradition. The Aŭtazavodskaja line is in red, it is often referred to as the second line. Each station on the map has been assigned a number (making a life for some tourists much easier, for sure), however, locals call the stations by their proper names. Trains run every two to fifteen minutes depending on the time of the day. The first train in the morning departs the initial station at about 5.30am, the last one in the night - 0.40am. A single journey payment is made by tokens bought at a window inside the station. One ride costs BYN0.65 (March 2018). Magnetic cards can be purchased for BYN1.00 (March 2018) for uploading to it 10, 15 or 30-day pass, or 10, 20, 30, 40, 50 or 60 discounted trips. The cost of the card will be refunded on return. Visa and MasterCard bank cards can be used at the Plošča Lienina, Plošča Jakuba Kolasa and Kamiennaja Horka stations (March 2018) for contactless pay-as-you-go payments. This is likely to be extended to other stations soon. See more about fares and payment forms on the Metro website in Russian.

Taxis Uber and Yandex Taxi (the same company in Belarus, Russia and Ukraine, but two separate apps are in use) operate in Minsk, cars are abundant most of the time and they are most convenient if you don't speak Russian or Belarusian. Stopping a taxi car on the street is a common practice. A flat call charge will be applied straight away; the driver must turn the fare meter on, otherwise leave the car or negotiate the final price immediately. Drivers waiting for customers at the airport and train stations tend to ask for hugely inflated fares; always negotiate.

  • Taxi Almaz 7788, toll-free: 7788. A large taxi company. Cars can be ordered by phone, online and via its own app.

See

Churches

  • 1 St Mary Magdalene Church (Tsarkva Svyatoi Maryi Magdaleny, Belorusian: Царква Сьвятой Марыі Магдалены), Vulica Kisialiova (вуліца Кісялёва) 42 (Buses 39, 18, 26, 44, 136, 29, 29н or Trams3, 4, 5; all to Stop «Театральная»). It was built in 1847 in the Russian Revival style, with a pointed octagonal bell tower over the entrance.
  • 2 Sts Peter & Paul Church (Православная церковь Петра и Павла), Vulitsa Rakovskaja 4 (Metro: Nemiga). Built in 1613 and restored in 1871, it is the oldest church in Minsk. It is worthwhile to go inside.
  • 3 Sts Simon & Helena Church (Russian: Костёл святых Семёна и Елены, Belorusian: Касьцёл Сьвятых Сымона і Алены), Vulitsa Sovietskaja 15. The best known Roman Catholic church in the city, commonly known as the Red Church, built between 1908 and 1910 in Romanesque Revival style.
  • 4 Church of Saint Joseph (Belorusian: Касьцёл Сьвятога Язэпа,).
  • 5 Holy Spirit Cathedral, Belorusian:Кафедральны сабор Сашэсця Святога Духа, Russian: Кафедральный собор Сошествия Святого Духа.
  • 6 Catholic St. Mary church (Католический костёл Пресвятой Девы Марии).
  • 7 Church of All Saints (Vsekh Svyatykh Sobor).
  • 8 Church of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross (Касьцёл Узьвіжаньня Сьвятога Крыжа), Kaĺvaryjskaja vulica (Calvary cemetery - Metro 'Маладзёжная' 0.5km).
  • 9 Church of Holy Trinity (Saint Rochus) (Касьцёл Найсьвяцейшай Тройцы (Сьвятога Роха)), Čyrvanazornaja vulica 44/А (M Plošča Pieramohi 'Плошча Перамогi').
  • Church of St. Yevfrosinya of Polotsk (Yevfrosinyi Polotskoy Sobor).
  • Church of St Elizabeth Convent.
  • Church of St Sophia of Slutsk (Sofia Sluckaya church).

Museums

  • 10 Belarusian National Arts Museum (Belarusian: Нацыянальны мастацкі музей Рэспублікі Беларусь), Vulitsa Lenina 20. We-Mo 11:00-19:00. Excellent overview of fine arts in Belarus. Many art description placards in English, unlike most museums in Belarus. - More than twenty seven thousand works of art – creating twenty miscellaneous collections and comprising two main representative ones: the one of national art and the other of monuments of art of the countries and nations of the world – can be found on exposition, at the branches of the Museum and its depositories. 50,000 rubles.
  • 11 Belarusian National History Museum (Нацыянальны гістарычны музей Рэспублікі Беларусь), vul. Karla Marksa (вулiца Карла Маркса) 12 (Kastryčnickaja metro station Кастрычніцкая 0.6km Kupalaǔskaja metro station Купалаўская , Plošča Lienina metro station Плошча Леніна 0.6km), ☎ +375 17 327-3665, e-mail: histmuseum@tut.by. 11:00-19:00 (last entry 6:30PM). Here is the biggest collection of the monuments of material and spiritual culture of the Belarusian people from the ancient times to our days. The museum has a good souvenir shop. Permanent exhibition - BYN7.00. Optional guided tour - BYN7.00; discounted entry for students and children. Additional charge for temporary exhibitions..
  • 12 Belarusian Great Patriotic War Museum (Музей ВАВ, Беларускі дзяржаўны музей гісторыі Вялікай Айчыннай вайны), praspiekt Pieramožcaŭ, 8, ☎ +375-017-327-11-66, e-mail: museumww2@tut.by. Tu, Th-Su 10:00-18:00, We 12:00-20:00, closed Mo. A large collection of exhibits about WWII in Belarus. Adults 8.00 BYN, students 4.00 BYN, free on 1st Tuesday of a month.
  • 13 Maksim Bahdanovič Literary Museum (Літаратурны музей Максіма Багдановіча), (вул. М. Багдановіча), 7a, ☎ +375 017 3340761. 10.00–17.00. It is dedicated to the writer Maksim Bahdanovič (1891–1917).
  • Art Palace (Palats Mastatsva), Vulitsa Kazlova 3. Tu-Su 10AM-7PM. Several exhibition spaces showing modern art, second hand books and antiques stalls. Admission Free.
  • 14 Mastatsky Salon, Praspekt Nezalezhnasti 12. Mon-Sat 10.00-20.00. An art gallery with local artists exhibitions and some overpriced souvenirs.
  • 15 Ў Gallery, Praspekt Nezalezhnasti (Проспект Независимости) 37a. (Metro Station «Площадь Победы»). contemporary art space, a bar, a bookstore and a souvenir shop with Belarusian design.
  • 16 National Library of Belarus (Национальная библиотека), Prospekt Nezalezhnasti (Проспект Независимости) 116 (metro station Восток 0.5km). Huge, glass and concrete rhombicuboctahedron houses a collection of over 8 million items. On 22 floors it features conference halls, 20 reading rooms and a Book Museum, on the roof there is an observation deck with good views of the city and surrounding area (accessed from outside via lift, ticket price below €1).

Other interesting places

  • Former Residence of Lee Harvey Oswald, Vulitsa Kamunistychnaja 4 (the bottom left apartment). Lee arrived in the Soviet Union in December 1959 willing to denounce his US citizenship and was sent to Minsk. He changed his name to Alek and married a native woman, Marina Prusakova, with whom he had a child. The young family left for the United States in June 1962.
  • 17 KGB Headquarters, Praspekt Nezalezhnasti (Проспект Независимости) 17 (Metro 'Купаловская' 0.5km; or Metro 'Октябрьская' 0.6km or Bus 100 to Stop «Ленина ул.»). This impressive building, on the main street of Minsk has a façade that belies what's found within.

You might be willing to hire a private guide when staying in Minsk or another major Belarusian city. Private guides are licensed by the National Tourism Agency - and you can check the list of their names on the official website of the Agency List of private guides in Russian [1] . A licensed guide must always wear a special Badge of a licensed guide in Belarus.

Out of town

  • Minsk Sea (Minskoe More) (5 km north of the city centre. - Buses leave the central bus station regularly. To get there by car, head north along the P28 and lookout for signs after Ratomka village.). This is an artificial reservoir. There's a free public beach, and pedal-boat and catamaran rental.
  • 18 Ozertso - Open Air Museum of Rural Architecture and Life (Aźjarco, Aziarco. Азярцо - Беларускі Дзяржаўны Музей Народнай Архітэктуры і Побыту), Aźjarco (The 203 bus from “Paŭdniova-zachodniaja” coach station goes directly to the museum. Timetable to the museum: 9:15, 12:00, 13:15, 15:50. - - Or The 402, 363, 277, 325, 357 buses from “Paŭdniova-zachodniaja” coach station to the bus stop “Pavarot na muzej”. These buses go in the direction of “Haradzišča” – 277, “Dubiancy” – 357, “kalchoz Kalinina” – 363, “Zachodnija mohilki” – 402, “Bohušava” - 325. - Timetable to the museum: 9:40, 10:00, 10:28, 11:35, 12:20, 13:10; 14:14; 14:40; 15:50; 16:30.). W-Su 10:00-18:20. 4 km west. 30 000 BYR, Cartage: - Itinerary №1: BYR10 000, - Itinerary№ 2: BYR20 000.
  • 19 Stalin's Line (30 km north-west. - 'P28' Road West side. - From Lashany village 2.2 km north), ☎ +375 0175032020, e-mail: info@stalin-line.by. A reconstructed line of defences on what once was the state border of the USSR.
  • 20 Mound of Glory (20 km east- 'P53' Road North side - Northeast 0.5km from Sloboda village). 70m high mound from 1969 commemorating Soviet soldiers who died during World War II.
  • 21 Khatyn Memorial Complex. 50 km north. A place where a village, savagely massacred in 1943 by Nazi forces, once stood.

Do

  • 1 Children's Railroad (K. S. Zaslonov Children's Railroad in Minsk (Belarusian: Дзiцячая чыгунка (Dzitsyachaya chyhunka); Russian: Минская детская железная дорога имени К.С.Заслонова (Minskaya detskaya zheleznaya doroga imeni K.S.Zaslonova)), prospekt Nezavisimosti, ~84a (Chelyuskinites Park - M Station Chelyuskinites Park). This is a 750 mm (2 ft 5½ in) narrow gauge railroad loop passing through the Chelyuskinites Park. The railway line counts 3 stations (listed from north to south): Zaslonovo, Pionerskaya (or Pionerskaja) and Sosnovy Bor (or Sosnovyj Bor); and a pair of rail loops after the end stops.
  • Alivaria Brewery Tour, Vulica Kisialiova Кісялёва, 30 (Niamiha Няміга metro station 1,2km along Vulica Bahdanoviča вул.Багдановіча), ☎ + 375295001755, e-mail: museum@alivaria.by. Wednesday to Sunday. The oldest Minsk brewery - and the largest in Belarus - can be visited with a tour which also includes beer tasting. This compact brewery located not far from the Minsk centre has preserved some of its original buildings from the 19th century. English tours are run if eight or more people get together, so inviting others to join makes it more likely to happen. Contact the brewery museum by email or online form in advance specifying the desired day and time, and the English language of the tour (it's Russian by default). Most likely, the tour will take place at 14:00. BYN14, card payment available.

Parks and gardens

  • 2 Botanical Garden, Vulica Surhanava вул.Сурганава, 2v (M Park Čaliuskincaǔ station Парк Чалюскінцаў 100m). with some 9,000 different species. Opened in 1932.
  • 3 Chelyuskinites Park (Belarusian: Парк Чалюскiнцаў, Russian: Парк Челюскинцев, pronounced [park tɕeˈlʲʉskʲintsef]), prospekt Nezavisimosti, ~91 (M Park Čaliuskincaǔ station Парк Чалюскінцаў). is an urban forest park. The park's area is 78 ha. The park contains an amusement park. Other attractions include a Children's Railroad, operated exclusively by teenagers, and a cinema Raduga (Russian: rainbow). There is a Minsk Metro station "Park Chalyuskintsau" next to the park. The park is adjacent to the Minsk Botanical Garden.
  • 4 Gorky Park (Парк Горкага, Цэнтральны дзіцячы парк імя Максіма Горкага, Maksim Gorky Central Children's Park), Vuliсa Frunze вул.Фрунзэ, 2 (M Pločša Pieramohi station 100m). A public park established in 1800 under the name Governor's Garden. During the Soviet times it was renamed "парк культуры і адпачынку імя Максіма Горкага" (Park of culture and recreation after A.M.Gorky) after the famous Russian/Soviet writer Maksim Gorky. Parks with this name have been established in many cities of the Soviet Union. A part of the park's territory is occupied by an amusement park with a 56 metre high Ferris wheel. It also has an educational observatory with a planetarium. The Ice Palace (indoors skating rink) is also located in Gorky Park. President Lukashenko, known for his hobby of ice hockey, frequents this place, at which times the access to this part of the park is closed for general public.
  • 5 Janka Kupala Park (Парк імя Янкі Купалы) (along Svislač river, M Pločša Pieramohi station 100m).

Theatres

  • 6 National Academic Bolshoi Opera and Ballet Theatre (Teatr opiery i balieta Тэатр оперы і балета), Plošča Paryžskaj Kamuny пл.Парыжскай Камуны, 1, 220029 (M Niamiha Няміга station 0.7km). The most sought-after Minsk theatre. It has an excellent reputation for quality of the experience and variety of performances, incl. for children. For regular performances, tickets are readily available online and from various ticket vendors across the city. For the most exclusive shows, e.g. Christmas gala concerts, tickets - if sold out - are occasionally made available from the theatre box office at short notice, a day before or so. BYN4.50-80.00 and more for special events.
  • 7 Janka Kupala National Theatre (Kupalaǔski), Vulica Enhielsa вул.Энгельса, 7, 220030 (M Kupalaǔskaja, Kastryčnickaja stations), ☎ +375 (17) 327-60-81, e-mail: info@kupalauski.by. 19:00 performances. The oldest and, arguably, the best Belarusian drama theatre. All performances are in Belarusian, some are dubbed into English (see the What's On section on the theatre website). Occasional music concerts take place here too. The theatre has two stages. Tickets can be purchased online from major ticket selling companies and in person - from several box offices, see the Box Office page on the theatre website. A pleasant cafe at the rear of its building is particularly good on warm sunny days. BYN6 to BYN22.
  • 8 Film Actors' Studio Theatre (Teatr-studiya kioaktera Театр-студия киноактера), Praspiekt Pieramozcau пр.Пераможцаў, 13 (M Niamiha Няміга station 0.6km). A small theatre well regarded for its high-quality performances. Most of the plays are in Russian. Inexpensive tickets and unpretentious facilities. The threatre shares the building with once the most prestigious Minsk cinema, Moskva; it is a listed building from the time of the Soviet Union.
  • 9 Republican Theatre of Belarusian Drama (Тэатр беларускай драматургіі), Krapotkina 44.

Buy

Traditionally, tourists bring from Belarus linen goods, embroidery, souvenirs made of straw and leather, as well glass and ceramics. Belarusian vodka has an excellent reputation; it can be purchased from the airport duty-free shops, though prices there will probably be slightly higher than in local shops. Zubroǔka (a Polish equivalent Żubrówka) is a popular spirit created in Belarusian Brest. Sugar-coated cranberries, flat crisps (čypsy, чыпсы), zefir (a soft confectionery), chocolate-glazed curd deserts (hlazuravany syrok, глазураваны сырок) and rye bread are treated as Belarusian specialties and are widely available.

Belarusian souvenirs are widely available from the airport and the main railway station, specialist shops and local department stores, and museums. Local department stores - GUM, TSUM, Na Nemige, Univermag Belaruś etc. - are good places for buying goods manufactured locally. Shopping malls mainly feature foreign brands.

Souvenirs

  • 1 Symbal.by (Сымбаль бай), Praspiekt Mašerava пр.Машэрава, 18 (M Plošča Pieramohi station 1km), ☎ +375 (29) 177-35-18, +375 (33) 357-35-18, e-mail: symbalby@gmail.com. 10:00-20:00. A popular store with a great selection of souvenirs, books, music and trendy t-shirts with patriotic prints. Purchases can be made online and collected from the store.

Shopping centres

  • Stolitsa, Nezalezhnasti pl (centrally located).
  • GUM department store, Praspekt Nezalezhnasti 23. Built in the 1950s, Socialist Realist classic.
  • TSUM department store, Praspekt Nezalezhnasti 54.

Other shops

  • Podzemka Bookshop, Praspekt Nezalezhnasti 43. An underground bookshop-cum-art gallery.
  • Suvenirnaja Lavka, Vulitsa Maxima Bahdanovicha 9. A souvenir type shop with straw crafts, wooden boxes, embroidered linen & Belarusian alcohol.
  • Central Bookshop (Tsentralnaja Kniharnya), Praspekt Nezalezhnasti 19. The largest bookshop in the city, some English language novels, guidebooks and stationary. Also posters of Belarusian president Alexander Lukashenko.

Eat

Traditional Belarusian cuisine is similar to that of the rest of Eastern Europe, but particularly Polish and Lithuanian - due to the common history. Soups, dumplings, baked potato, mushroom and meat dishes, pickled vegetables and salads are often on the menu. Minsk has a good selection of Belarusian traditional restaurants. Among the venues with international cuisine, Georgian and Central Asian restaurants have a particularly good reputation.

There are also several locations of McDonald's, KFC, and other Western fast food chains.

Belarusian

  • 1 Kuchmistr (Кухмістр), Karla Marksa 40, ☎ +375 17 327-48-48. Belarusian and Eastern European cuisine
  • 2 Vasiĺki (Васількі), Praspiekt Niezaležnasci Незалежнасці 16, ☎ +375 29 706-44-52. 8–23. The largest chain of casual dining restaurants serving traditional cuisine. Bucolic style and good local fare. Suitable for breakfast, lunch and dinners. More restaurants can be found around the city and in shopping malls.

Other

  • Freskee Cafe, Nezalezhnasti pr. 18. Café with a large choice of main dishes.
  • Dzhomalungma Indian, Vulitsa Gikalo 17. Huge menu with an array of cuisines: Nepalese, Tibetan, Sushi & Indian. Vegetarians and vegans should also be able to find something here. Mains from BYR8,000-30,000.
  • 3 Gourman trattoria (Гурман), ul. Kommunisticheskaya 7 (close to Grand Opera Theater). Styled as an Italian trattoria, the place serves Belarusian and European cuisine. English menu available.
  • Taj restaurant, Vulitsa Romanovskaya Sloboda 26. Open Noon-Midnight. North Indian restaurant. There should be an English menu available. Indian dance group on weekends. Vegetarian dishes start from around BR60,000 and mains from BR120,000.
  • National Food (Trinity Suburb). Not the restaurant's real name but this place has "National Food" on the front in big English letters so should be easy to find. It has a large menu of traditional food available in English, including a couple of vegetarian options. The food really sticks to your ribs. They also sell honey-flavoured kvass. Mains BYR20,000-30,000..

Drink

Cafes

  • Beze Cafe, Praspekt Nezalezhnasti. Viennese style café with a great bakery and light snacks.
  • Grand Cafe, Vulitsa Lenina 2, ☎ +375 44 7031111. 12:00-00:00. A high end restaurant on Lenin Street. Try the roasted duck or salmon with asparagus. They offer a no smoking section, menu's in English and most of the servers speak good English, too. Making a reservation is recommended, especially on weekends.
  • London, Pr. Nezalezhnasti (close to KGB headquarters, on the other side of the street). This friendly little café, in the shadow of the KGB headquarters, offers a wide range of teas, free wi-fi, seating outdoors (with heaters) and a small cozy room upstairs where it's possible to sit and talk in a relatively private setting.
  • Golden Coffee, Pr. Nezalezhnasti 18, ☎ +375 17 237 41 87. 07:00-02:00. This cafe is on the main strip and one of the few that has both an outside and inside patio. And it is THE place to see and be seen. The food is exquisite and they provide free wifi (till 6PM when it automatically goes off for some reason). Also two other locations.

Bars

Clubs

Casinos

Sleep

If you need a visa to enter Belarus, you must get registered with the local police department - Department for Citizenship and Migration within 5 business days. Most hotels process the registration automatically upon check-in while many apartment rentals might be reluctant to provide registration. Check if the rental service offers registration service and at what price.

There are plenty of apartment and room rentals available online.

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.

Budget

Many hostels are just apartment flats with bunk beds in all the rooms. Finding them and checking in many require a phone call and coordination and most apartments only have 1 or 2 bathrooms to be shared by all of the guests.

  • EasyFlat Hostel, Aeradromnaja str. 40, app. 14 (5 minutes walk from “Nyamiha”, “Kastrychnickaya” and “Kupalauskaya” metro stations), ☎ +375 29 7719833, e-mail: vip-zone@tut.by. Calm and cozy atmosphere. In the city center. 14-19 BYN.
  • Smile Minsk Hotel, avenue Dzerzhinsky, house 131, entrance 8. Check-in only on a preliminary call (600m from main train station), ☎ +375 29 771 94 14, e-mail: smile.minsk@mail.ru. Cheap, quiet, central location. BYR 13.
  • Hostel Stary Minsk, praspiekt Niezalieznasci, 18, apt 20 (3-minute walk from Belarusian National Arts Museum), ☎ +375 25 767-05-24. 6-bed dorm: $11.
  • Trinity Traveler & Riverside Hostel, Starovilenskaya, 12 (5 minutes walk from “Nyamiha”, “Kastrychnickaya” and “Kupalauskaya” metro stations), ☎ +375 29 311 2783, e-mail: hosteltravelerbelarus@gmail.com. The hostel has a spacious living room, kitchen, dormitories for 4-8 people, and a double. The hostel occupies two floors of a three-floored building.
  • Hostel Viva, Zhukovsky 4/ 1N (600m from main train station), ☎ +375 33 627 1133, e-mail: hostelviva.by@gmail.com. Directly in the city center. Only 2 bathrooms for 24 beds. Dorm bed €6-12.
  • Your Hostel Minsk, 1-y pereulok Skoriny 28 ap.7 / Скорины 1-й переулок, дом 28, кв. 7 (Metro and then trolleybus), ☎ +375 33 627 1133, e-mail: sonoro@inbox.ru. Far from the center, near the MKAD.

Mid-range

  • 40 Let Pobedy (40 Years of Victory), Azgura 3. Check-in: 12:00, check-out: 12:00. Nice rooms, decent location. No internet, few English speaking receptionists. US$45/shared room.
  • Hotel Belarus, Storozhevskaja 15-201, ☎ +375 17 209 7537. Check-in: 12:00, check-out: 12:00. 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/single.
  • Hotel Orbita, Pushkin ave. 39. Prospekt 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.
  • Planeta, Prospekt Pobediteley 31, ☎ +375 17 203 8587. Check-in: 12:00, check-out: 12:00. They have great services all within the hotel. Internet cafe is open till 20:00. Casino is open 24 hr.

Splurge

  • Hotel Europe (Отель «Европа»), International Street 28, ☎ +375 17 229-8333. Check-in: 14:00, check-out: 12:00. Exclusive five-star hotel situated in the historical and cultural heart of Minsk. The beautiful 7-story atrium-type building was built in the Modernist style of the early 20th century. Late departure till 23:00 is charged with 50% of the room rate. From €100.
  • Crowne Plaza Minsk, Kirova 13, ☎ +375 17 2005354, toll-free: +800 181 6068. Check-in: 12:00, check-out: 12:00. 5-star international hotel in the centre. The hotel, with its unique architecture, is opposite the Dynamo Stadium.
  • Marriott Renaissance Minsk Hotel, Dzerzhinsky Avenue 1E, ☎ +375-17-309 90 90, toll-free: +800 181 6068. Check-in: 12:00, check-out: 12:00. 5 star international hotel. Hotel is located on one of the main transport highways in close proximity to the city center.

Stay safe

Minsk is a safe and clean city. If you are in need of assistance, there is a strong police presence in the downtown area. Emergency medical help can be accessed 24/7, either in designated hospitals or by phone.

All Minsk Metro stations are equipped with security scanners and police are always present there. Passengers with large bags and, particularly, backpacks, are routinely asked to submit their belongings for scanning. The procedure is quick and the police are usually polite. Both the police and Metro staff keep an eye on not letting drunk passengers in, particularly in the evening. Even if you are tipsy, be prepared to answer about your destination station and address. Alternatively, use taxi, buses, trolleybuses and trams.

The Belarusian law prohibits taking photographs of the government buildings. Locals tell stories of tourists approached by officials after attempting to photograph the monumental KGB headquarters on Praspiekt Niezaliežnasci.

Attending political and any protests may not be safe for tourists. Even bystanders may be detained by uniformed and plain cloth police. The judge is likely to accept the police story later on.

Belarus is safe for LGBT travelers most of the time. Belarusian law neither recognises nor bans same-sex relationships; it has some provision for transgender people. Homophobic and transphobic abuse is not recognised as a specific hate crime; any such incidents would be treated as generic hooliganism. This has its impact on the society: most of the people would not mind having LGBT people around, but would regard any explicit signs of affection as unacceptable. This may also lead to violence. Gay and lesbian club nights, if held, are not advertised openly; a Russian euphemism "zakrytaya vecherinka" (closed-door party) is often used. In the past, there were reports of vigilante groups using dating apps; the police challenged those crimes. Taking reasonable precautions should be enough to stay safe.

The Belarusian law prohibits distribution of pornography. While it is not used to routinely police people's belongings and video streaming habits, there were odd cases of prosecuting Belarusian citizens for posting explicit content on social media and even in password-protected profiles.

The enforcement of road safety for pedestrians and drivers by the traffic police is often ruthless, so observing traffic lights and crossings are well-engraved in Belarusians' behavior. As a rule, drivers always give the way to pedestrians crossing the road in the designated places.

Cope

Languages

Language may be a barrier for tourists to a certain extent. Virtually all Belarusians speak or understand both Belarusian and Russian; the latter remains the default means of communication. Increasingly more young people speak English and many of them will be eager to practice it. The older generation is unlikely to understand English. It is wise for visitors to learn some key phrases in Russian or Belarusian. Also, being familiar with the Cyrillic alphabet used both by Belarusian and Russian is essential for traveling without a guide. Many street signs and notices in public transport in Minsk are transliterated into the Latin alphabet. A confusion may arise from the fact that the names of landmarks, objects etc. may be transliterated either from Belarusian (as the current official practice requires, however it is not strictly enforced) or Russian; to add to the confusion, the old practice of translating geographical names still has a place. As the result, Плошча Перамогі (Площадь Победы in Russian) may be referred to in publications as Plošča Pieramohi (or Pieramohi Square - transliteration from Belarusian), Pobedy Square (transliteration from Russian) or Victory Square (direct translation). There is no an easy way to avoid this confusion completely right now, however, being aware of the possibility of the same object being referred to differently depending on the original language used by the speaker should help. Please see also the official standard used for transliteration of Belarusian geographical names into the Latin alphabet [2].

Embassies

  • 1 Georgia, Freedom sq. N4, ☎ +375 17 2276219, fax: +375 17 2276193, e-mail: minsk.emb@mfa.gov.ge.
  • India, 63 Sobinova St, ☎ +375 17 2629399, fax: +375 17 2884799, e-mail: amb@indemb.bn.
  • Japan, Pr. Pobediteley 23/1, 8F, ☎ +375 17 2236233, fax: +375 17 2102169.
  • United Kingdom, 37 Karl Marx St, ☎ +375 17 2298200.
  • United States, 46 Starovilenskaya St, ☎ +375 17 2101283, +375 17 2177347, +375 17 2177348, fax: +375 17 234-7853, e-mail: ConsularMinsk@state.gov.

Go next

You may rent a car to travel around the country. Rates depend on period of hire and start from US$20 a day. There are offices of Europcar, Avis, Sixt and other rental companies.

Regional trains are also cheap. A trip from Minsk to Gomel (5h) with a cabin for 4 cost 20000 BYR and the train is almost never full.

  • Brest is a regional capital on the border with Poland and is rich with history from both the Soviet times and before. You can see a Brest Hero Fortress, perhaps the most impressive Soviet monument ever built. You can get there by train (~20 daily trains running from Minsk) at US$5–20. It takes 3-4 hr by train.
  • Gomel
  • Grodno is a border town in north-west Belarus, near Kuźnica-Białostocka in Poland.
  • Mir is a medieval castle about 85km from Minsk. Formerly owned by the Radziwill family, one of the great families of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania. During the Second World War it was used by the Nazis as a Ghetto. Inside the castle is a museum showing artefacts from the castle's past, including exhibits from the Jewish community who lived in nearby Mir village until their destruction in the war.
  • Lake Narach is the largest lake in Belarus, located about 160 km north of Minsk.
  • Zaslavl


MINSK, BELARUS. LOCAL GUIDE (1)

Masha Cheriakova

Read about who the Belarusians are and what you can do in Minsk!

Minsk. Belarus. Local Guide is the first complete travel guide with photos and illustrations in English to the capital of Belarus – Minsk. It has been written by a team of locals living in Belarus and abroad who find that their homeland has an undeserved negative stigma. The mission of the guide is to introduce Minsk and Belarus to foreigners like yourself who are keen to explore and discover a lesser known country right on your doorstep.

Minsk is a beautiful city with a unique mixture of post-Soviet and modern European atmosphere, full of interesting places to see and fascinating things to do! In the book, the authors share their love for their city with you. All the information you will read is a collection of local advice without any commercial or sales bribes. Making this travel guide 100% authentic and independent.

Inside Minsk. Belarus. Local Guide

A travel guide about everything to get you ready for your trip to the East, to Belarus, Minsk! In a humorous and illustrative way from locals’ perspective the compact guide shows everything there is to see and do. You will get information about preparation for the trip, who the Belarusians are, stereotypes, geography, history, languages, transportation, special events and festivals, souvenirs, districts of Minsk and regions in Belarus. You will find some local insights, what to do in Minsk with kids, what to buy in a supermarket and plan for a one-day trip.

Looking for even more information about Minsk and Belarus? Check out our travel platform about Belarus in English HifiveBelarus.com.

With the amount that you pay for the book you support us and our social mission of making Belarus English proof!

Why Belarus?

Belarus lies in Eastern Europe, between Russia and Poland and is gradually opening up to foreign tourists. There are several reasons why tourists should travel to Belarus:

to surprise people by saying ‘I have been to the least known country in Europe’! from February 2017 tourists from over 80 countries can travel to Belarus visa-free for 5 days (if they fly to Minsk airport). Belarus has a lot to offer to tourists – beautiful Soviet architecture, untouched nature that exists out of hundreds of lakes and wild forest, warm people who slowly started speaking English, good night and day life and a great cuisine!

Belarus: Minsk (Photo Book)

Lea Rawls

Belarus is a landlocked country in Eastern Europe. Its capital and most populous city is Minsk. Over 40% of its 207,600 square kilometres (80,200 sq mi) is forested. Its major economic sectors are service industries and manufacturing Until the 20th century, different states at various times controlled the lands of modern-day Belarus, including the Principality of Polotsk (11th to 14th centuries), the Grand Duchy of Lithuania, the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth, and the Russian Empire. In the aftermath of the 1917 Russian Revolution, Belarus declared independence as the Belarusian People's Republic, which was conquered by Soviet Russia. The parliament of the republic proclaimed the sovereignty of Belarus on 27 July 1990, and during the dissolution of the Soviet Union, Belarus declared independence on 25 August 1991. Alexander Lukashenko has served as the country's first president since 1994. Belarus has been labeled "Europe's last dictatorship" by some Western journalists, on account of Lukashenko's self-described authoritarian style of government. Lukashenko continued a number of Soviet-era policies, such as state ownership of large sections of the economy. Elections under Lukashenko's rule have been widely criticized as unfair; and according to many countries and organizations, political opposition has been violently suppressed. Belarus is also the last country in Europe using the death penalty. In 2000, Belarus and Russia signed a treaty for greater cooperation, forming the Union State. Over 70% of Belarus's population of 9.49 million resides in urban areas. More than 80% of the population is ethnic Belarusian, with sizable minorities of Russians, Poles and Ukrainians. Since a referendum in 1995, the country has had two official languages: Belarusian and Russian. The Constitution of Belarus does not declare any official religion, although the primary religion in the country is Eastern Orthodox Christianity. The second-most widespread religion, Roman Catholicism, has a much smaller following; nevertheless, Belarus celebrates both Orthodox and Catholic versions of Christmas and Easter as national holidays. Belarus is a member of the United Nations since its founding, the Commonwealth of Independent States, CSTO, EEU, and the Non-Aligned Movement. Belarus has shown no aspirations for joining the European Union but nevertheless maintains a bilateral relationship with the organisation, and likewise participates in two EU projects: the Eastern Partnership and the Baku Initiative.

Belarus (Bradt Travel Guide)

Nigel Roberts

This new, thoroughly updated edition of Bradt's Belarus remains the only full-blown standalone guide to the most westerly of the constituent republics that formed the Soviet Union prior to the break-up in 1991. Written and updated by expert author and Russian speaker Nigel Roberts, who has been travelling throughout the country for over 17 years, it is the definitive guide to understanding, and making the most of a visit to this much-misunderstood nation. Included in this new edition is a detailed focus on the capital city Minsk, the most likely destination for first-time travellers and now becoming a major European capital city thanks to an easing of visa regulations, as well as coverage of each of the other five cities and all six regions. Roberts draws on his years of experience and shares many stories and vignettes of his own adventures and experiences of everyday life, all of which help to bring the destination to life. In addition, there are recommendations and tips from his wide circle of contacts, including people at all levels of the tourism industry, charities working on the ground, local people and travellers from abroad, who regularly share details of up-to-the-minute information, changes and developments.With Bradt's Belarus enjoy the opportunity to put the cliché to the test; only ever described by Western media as ‘the last dictatorship in Europe', travellers certainly do have the opportunity to experience elements of life as it was lived in the days of the Soviet Union but can also see beyond the cliché as Belarus seeks to free itself from the Soviet past and establish its own heritage and place in the modern world. Discover beautifully preserved and restored museum towns such as Mir, Njasvizh, Novogrudok, Pinsk and Polotsk; see Soviet-style brutalist and modernist architecture; explore accessible national parks and vast areas of unspoilt wilderness, with ample opportunity to study flora and fauna; visit historic palaces and castles stunningly restored; and enjoy the unconditional hospitality of a people who are anxious to interact with visitors from the English-speaking world.

GREATER THAN A TOURIST- MINSK BELARUS: 50 Travel Tips from a Local

Anna Martsynkevich

Are you excited about planning your next trip? Do you want to try something new? Would you like some guidance from a local? If you answered yes to any of these questions, then this Greater Than a Tourist book is for you. Greater Than a Tourist - Minsk, Belarus by Anna Martsynkevich offers the inside scoop on Minsk. Most travel books tell you how to travel like a tourist. Although there is nothing wrong with that, as part of the Greater Than a Tourist series, this book will give you travel tips from someone who has lived at your next travel destination. In these pages, you will discover advice that will help you throughout your stay. This book will not tell you exact addresses or store hours but instead will give you excitement and knowledge from a local that you may not find in other smaller print travel books. Travel like a local. Slow down, stay in one place, and get to know the people and the culture. By the time you finish this book, you will be eager and prepared to travel to your next destination.

Minsk (Belarus) 1:27,000 Street Map & Region 1:100,000

Belkartografija

Minsk (Belarus) 1:27,000 Street Map & Region 1:100,000

Double sided map features a street plan of Minsk at 1:27,000 on one side and the Minsk region at 1:100,000 on reverse. Also includes a diagram of the suburban train system and street name index. The map is completely in Cyrillic. Authentic Belarussian cartography.

Minsk, Belarus: A Bicycle Travel Journal

Applewood Books

Create a cherished keepsake of your favorite cycling journeys with this elegant and inspiring pocket-sized bicycle travel journal. Record your travel plans, accommodations, companions, challenges, observations and insights, memorable moments, interesting people met, and favorite sights, meals, and adventures. Includes cycling-specific packing and travel tips, trip charts for cycling stats, an on-the-road repair guide, conversion charts, a point page, and a place to record the addresses of loved ones back home--to send postcards, of course! Sprinkled throughout are stimulating quotations from famous cyclists and biking enthusiasts throughout history, like Albert Einstein, Susan B. Anthony and Eddy Merckx, just the encouragement you need to write down your memories each day and re-live your journey for years to come.

Travel Like a Local - Map of Minsk (Black and White Edition): The Most Essential Minsk (Belarus) Travel Map for Every Adventure

Maxwell Fox

Get Ready For The Adventure Of A Lifetime!

This is a Black and White edition of Travel Like a Local map book.

Are you planning your next vacation abroad and you’re ready to explore? Do you want to be prepared for everything? Are you ready to experience every new place you visit just like a local? Well, with this amazing Minsk (Belarus) travel map you’re all set and ready to go!

In the map you can see all the available means of transport, bus stops and routes so you can always know how to get everywhere. And because we know that a vacation is not only about the roads and busses, the map gives you many options for eating, drinking and having a good time!

We carefully marked all the restaurants, bars and pubs so you can always find one that is nearby. In the Minsk (Belarus) map you will also find the best places to go shopping, the most famous and must-see sights, churches and more. And if an emergency comes up, there are markings of police stations and hospitals everywhere for your convenience.

The city is also organized in sections so you can better find your way around.

So what are you waiting for? Pack your bags, get your map and let’s get started!

Just Click “Add To Cart Now”

Travel Like a Local - Map of Minsk: The Most Essential Minsk (Belarus) Travel Map for Every Adventure

Maxwell Fox

Get Ready For The Adventure Of A Lifetime!

Are you planning your next vacation abroad and you’re ready to explore? Do you want to be prepared for everything? Are you ready to experience every new place you visit just like a local? Well, with this amazing Minsk (Belarus) travel map you’re all set and ready to go!

The Minsk (Belarus) map was carefully designed to give you amazing results and make traveling easier than ever.

We make sure to constantly update our info to give you the most relevant and accurate information, so you will never get confused or frustrated during your Minsk (Belarus) trip.

The map is very detailed and it will not only give you all the available roads and routes, but also the essential information to make your Minsk (Belarus) vacation unforgettable.

In the map you can see all the available means of transport, bus stops and routes so you can always know how to get everywhere.

And because we know that a vacation is not only about the roads and busses, the map gives you many options for eating, drinking and having a good time!

We carefully marked all the restaurants, bars and pubs so you can always find one that is nearby.

In the Minsk (Belarus) map you will also find the best places to go shopping, the most famous and must-see sights, churches and more.

And if an emergency comes up, there are markings of police stations and hospitals everywhere for your convenience.

Each kind of marking has a different color so you can easily navigate around the map and find exactly what you’re looking for within seconds.

The city is also organized in sections so you can better find your way around.

So what are you waiting for? Pack your bags, get your map and let’s get started!

Just Click “Add To Cart Now”

Between East and West: Across the Borderlands of Europe

Anne Applebaum

In the summer and fall of 1991, Anne Applebaum, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Gulag and Iron Curtain, took a three month road trip through the freshly independent borderlands of Eastern Europe. She deftly weaves the harrowing history of the region and captures the effects of political upheaval on a personal level.An extraordinary journey into the past and present of the lands east of Poland and west of Russia—an area defined throughout its history by colliding empires. Traveling from the former Soviet naval center of Kaliningrad on the Baltic to the Black Sea port of Odessa, Anne Applebaum encounters a rich range of competing cultures, religions, and national aspirations.   In reasserting their heritage, the inhabitants of the borderlands attempt to build a future grounded in their fractured ancestral legacies. In the process, neighbors unearth old conflicts, devote themselves to recovering lost culture, and piece together competing legends to create a new tradition. Rich in surprising encounters and vivid characters, Between East and West brilliantly illuminates the soul of the borderlands and the shaping power of the past.

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