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Minsk

 Minsk at night

 

 

Location: Minsk Oblast

 

 

 

Transportation

Hotels, motels and where to sleep

Restaurant, taverns and where to eat

Cultural (and not so cultural) events

Interesting information and useful tips

 

Minsk is the largest city in Belarus and also serves as the capital of the country. Minsk is the capital and largest city of Belarus. It is located in the center of the country, and is crossed by the Nyamiha and Svisloch rivers. It is the administrative headquarters of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS). Minsk is spread over an area of ​​509 km² in which according to estimates for 2017 a total population of 1 974 819 people. As a state capital, Minsk has a special administrative status within Belarus and is also the capital of the city of Minsk and the homonymous district.

The first historical references of the city date from the 11th century (1067), when it is named as a provincial city in the principality of Polotsk. The settlement developed on the rivers that crosses it. In 1242, Minsk became part of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania and received the title of city in 1499.
From 1569 it was the capital of the Minsk Voivodeship, in the Republic of the Two Nations or Commonwealth of Poland-Lithuania. In 1793 it was one of the regions annexed by the Russian Empire as a result of the Second partition of Poland. Between 1919 and 1991, after the Russian Revolution, Minsk was the capital of the Byelorussian Soviet Socialist Republic and later, in 1991, of Belarus after the dissolution of the Soviet Union.

 

 

Travel Destinations in Minsk

Archcathedral Holy Name of the Blessed Virgin Mary (Архикафедральный собор Святого Имени Пресвятой Девы Марии) (Minsk)

Archcathedral Holy Name of the Blessed Virgin Mary (Архикафедральный собор Святого Имени Пресвятой Девы Марии)

Location: vulica (street) Revolucionnaya 9, Minsk

Tel. +375 375172036541

www.katedra.by/

 

Archcathedral Holy Name of the Blessed Virgin Mary was built in 1700- 10 in the historic Upper Town of Minsk as part of the Roman Catholic Jesuit Monastery. Archcathedral Holy Name of the Blessed Virgin Mary is one of the most beautiful Vilnius Baroque churches in the city. It's interior contains 12 sculptures of apostles carved from wood and its walls are covered by colorful frescoes. For many decades it was the tallest building in Minsk.

 

Jesuit Monastery was abandoned after Pope Clement XIV dissolved the Jesuit Order in 1773 and in 1798 Minsk diocese was established. Monastery church got a status of Archcathedral. Through its long history Archcathedral Holy Name of the Blessed Virgin Mary was visited by Russian Emperor Peter the Great, his enemy Swedish king Charles XII of Sweden (during Great Northern War 1700- 21), Ukrainian Cossack leader Hetman Mazepa, Marshal Davoust of Napoleon's Army, Decembrist Nikita Muraviev, last Russian Emperor Nicholas II and many other historical figures.

 

During Atheist period of Soviet Union Archcathedral Holy Name of the Blessed Virgin Mary was closed. During World War II cathedral was partially damaged by aerial bombs. After liberation of Belarus historians reconstructed church to its former appearance. It was transferred to the athlete sports society "Spartacus". In the 1990's church was returned to Roman Catholics. Today it is the main Catholic Church in Minsk.

 

 

Belarusian Opera and Ballet Theatre (Minsk)

Belarusian Opera and Ballet Theatre (Minsk)

Address: pl. Paris Commune 1, Minsk

Bus: 24, 38, 57, 91 to "Opera House"

Trolleys: 12, 29, 37, 40, 46, 53 to "Opera House"

Subway: Nemiga station

 

Belarusian Theatre of Opera and Ballet is the largest theater in Belarus and the only Opera House in the country.

Belarusian Theatre of Opera and Ballet was constructed in 1934- 37 under supervision of architect of I.G. Langbard. It was completed in the Soviet constructivism architectural style, quiet popular at the time. Belarusian Opera and Ballet Theatre opened in May 1939 with premiere of "Mihas Podgorny" by E. Tikotsky, but it wasn't open for long. Just two years later the German army crossed the border with the Soviet Union and operation Barbarossa began. Aerial bombing badly damaged the structure of Belarusian Theatre of Opera and Ballet that was a perfect target with its white walls. However most of artists and support personnel evacuated before the Nazi troops made it to Minsk. Germans used Belarusian Theatre of Opera and Ballet as stables for their horses as well as a military warehouse.

 

Red Army liberated Belorussia in 1944 and reconstruction of the main city of the republic began soon thereafter. The war wasn't over and Soviet Union was devasted by terrible losses and a rampant hunger, yet republic's officials believed that restoring of Belarusian Theatre of Opera and Ballet had an important symbolic value. It took four years to clean up Minsk Theatre and fix all damages. It was finally re- opened in 1948 and became one of the most famous Opera Houses in the former Soviet Union. It's facade is guarded by four muses: Calliope- patron of epic, Terpsichore- patron of ballet, Melpomene- patron of the theater and Polyhymnia- patron of poets and poetry. A beautiful fountain was constructed in front of Belarusian Theatre of Opera and Ballet.

 

Belarusian Theatre of Opera and Ballet is surrounded by a small garden designed following a project of an architect I.G. Langbard. It is decorated with a sculpture of a dancing ballerina and ladies in lace dresses. Many tourists are snapping pictures with this symbolic representation of one of the hardest professions out there.

 

Cathedral of the Holy Spirit (Minsk)

Church of All Saints (Minsk)

Church of Saint Mary Magdalene (Minsk)

Church of Saint Yevfrosinya or Euphrosyne of Polotsk (Minsk)

Church of Sts. Peter and Paul (Minsk)

Gorky Drama Theatre (Драматический театр им. М. Горького) (Minsk)

Belarusian State Circus (Белорусский государственный цирк) (Minsk)

Church of Saint Joseph (Minsk)

The Red Church (Minsk)

Church of Holy Trinity (Minsk)

Church of Exaltation of the Holy Cross (Церковь Воздвижение Креста) (Minsk)

Church of Saint Sophia of Slutsk (Minsk)

Pischalovsky castle (Пищаловский замок) (Minsk)

Location: Volodarsky street, Minsk

Constructed: 1825

 

Pischalovsky Castle or Pischalovsky Jail is an infamous prison that stands on Volodarsky street of Minsk. Pischalovsky Castle was constructed in an architectural style of the early classicism in 1825 following an order of collegiate advisor Rudolf Pischalo, an official representing Russian Empire. It was designed by an architect Casimir Hrschanovich. Provincial jails were in poor conditions and couldn't keep all prisoners of the Belarus province. The state required new building to improve health and lives of detainees.

 

After completion of Pischalovsky Castle it was decided that it should be consecrated by an Orthodox Christian priest. Even though the prison church was completed within its walls, it turned out that the altar was facing the Western direction instead of traditional Eastern direction. The consecration was nevertheless carried out, but people took it as a bad omen. Indeed the superstition came to life. Over its long 200 year history Pischalovsky Castle was destroyed several times. The first time it was badly damaged happened naturally due to a structural collapse that happened just a year later. It took a major overhaul that costed large sums to the official state. Just recently Pischalovsky Castle experienced another damage when decorative prison tower collapsed just recently.

 

During its history Pischalovsky Castle held many prisoners that committed both criminal and political crimes. Today it still serves as a prison so obviously it is closed to the public.

 

Outskirts of Minsk

Aviation Museum (Музей авиационной техники) (Minsk)

Aviation Museum (Музей авиационной техники) (Minsk)

Location: Borovaya village, Minsk

Open: Tue- Sunday

Apr- Oct: 10am- 6pm, Nov- March: 9am- 5pm

Closed: Monday

 

Entrance Fee: 50,000 rubles (USD 2.5)

Children: 20,000 rubles (USD 1)

 

Aviation Museum of Belarus was found in 2009 on the outskirts of the village Borobaya or Borovanear Minsk. Aviation Museum of Belarus was organized on the base of the flying club DOSAAF, military youth club that was left since the time of the Soviet Union. Today it is transformed into an open air museum of Soviet Aviation with fighters, bombers, transport planes, helicopters and anything that can fly.

 

In all Aviation Museum contains over 30 aircrafts including planes that range from World War II period to modern day planes and helicopters. Unlike other historic museums in Aviation Museum of Belarus is fairly liberal with rules. You can climb inside plane and helicopter cockpits, try on the altitude- compensating suit and try one a modern pilot mask. Some of the planes can be flown and are often used by local Belarusians and tourists alike for practice and even parachute jumps. It costs 6 million Belarusian rubles, which is roughly converted to USD 300.

 

 

 

 


Transportation

Get in
By plane
Passengers from 74 countries do not need a visa if flying to Minsk National Airport under certain conditions.

All flights arrive at the National Airport Minsk (IATA: MSQ, 37km north-east from the city. Just before the passport control, you will find a cash machine; more are available inside the arrivals. Straight after that, you can collect your luggage and follow to the customs control. Even if you choose the green corridor, you may be stopped for questioning. It is a routine practice and shouldn't make anyone anxious: only large sums of cash, luxury products, alcohol and cigarettes will attract the custom officers' attention. The "Arrivals hall" has few small kiosks with Belarusian souvenirs, alcohol, newspapers and wi-fi cards; also ATMs, currency exchange, car rentals and train/bus ticket machines (more are at the bus stop outside the airport building). The Departure hall on the third floor has a 24/7 restaurant, several cafes, souvenir shops, bank and post offices. Free wi-fi is available at the Prime Time cafe (password: primecafe, January 2016), otherwise the whole terminal is covered by decent wi-fi from Beltelecom, an access card is required (very cheap, available from the Belsajuzdruk newspaper kiosk in the departure hall). Upon check-in, you will be advised on the sector number for the custom and passport control - allow 15 to 20 minutes to pass them. Several duty-free shops and bars are available just before the boarding gates.

Belavia operates regular flights to many capitals across Europe, as well as Israel and Central Asia; to major cities in Russia and Ukraine. Other airlines, such as Aeroflot, Lufthansa, Austrian, LOT, Ukrainian International Airlines, Air Baltic, Air China and Etihad provide good connections to Minsk from across their networks. Although low-cost airlines do not serve Minsk, most of the available carriers offer cheap tickets every now and then.

Getting to the city
Bus 300э runs every 30-50 minutes (less frequently late in the night) from/to Centralny bus terminal, next to the main railway station (Minsk Pasažyrski). The bus stop is clearly visible from the main airport exit - slightly on its left. For the timetable, see the airport website, Minsktrans website or check at the airport bus stop. At the Centralny bus terminal, tickets are sold at the ticket office. At the airport, they can be bought from the bus driver for cash or from a ticket machine inside the bus stop shelter and by the main exit from the airport building - paid by debit/credit cards. Price is BYN4.00 + luggage BYN0.40. In about 30 minutes after leaving the airport by 300э, the bus stops at Uručča (Уручча | Уручье) metro station. Ticket to this stop costs about 2/3 of the Centralny bus terminal ticket. Many passengers leave here to continue by metro and other means of public transport. If travelling to the airport from Uručča, leave the metro station through the front exit, turn right, and find the outermost bus stop. There is a small, well-hidden plate with a timetable. If you travel to the Aŭtazavod area (Аўтазавод / Автозавод) - Mahilioŭskaja metro station - you may prefer taking bus 173э to Sokal (Сокал / Сокол) suburb and changing for 112с at the same bus stop. Bus 173э, however, has a very infrequent service - see timetable.
Yandex taxi, which can also be accessed via the Uber mobile app, operates in Minsk. If you have a cell phone, this is probably the easiest and cheapest option – a ride into town can be as cheap as €10.
National Airport Minsk, the official airport transfer service, has a good reputation with short number 7373. But the official airport transfer service has several important shortcomings: Chinese cars, non-English speaking drivers, low quality of service in general. If you looking for higher level of service you can use private transfer services like Minsk Airport Transfer or Autotransfer. It should cost about €25-30 and transfers can be ordered in advance using online booking form.
Taxis are available at the airport although drivers generally will not speak English – have the name of your destination written in Belorussian or Russian and be prepared to pay in cash.

 

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. However, if you are arriving from say, Kiev, Moscow, or Lviv (Lvov) you need not worry about this. Plus as an added bonus, the prices are substantially cheaper from CIS countries.

Minsk can be easily reached from other major cities including Kiev, Warsaw, Vilnius, and Moscow.

From Kiev
There is a daily train leaving Tsentralnyi Vokzal (Central Station). It departs city around 9 pm and get you to Minsk next morning at around 8 am. As of November 2016 ticket fares are 1100, 1850 and 3500 UAH for different sleeping car types.

From Warsaw
There are two options - Direct and Cheap The direct trip takes about 10 hours. There are two trains a day -

First departs from Central Station at 21 which arrives in Minsk around 08:00, costing about €70 Second one departs from "Gdański" train station about 16:00 and arrives in Minsk about 02:00, direction Moscow. Cost about €150 (To "Dworzec Gdański" - Gdanski Train station you should use Metro Blue Line (First Line) from Central Station, 3 stops - Direction "Młociny")

But there is much cheaper way. €15-25 but you must use 3 trains/buses:

First of all - you must get to the Belarusian Border. The border split cities, Polish city called Terespol and Belarusian city called Brest. You can buy a direct train ticket to Terespol from Central Station (Warszawa Centralna) or take a bus to Terespol from Main bus Station situated at Eastern Train Station (Warszawa Zachodnia). Cost is about PLN50/€11. In Terespol, you cannot walk across the border, you can take a train to Brest (PLN13, 3 per day), and cross the border by hitchhiking a car. The passport check is very long, so be in Terespol at least 40 minutes before the train departs. Then you must take a train from Brest to Minsk (€5). There are 5-8 trains a day. At ticket office ask for "Kupeyny" and go to the platform with the trains going in direction of Moscow.

From Vilnius
From Vilnius, Lithuania, the train takes about 2.5 hours and runs three times per day (early morning, late afternoon, evening) plus there is one or two per day more expensive Kaliningrad–Moscow train at night; see timetable at Belorusian railway website. The train from Vilnius costs around €15-20 one way if bought in Lithuania or you can buy them in advance for nearly the same price at Belorusian railway online-booking website.

You have to walk to last platform and walk through Schengen passport and customs control and than board a train with selected doors (the conductor checks your tickets). Trains are quite modern with US English voice announcing the stations and border control procedures.

If you are non-belorusian citizen you will receive from a conductor a migration card with two sides to fill out; if the conductor won't give you one, ask for bumazka. Later, the Belorusian customs service will enter the train, asks you if you have alcohols and cigarettes above the limit and fast-check your baggage. Later the border control with big computer on the neck will come and ask you for your passport and filled bumazka (migration card). Sometime they can ask for insurance, letter of invitation or whatever else (as everywhere in East Europe: the more supporting documents prepared – better for you :). The inspector will check everything, stamp your passport and migration card (DO NOT LOSE IT!, you will need it in hotels and while leaving Belarus) and we wish you good luck in Belarus.

From Moscow
Moscow is connected with Minsk via several Belarusian Railway and Russain Railways trains daily, both daytime and overnight. Travel time varies from 8 to 10 hours. Trains crossing the border between Russia and Belarus do not stop there for passport check, therefore an overnight train travel from Moscow to Minsk offers a good sleep in a 4-berth or 2-berth compartment.

 

Hotels, motels and where to sleep

 

 

Restaurant, taverns and where to eat

 

 

Cultural (and not so cultural) events

 

 

Interesting information and useful tips

 

 

 

 

 

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