Minsk is the capital of Belarus and city feels more Soviet than European, locals still talk about spies and the KGB building dominates the landscape. The military and police are ubiquitous around the city, but so are slick new nightclubs, sushi bars and cafes. Minsk is permeated by an almost-tangible pride, the result of triumphantly overcoming the Soviet heyday.
Best Time to Visit
The season between June to July is the best time to visit Belarus.
Top Places to Visit in Minsk
1. National Arts Museum
A great place to begin your exploration of the city. It is the country’s largest museum, featuring over 27,000 works of art in twenty different galleries. Half the museum is dedicated to Belarusian artists while the other half celebrates international works.
2. Cathedral of the Saint Virgin Mary
One of the most stunning cathedral built in 1710 heavily damaged by fire in the late 18th-century and later subject to German and Soviet ownership, the church was renewed once it returned to the Roman Catholics in 1997. The original frescoes were recently restored, and the church remains one of Minsk’s most important landmarks.
3. Saint Peter and Saint Paul Church
The oldest church in the capital, the Saint Peter and Saint Paul Church, stems back to 1613. Superbly restored in the last ten years, the church is a remarkable example of early Belarusian architecture.
4. Belarus National Museum of History and Culture
Visitors can walk through the country’s turbulent history at the Belarus National Museum of History and Culture. The information panels are only in Belarusian, but it is not hard to find an English-speaking guide in the city. The collection spans the country’s history from ancient times to the present day, featuring folk costumes, manuscripts, agricultural instruments, ritual artifacts and more.
5. Palats Mastatsva
A walk through the Palats Mastatsva reveals the city’s hipper side. Visitors to the district can really get a feel for the city while browsing book stalls, people-watching from park benches, haggling with antique sellers or admiring modern art.
6. National Library of Belarus
National Library of Belarus, an architectural wonder, was built in 1992. The massive collection includes nearly 10 million documents and books and is Belarus’s largest collection. More than 2,000 visitors can find quiet places to read in the library’s 22 floors, and the public observation deck offers unbeatable views of the city.
7. Big Opera and Ballet Theatre
The National Academic Big Opera and Ballet Theatre of the Republic of Belarus is the city’s cultural heart. Locals shorten the name to just the ìOpierny Teatr,î and the compound and its park are worth a visit whether you have a ticket for a performance or not.