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Minsk

Photo by Sergei MelnikMinsk is the capital of Belarus and its political, industrial, scientific, and cultural center with a population of 1,959,800 people (Belarusian Statistics Committee, 2016). Minsk is an ancient city first mentioned in chronicles in 1067 A.D. as a fortress in the Polotsk Principality situated on the banks of the Svisloch and the Nemiga rivers and surrounded by swamps and woods. In 1499 under the Magdeburg Law, the city was granted the right of self–government and land ownership, as well as certain privileges relating to crafts, commerce, and duties. After the Belarusian land was annexed by the Russian Empire, Minsk became a gubernia (province) center. In 1919, the city became the capital of the Belorussian People's Republic. During World War 2, it was occupied by Nazi forces (1941 — 1944) and suffered great damage. Its central part was actually raised to the ground and more than 80 percent of the dwelling houses were ruined. After the war, the city was rebuilt. During its 900–year history, Minsk has survived through innumerable destructive battles, eight great wars, and five devastating fires. Minsk became the capital of independent Belarus in 1991.

Photo by International Center of Book Culture Many travelers believe that Minsk is the best example of Soviet planning. It is a vibrant cosmopolitan city with a clean and bright feel. Along with modern buildings, you will come across old churches and monuments. To have an insight into the old Minsk, travel to the east of the Svisloch River, where the Trinity Suburb (Troitskoye Predmestie) was rebuilt in the 18th–19th century style. It is a quaint place scattered with cafes, bars, restaurants, and tiny shops.


 

There are also excellent examples of Baroque architecture such as the Cathedral of the Holy Spirit (1642) and the Cathedral of St. Peter and Paul (1613). The Catholic Church of St. Simon and Helena (“Red Church”) built in 1910 is an architectural monument in neo–Roman style, while the Saint Trinity (Saint Roch) Church on the Golden Hill (built in 1874 and rebuilt in 1983) is a monument of neo–Gothic architecture.

Photo by International Center of Book CultureMinsk is famous for its great cultural traditions. It has 20+ museums including the National Arts Museum, Museum of History and Culture of Belarus, and the Museum of History of Great Patriotic War; 28 theatres including the National Theatre of Opera and Ballet and the Philharmonic Society; 20 cinemas; and 139 libraries.

Minsk is a major center of science and technology with the National Academy of Sciences and its 164 scientific research institutions located in the city. In addition, Minsk has a reputation for a well–developed industrial profile. Minsk–based companies produce over one fifth of the country's production output and about 60 percent of the products are exported. The largest Minsk enterprises known in different parts of the world are Minsk Automobile Plant (MAZ), Minsk Tractor Works (MTZ), Minsk Refrigerator Plant (Atlant), Minsk Automatic Lines Plant (MZAL), Minsk Motorcycle and Bicycle Plant (MMVZ), Minsk Computer Plant, and many more.

Today, Minsk is a modern city with wide streets, large parks, and numerous bars and restaurants and we invite you to be a guest in our vibrant and exciting city.

 

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