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Minsk

(Image source: www.minsktravelguide.com)

City introduction

Minsk is the capital of Belarus and the biggest city in Belarus with 1.8 million inhabitants. Minsk is mentioned in script the first time about year 1067, which means that Minsk is older than other European cities like Moscow and Stockholm. Unfortunately, large swaths of Minsk were destroyed in the Second World War, but it was rebuilt during the Soviet time. This means that Minsk has a lot of interesting Soviet-era architecture and city planning. Minsk is considered to be one of the most Soviet-like cities of the former SSSR.

Minsk is one of the least visited capitals of Europe among western tourists, which probably makes it more fun to travel to. At the same time, Minsk is a city that is really beautiful, both during summer when it houses a lot of nice street cafes and also during the other three seasons. Winter may not be the best time of the year to visit Minsk but it’s one of the times when the city is considered to be the most beautiful, illuminated with fabulous lighting.

Those interested in culture may look forward to watching ballet and opera performances of a very high class in Minsk. In addition to that Minsk has a lot of nice restaurants, pubs and nightclubs.

There are two state languages in the country - Belarusian and Russian. Other languages such as Polish, Ukranian, Hebrew are used in communities.

Natural environment

Minsk is located on the southeastern slope of the Minsk Hills, a region of rolling hills running from the southwest to the northeast – that is, to Lukomskaye Lake in northwestern Belarus. The average altitude above sea level is 220 meters. The physical geography of Minsk was shaped over the two most recent IceAges. The Svislach River, which flows across the city from the northwest to the southeast, is in the urstromtal, an ancient river valley formed by water flowing from melting ice sheets at the end of the last Ice Age. There are six smaller rivers within the city limits, all part of the Black Sea Basin.

Minsk is in the area of mixed forests typical of most of Belarus. Pinewood and mixed forests border the edge of the city, especially in the north and east. Some of the forests were preserved as parks as the city grew.

The city was initially built on the hills, which allowed for defensive fortifications, and the western parts of the city can be described as being “hilly.”

Climate

Minsk has a warm summer hemiboreal humid continental climate, owing to its location between the strong influence of the moist air of the Atlantic Ocean and the dry air of the Eurasian landmass. Its weather is unstable and tends to change often.

State holidays

1 January- New Year

7 January — Christmas (Orthodox Church)

8 March — International Women's Day

1 May — Labor Day

9 May — Victory Day

3 June — Independence Day

7 November — Day of October revolution

25 December — Christmas (Catholic church)

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