Mysterious and interesting. Cold and charming. These words can surely be used to describe a character of some popular TV show but also describe the capital of Belarus – Minsk.

If you find yourself in its downtown – at Oktyabrskaya Square, the first thing you notice is an amazing contrast and an eclectic nature of the surrounding architecture. The ultra-modern velcom’s head office and nearby buildings are a great example of how different styles and epochs can get along with each other. By the way, the heart of Minsk is spread out before you if you look at it from the velcom-center: Victory Square, Nemiga Street where the city was founded, and Zybitskaya Street which had been reconstructed from a medieval street. These are the must-visit places for any curious tourist.


If you are looking for a unique contrast, Minsk is your city. A city of brilliant programmers and large-scale post-Soviet manufacturing enterprises, a promising business partner, and a quiet edge of Europe. These are just a few of the opinions, rumors, and myths about Minsk, and there are plenty of them. So, we would like to debunk them and form our own opinion.

Despite the fact that ancestors of many famous people, such as Scarlett Johansson, Kirk and Michael Douglas, Larry King, Isaac Asimov, etc., are from Belarus, this part of the continent remains a white spot on the thoroughly-studied map of Europe for many Europeans. We can only add that a short while ago, a Belarusian native – Svetlana Alekseevich – was announced as the winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature for the first time in the history of the independent Belarus.

Let’s look at some places worth visiting, things worth trying, and landmarks worth seeing!

What you need to know

The main point of interest is, of course, the Belarusian people. They are very friendly and open-minded, but it takes time to discover these features of the local character. When you walk along the Minsk streets, you might think that everybody around you is too serious. Nevertheless, when you get to know them better, you certainly realize that Belarusians are honest, happy, and open-minded. Besides, you will find Belarusian women beautiful and elegant for sure.

There are two official languages in Belarus – Belarusian and Russian. Actually, the majority of people in Minsk speak Russian, but they like interjecting some Belarusian words here and there and respect those who are fluent in their native language and speak it in everyday life.

Public transport is very well developed in Minsk. Both citizens and tourists appreciate it very much. You can get to any place within the city using it. And you won’t have to spend more than 10 minutes waiting at a bus stop. However, it does not operate 24 hours a day.

What you need to see

Nemiga Street is located within a stone’s throw of the velcom’s head office. This is a historic center divided into the Upper City and Troitskoye Suburb where you can see 19th-century houses. Here, you can have a stroll around Svobody Square, drop in at the City Hall or listen to instrumental music at the Upper City Concert Hall situated in the reconstructed building of the Saint Spirit Church.

Belarusians remember tragic moments of their history and appreciate the hard-earned peace in World War II. You can plunge into the atmosphere of that time by visiting the modern Museum of Great Patriotic War in Pobediteley Avenue.

The world cannot decide whether the building of the National Library of Belarus is beautiful or ugly. At first sight, you might think that it is a nightclub or something from the Star Wars movie, but that makes it even more interesting because there is a treasure trove of the Belarusian printing inside of it, an archive, a sightseeing platform and a restaurant.

One of the largest botanical gardens in Europe is located in Minsk. Today, it is owned by the Academy of Sciences and considered as a national heritage of Belarus. More than 10,000 plants from around the world grow in the Botanical Garden.

Gorky Park is the best place if you want to have some quiet time and get a bird’s-eye view of Minsk. There is also a planetarium located there. It often hosts some unusual events such as tours around the Space accompanied by modern Belarusian musicians.

What you need to taste

Belarusian cuisine is a union of the simple peasants’ food and exquisite dishes of tycoons. You can try national dishes in a bunch of places in the historic center of Minsk, for example at Talaka or Rakauski Brovar, etc. In addition, we recommend that you visit a few exuberant places where you will have an opportunity to feel the city’s spirit and try the dishes loved most of all by Minsk citizens, for example the legendary snack bar in the Tsentralnyi supermarket with its fresh pastry, the café of the Kommunarka chocolate factory with its original hot chocolate and ice-cream, and La Crête d’Or café where the city’s best Mille-feuille is made.

What else can one do?

Belarus is famous for its sports achievements. International athletes like Darya Domracheva and Viktoria Azarenko polished up their skills at local sports arenas. All sports arenas here are top-notch and deserve a separate tourist guide.

Minsk can be definitely called the Eastern European capital of casinos. You can easily find one in each residential district. Special tours for tourists are available as well.

Shopping is a must for tourists in Minsk. Classic Soviet shopping centers such as GUM and TSUM are preserved there from back in the day. Stolitsa is one of many modern shopping centers in Minsk. By the way, you can purchase many Belarusian brands that you won’t find anywhere else in Europe.

Zybitskaya Street with its bars and restaurants is a place that is gaining popularity quite fast. It is located, as mentioned before, near the velcom-center. You can start your culinary journey in the Feelini restaurant located on the 1st floor of the velcom-center. Then, cross the street and enjoy the atmosphere of Minsk at the Banki-Butylki bar, visit Cherdak with its great view from the terrace, and finish your journey at Chapski Bar where they know everything about good beer.

See you in Minsk!