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Minsk Travel Guide

Minsk (Минск), the capital of Belarus, is situated in the center of the country on the banks of the Svislach River (see map). With a population of roughly 1.8 million inhabitants, it serves not only as the administrative center of Belarus, but also as the industrial, cultural and educational center of the country.

First mentioned in chronicles from 1067, Minsk has a long and turbulent history dating back over 900 years. Benefiting during times of peace from its central location on the crossroads between east and west, it was also repeatedly and unmercifully caught in the grips of war. Primarily a struggle for dominance between Polish-Lithuanian powers in the west and Russia in the east, both have left their political, economic and cultural mark on this relatively young nation. Several other powers who left their unmerciful mark on Minsk include Napoleon during his march east in 1812 and Hitler, who's forces occupied the city from 1941 until 1944. For the city's resistance against the latter invader, Minsk earned the distinction of Hero City in 1974.

Today the city has very few architectural relics dating earlier than the end of World War II. Most were destroyed during the advance and retreat of the German army. More tragic than the loss of property, however, was the city's loss of its Jewish population. Prior to the war an estimated 40% of Minsk's population was Jewish. By the end of the war this vibrant part of the community, which dates back to the Middle Ages, was virtually eliminated.

Despite such loss, Minsk still maintains a wealth of reminders to its past. Churches that survived the war (and the subsequent wrath of communist leaders) have since been restored to their prior grandeur. Dozens of museums and theatres have also helped preserve the nations unique culture and history.



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Minsk Weather

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Phoning Minsk

+ 375 (Country Code) + 17 (City Code) + Telephone Number
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Additional Resources for Minsk, Belarus