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Minsk

(Image source: www.minsktravelguide.com)

City introduction

Minsk is the capital and the biggest city of the Republic of Belarus. Minsk is mentioned in the first time about year 1067, which means that Minsk is older than other European cities like Moscow and Stockholm. There are many legends relating to the foundation of Minsk and the origin of its name. Situated on the watershed of the river-routes ing the Baltic to the Black sea, its trading history going back to prehistoric times some have thought that the city owes its name to the word miena or «barter». A heroic folk legend that a giant called Menesk or Mincz kept a mill on the banks of a river, and ground rock and stones to make flower for bread in order to feed the war-band he had assembled to protect his settlement, and safeguard its prosperity.

Minsk was destroyed and restored a lot of times. Most of all the city was damaged during World War II when it was destroyed almost completely but it was rebuilt during the Soviet time. This means that Minsk has a lot of interesting Soviet-era architecture and city planning.

Today Minsk is the modern European city, the largest in the country. The city has excellent transport means of communication, including the airport, the large railway station, bus stations. In Minsk the subway works, the city motor transportation system is well developed. Minsk is a compact city. It is a very easy city to get around owing to its lucid and plain street layout. Newcomers are usually quick to adapt to Minsk ways.

Minsk is a city of modest and concise beauty. It is a city of natural charm and warm-heartedness of its citizens - wise, peaceful and tolerant people.

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.

One of the landmarks of the capital city is Independence Avenue that crosses Minsk from the center to the north-east. The avenue is 15km long, which makes it one of Europe’s longest city thoroughfares.

The avenue is famous for its architectural ensemble built in the Stalin’s Empire Style in the 1950s. The ensemble with its balustrades, outdoor lighting and flowers, seeks to get into the UNESCO World Heritage List.

For centuries Minsk has been a cultural crossroads where the Eastern and Western civilizations, their cultures and religions meet. All this has contributed to the formation of a special socio-cultural and religious situation. People of over 100 nationalities, professing different religions live here in peace and harmony.

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

Minsk is one of the greenest cities in Europe. Per resident there is 34 m2 of green space, and thanks to the success of environmental policy Minsk is one of the cleanest cities in the country. Parks and forest parks, public gardens, boulevards, many flowers and alpine gardens and flower beds adorn the city. Minsk has a unique landscape architecture. Green areas along the river Svisloch and Slepyanskaya water system form two semicircles of water and green diameter running through the whole city.

History

Over its nearly one-thousand-year-long history, Minsk, initially founded as a border fortress of the Principality of Polotsk, continuously changed its status. It used to be the center of a fiefdom, and then the capital of a voivodship (province) within the Belarusian-Lithuanian State. Under the Russian Empire it became the capital of one of gubernias (governments). From 1919 to 1991, it was the capital city of the Belarusian Soviet Socialist Republic. And finally, in 1991, following the emergence of the Belarusian sovereign state on the political map, Minsk became the capital city of the Republic of Belarus.

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 Ice Ages. The Svislach River, which flows across the city from the northwest to the southeast, is in the, 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

Residents of Minsk live in conditions of moderate and continental climate on which the Atlantic sea air has considerable impact. This influence is expressed in frequent cyclones. In the winter thaw is quite often observed. The summer is characterized by rather warm, but not hot weather. In the city prevalence of the western winds. Air in Minsk possesses the increased humidity, in separate months (generally in the winter) reaching 90%.

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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Our legal counselors: lawyer Song Yunfeng & lawyer He Wen, both from Dacheng Law Offices