Have you booked a flight and then suddenly realised you have no idea what to do in Minsk?
Don’t worry you not the only one! I’ll be honest – I knew nothing about Belarus before booking a flight here [besides reading about the presidents “mini-me”] but was very worried after my research. The country is run by “Europe’s last dictator” who has been in complete control for the last 20 years complete with secret police, political opponents going missing, election fraud… Really horrible stuff that shouldn’t be allowed to continue in the 21st century *but* (and I guess this is there danger).
However you wouldn’t know any of this if you were to visit.People here, including military and police, were kind and super helpful – always willing to deal with my lack of Russian and point me in the right direction!
I had a week in time warped Belarus – where apparently no one was told of the USSR collapse!
Here the secret police are still called KGB, tractor sales are indicators for the success of the economy and a statute of Lenin still stands outside the Parliament Building. Soviet-era monuments and Stalinist architecture were a huge highlight of in Minsk but I was also interested to see first hand what life is like here in this ah… “unique” country! It is the least touristy city I have been to in Europe and while 7 days might be a bit too long in just the capital it’s cheap, clean and has a lot going on if you do your research.
Not sure if I want to promote it given the political situation but I reason that the more ‘westerners’ that visit, the more open the regime will get – or atleast the more aware the world will be of what is going on in this often forgotten country. The America’s have Cuba, Asia has Myanmar and Europe has Belarus…
What To Do In Minsk: The Highlights
What To Do In Minsk #1 : People watch along Independence Avenue, the cities main thoroughfare.
What To Do In Minsk #2 : Admire the communist busts at the award winning Zair Azgur Memorial Museum and Workshop.
What To Do In Minsk #3 : Catch the Metro and admiring the beautiful artwork in these ‘palaces of the people’.
What To Do In Minsk #4 : Enjoy a cheap night of fun and laughter at the Belarusian State Circus.
What To Do In Minsk #5 : See history from a different perspective at the Belarusian Great Patriotic War Museum.
What To Do In Minsk #6 : Pay your respect at the Afghan War Memorial On Island Of Tears.
What To Do In Minsk #7 : Visit the Victory Monument and The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.
What To Do In Minsk #8 : Have your daily cat fix at the bizarre Minsk Cat Cafe.
What To Do In Minsk #9 : Visit the All Saints Church, the most beautiful Orthodox church in Minsk and a memorial to innocent victims of war.
What To Do In Minsk #10 : Discover the weird Soviet sculptures and their modern juxtaposing.
What To Do In Minsk #11 :Admire the Red Church, the Roman Catholic centre of faith in Belarus.
What To Do In Minsk #12 : Say Hi to the statue of Lenin which still stands outside the Belarus parliament.
What To Do In Minsk #13 : Enjoy a night of art and culture at the National Academic Bolshoi Opera and Ballet Theatre.
What To Do In Minsk #14 : Admire the plethora of Soviet art that still dominants the cityscape.
What To Do In Minsk #15 : Look out for any events or shows going on at the Palace of the Republic.
What To Do In Minsk #16 :Visit the National Library of Belarus admire its weird rhombicuboctahedron architecture.
What To Do In Minsk #17 :Find your own green space and relax with a book in this city of parks and gardens.
What To Do In Minsk #18 : Spy on the KGB in their own building, just be careful to not get caught taking photos!
What To Do In Minsk #19 : Admire grand Stalinist architecture in all its glory at the City Gates.
What To Do In Minsk #20 : Wander around the old town, the last trace of Minsk prior to communism.