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Weather & best time to visit

-3°
Tuesday, 06.12.2016
12:00 UTC

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Good to know

City map Minsk

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    Good to know

    Minsk – a brief overview

    Belarus’ emerging capital city belies the dated stereotype of faceless grey architecture and oppressed people. Despite, or perhaps because of having been flattened in WWII, Minsk is a neatly laid-out city, and a few clusters of pre-Soviet buildings still remain beside its meandering Svislach River. Minsk’s rebuilding programme did result in some massive Stalinesque blocks, including the KGB headquarters.

    But today there are also plenty of chic cafés, parks, and modern galleries. The historic links to its neighbours, particularly Russia, Poland and Lithuania, are still evident, but it’s an outward-looking city and its younger citizens in particular are keen to practise their English on the growing numbers of visitors.

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    Top 10 sights in Minsk

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    Minsk, Weißrussland, Belarus, Lufthansa, Travel Guide, Travelguide

    Museum of the Great Patriotic War

    praspiekt Pieramožcaŭ 8
    220004 Minsk
    Belarus
    Tel: +375 17 327 1166
    Show on map

    Opening times:
    Tue and Thu-Sat 1000-1800
    Wed and Sun 1100-1900

    This grimly moving museum contains over 100,000 WWII artefacts, from pocket watches to heavy weaponry, recounting the devastating bombardment of Minsk and its subsequent Nazi occupation. The museum moved to a new building in 2014.

    Belarusn National Arts Museum

    Vulitsa Lyenina 20
    Minsk
    Belarus
    Show on map

    Opening times:
    Wed-Mon 1100-1900

    Highlights of this superb art collection include local art from the mid-20th century in its brightly lit modern extension, as well as hundreds of exquisite Belarusn icons.

    Museum of Folk Architecture and Life

    Aziarco 223021
    Belarus
    Show on map

    Opening times:
    Wed-Sun 1000-1820 (May-Oct)
    Wed-Sun 1000-1720 (Nov-Apr)

    Beautifully restored Belarussian farmhouses, churches and other traditional wooden buildings have been arranged in this open-air riverside museum just outside the city.

    Oktyabrskaya Ploshchad

    Ploshchad Oktyabrskaya
    Minsk
    Belarus
    Show on map

    Minsk’s main square is the favoured site for political rallies, including the violently suppressed election rally of 2010. Major institutions flank ‘October Square’, including the Palace of the Republic, Trades Union Culture Palace, and the Museum of the Great Patriotic War.

    National Library of Belarus

    praspekt Niezaliežnasci 116
    Minsk 220114
    Belarus
    Show on map

    Opening times:
    Mon-Fri 1000-2000 (Jun-Aug)
    Sat 1000-1800 (Jun-Aug)
    Mon-Fri 1000-2100 (Sep-May)
    Sat-Sun 1000-1800 (Sep-May)

    This giant, cuboid modernist block offers great views of the city from its 22nd- and 23rd-floor viewing areas. The library holds around 2 million documents, and has several art galleries and a rooftop café.

    Belarus National History Museum

    Vulica Karla Marksa 12
    220030 Minsk
    Belarus
    Tel: +375 17 327 3665
    Show on map

    Opening times:
    Tue-Sun 1100-1900

    This vast collection of nearly 400,000 items details life in Belarus, from prehistoric times to the present day, including archaeological remains, costume and jewellery.

    Orthodox Cathedral of the Holy Spirit

    Cyril and Methodius St 3
    Minsk 220030
    Belarus
    Show on map

    Overlooking the lovely little Svabody Square is the main church of the Belarussian Orthodox Church. The twin-towered church, built in 1642, has a simple white facade but its ornately decorated baroque interior is stunning.

    KGB Headquarters

    zavulak Kazlova 6А
    Minsk
    Belarus
    Show on map

    Looming inscrutably over Independence Square, is the neoclassical head office of the Secret Services, still functioning in Belarus. Unsurprisingly, it is not open to the public.

    Traetskae Pradmestse

    Staravilyenskaya Vulitsa
    Minsk
    Belarus
    Show on map

    One of the few remaining examples of pre-Soviet Minsk, this tiny district by the river to the north of the city centre has been restored and many of its colourfully painted 19th-century buildings have now been turned into shops, cafés and restaurants.

    Gorky Park

    Vulica Frunze 2
    Minsk
    Belarus
    Tel: +375 17 294 5131
    Show on map

    Opening times: Mon 1500-2100Tue-Thu 1100-2100Fri-Sun 1100-2200(Fairground attractions in summer only)

    Minsk’s main gardens have a plethora of attractions for children, including a giant Ferris wheel, fairground, planetarium, skating rink and sports stadium.

    Good to know

    Country information

    Country overview

    Previously known by the name Belorussia (White Russia), the name Belarus was adopted when the country became independent from the Soviet Union as the USSR disintegrated in 1991.

    Geography

    Bordered by Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Ukraine and the Russian Federation, Belarus is a landlocked, relatively flat country, crisscrossed by thousands of streams and major rivers such as the Dnieper. Its landscape is characterised by uplands and lowlands created by glacial movements during the last Ice Age; these are also responsible for the Belarusian ridge which runs diagonally across the country. Around one third of Belarus is covered by forests, which are rich in wildlife.

    Straddling the border between Belarus and Poland is Białowieża Forest, one of the last stretches of Europe’s primeval forests and home to around 800 bison. The Palyessye plain, a swampy lowland in the southwest of Belarus was severely affected by the Chernobyl disaster and much of the area is off-limits as it is now part of the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone.

    General knowledge

    Key facts

    Population: 9625888

    Population Density (per sq km): 46

    Capital: Minsk.

    Language

    The official languages are Belarusian and Russian. Other languages spoken in the country include Ukrainian and Polish.

    Currency

    Belarusian Rouble (BYR; symbol p.). Notes are in denominations of p.100,000, 50,000, 20,000, 10,000, 5,000, 1,000, 500, 100, 50, 20 and 10.

    Electricity

    220V, 50Hz. European two-pin plugs are used.

    General business opening hours

    Mon-Fri 0900-1800.

    Public holidays

    Below are listed Public Holidays for the January 2016 – December 2017 period.

    2016

    New Year’s Day: 01. January 2015
    Orthodox Christmas Day: 07. January 2015
    International Women’s Day: 08. March 2015
    Labour Day: 01. May 2015
    Victory Day: 09. May 2015
    Independence Day: 03. July 2015
    Revolution Day: 07. November 2015
    Christmas Day: 25. December

    2017

    New Year’s Day: 01. January 2017
    Orthodox Christmas Day: 07. January 2017
    International Women’s Day: 08. March 2017
    Labour Day: 01. May 2017
    Victory Day: 09. May 2017
    Independence Day: 03. July 2017
    Revolution Day: 07. November 2017
    Christmas Day: 25. December 2017

    All information subject to change.

    Enjoy

    Nightlife in Minsk

    ListMap

    From highbrow and high-quality classical performances to loud and grungy bars, Minsk has a lively night-time scene, with many places still buzzing until the wee hours.

    Overtime

    Praspyekt Pyeramozhtsaw 4
    Minsk 220004
    Belarus
    Show on map

    One of the biggest and trendiest clubs in town, though the smart crowd it attracts isn’t quite matched by the rather sterile décor.

    National Academic Bolshoi Opera and Ballet Theatre

    1 Parizhskaya Kommuna sq
    Minsk 220029
    Belarus
    Show on map

    Minsk’s top classical auditorium, with a regular monthly programme, housed in a grand, wedding cake of a hall.

    Dozari

    Vulica Nezalezhnastsi 58
    Minsk
    Belarus
    Show on map

    This glitzy nightclub is spread over three floors, with several bars and lounges.

    U Ratushi

    Vulitsa Hyertsena 10
    Minsk
    Belarus
    Show on map

    This popular brasserie with beer garden has dancing to a live band on Friday and Saturday nights; worth booking a table.

    Graffiti

    zavulak Kalinina 16
    Minsk 220012
    Belarus
    Show on map

    Home of Minsk’s alternative scene, this psychedelically decorated club offers a diverse programme, from live funk and jazz to films and theatre.

    Enjoy

    Restaurants in Minsk

    ListMap

    Minsk has a good selection of restaurants, offering local as well as international cuisine.

    Its best eateries cost as much as in top European cities, but you can also find plenty of cheaper cafés and bars, including many in and around Independence Avenue.

    Grand Cafe

    Vulitsa Lyenina 2
    Minsk
    Belarus
    Show on map

    Price: Expensive

    One of the city’s top dining spots; classy but friendly, serving top European cuisine.

    Bistro de Luxe

    Vulitsa Haradski Val 10
    Minsk
    Belarus
    Show on map

    Price: Expensive

    This elegant bistro offers some of Minsk’s finest dining with an Italian touch; booking advisable.

    Talaka

    Rakaŭskaja vulica 18
    Minsk
    Belarus
    Show on map

    Price: Moderate

    Book ahead for this popular restaurant specialising in local dishes, with live music some nights.

    My English Granny

    Vulica Karla Marksa 36
    Minsk
    Belarus
    Show on map

    Price: Moderate

    The kitsch décor here attracts a hip crowd; eat traditional cuisine among the tasselled lampshades, net curtains and flock wallpaper.

    Stary Miensk

    Praspiekt Niezaliežnasci 14
    Minsk
    Belarus
    Show on map

    Price: Cheap

    This tiny but trendy café is great for a cosy coffee, tea or a snack, and decorated with quirky old knick-knacks.

    Discover

    Calendar of events

    Muses of Niasviź

    May 2016
    Website

    Venue: Niasviź Palace, around 120km southwest of Minsk

    It’s worth the trip out of town to Niasviź, around an hour and a half’s drive from Minsk, for this annual music festival. The UNESCO-listed Niasviź Palace, home to the wealthy Radziwiłł family from 1583 to 1939, becomes the stage for a series of classical and pop concerts.

    National Spring Bouquet Festival Fair of Crafts

    May 2016
    Website

    Venue: Lošycki Park

    Craftspeople demonstrate a wide variety of traditional arts at this festival, including carving, pottery, weaving and embroidery. There are competitions for the best artisans, masterclasses for anyone wanting to learn the tricks of the trade, live music, and the chance to buy beautiful Belarusian handicrafts.

    Cheese Festival

    June 2016

    Venue: Belarusian State Museum of Folk Architecture and Rural Lifestyle.

    Tasting, cooking masterclasses and competitions are all part of this festival at the national folk museum just outside of Minsk, which is attended by around a dozen producers. Visitors can compete for the title of cheese-lifting champion or watch the rat race, where furry creatures choose their favourite cheese.

    International Karaoke Star Festival

    August 2016
    Website

    Venue: Bohemia karaoke club.

    Forget The X Factor. If you like dressing up in glitzy garb and blasting out pop tunes at top volume, Minsk’s karaoke extravaganza is the place to shine. Claiming to be the world’s biggest karaoke contest, it’s free to enter and open to all wannabe stars over 18.

    Yuri Bashmet International Music Festival

    September/October 2016
    Website

    Venue: Various venues.

    Named after world-renowned conductor and viola player Yuri Bashmet, this classical music festival was first held in 2006 and has evolved into a must-do event on Minsk’s cultural calendar. A spectacular programme of orchestral and solo performances gives young artists in particular the opportunity to perform alongside world-class instrumentalists.

    Jazz in Minsk

    1 – 30 November 2016
    Website

    Venue: Various venues.”

    It may only have been on the go since 2012, but this jazz fest is already attracting a superb line-up of international and local jazz musicians. From large-scale concerts at Palace of the Republic to intimate evenings in the Jazz Club, it’s a terrific event.

    Listapad Festival

    6 – 13 November 2016
    Website

    Venue: Various venues.

    Feature films, documentaries and children’s movies are all up for awards at Minsk’s jury-led international film festival. There’s a strong focus on films from Belarus and neighbouring countries, and a huge number of out-of-competition screenings to enjoy too.

    Teatralny Koufar: International Festival of Student Theatre

    29 November – 6 December 2016
    Website

    Venue: Belarusian State University and Palace of Labour Unions

    Between 15 and 20 student theatre groups from around the world participate in this annual theatrical festival. In the past decade, over 50 countries have been represented. It’s a bit like a mini version of the Oscars, with prizes for the best actor, actress, director and scenic design.

    Motherland Defenders Day and Armed Forces of the Republic of Belarus Day

    23 February 2017

    Venue: Victory Square and throughout Minsk

    Also known as Men’s Day, this particularly macho occasion honours those who have fought or are willing to fight for their country in a day of marching processions, brass bands and wreath laying. The main event takes place at Victory Square, but there are also competitions and concerts throughout Minsk.

    All information subject to change. Please check the dates on the relevant event organizer’s website.

    Enjoy

    Hotels in Minsk

    ListMap

    Minsk is well served with hotels at the middle- and upper-end of the scale, though many of these are the rather characterless Soviet-era blocks, catering primarily for business travellers.

    The best, and inevitably most expensive, area to stay in is around Prospekt Nezalezhnastsi (Independence Square) and Ploshcha Nezalezhnastsi (Independence Avenue), the busiest hub of the city for shops and restaurants.

    Europa

    Internatsyyanal’naya Vulitsa 28
    Minsk 220030
    Belarus
    Show on map

    Category: Expensive

    Though slightly worn at the edges this hotel offers great service, restaurant and bars, and it’s in a central location.

    Victoria

    Pobediteley Prospekt 59
    Minsk 220035
    Belarus
    Show on map

    Category: Expensive

    This small modern hotel has imaginatively decorated rooms, good business amenities and free access to nearby leisure facilities.

    Yubileiny

    Praspyekt Pyeramozhtsaw 19
    Minsk 220004
    Belarus
    Show on map

    Category: Moderate

    This large, business-oriented hotel, in a pleasant setting close to the river, also includes a casino and bowling alley.

    Aparton Apartments

    Nezavisimosti Prospekt 31
    Minsk 220005
    Belarus
    Show on map

    Category: Moderate

    A good option for longer stays, these are smartly furnished modern apartments; from smaller rooms up to suites for larger groups.

    Sport Time

    Miastraŭskaja vulica 2
    Minsk 220020
    Belarus
    Show on map

    Category: Cheap

    This simple but clean, modern hotel is close to the main sports arena, and a short bus ride to the city centre.

    Good to know

    Best time to visit

    Today: Tuesday, 06.12.2016 12:00 UTC

    sunny

    temperature


    -3°C


    wind speed

    6.875 mph

    7 days forecast

    Wednesday

    07.12.2016

    -5°C / -11°C

    Thursday

    08.12.2016

    5°C / -7°C

    Friday

    09.12.2016

    5°C / 3°C

    Saturday

    10.12.2016

    6°C / 4°C

    Sunday

    11.12.2016

    6°C / 3°C

    Monday

    12.12.2016

    3°C / -4°C

    Tuesday

    13.12.2016

    -5°C / -9°C

    Climate & best time to visit Belarus

    Belarus enjoys a seasonal climate with long cold winters and warm, temperate summers. Its presence near the Black Sea means it misses out on the huge temperature fluctuations characteristic of this region of Europe.

    The best time to visit Belarus is during the summer months from May to September. In July and August temperatures can reach highs of 25°C (77°F) although the average is 18°C (64°F). In winter, temperatures can drop quite severely, with the mercury hitting lows of -4C (XXXF).

    JanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec

    8 °C

    -39 °C

    8 °C

    -35 °C

    19 °C

    -31 °C

    26 °C

    -18 °C

    31 °C

    -6 °C

    33 °C

    0 °C

    36 °C

    4 °C

    34 °C

    2 °C

    31 °C

    -5 °C

    25 °C

    -20 °C

    19 °C

    -27 °C

    10 °C

    -31 °C

    JanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec

    38 mm

    32 mm

    40 mm

    41 mm

    60 mm

    82 mm

    89 mm

    71 mm

    59 mm

    46 mm

    50 mm

    52 mm

    JanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec

    1 h

    2 h

    4 h

    5 h

    7 h

    8 h

    8 h

    7 h

    5 h

    3 h

    1 h

    0 h

    JanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec

    87 %

    84 %

    79 %

    73 %

    67 %

    67 %

    71 %

    74 %

    77 %

    83 %

    88 %

    89 %

    absolute maxabsolute minØ absolute minØ absolute minrelative humidityØ precipitationdays with deposit > 1mmsunshine duration
    Jan8 °C-39 °C-4 °C-10 °C87 %38 mm101.3 h
    Feb8 °C-35 °C-3 °C-9 °C84 %32 mm82.6 h
    Mar19 °C-31 °C1 °C-6 °C79 %40 mm104.1 h
    Apr26 °C-18 °C9 °C1 °C73 %41 mm95.8 h
    May31 °C-6 °C17 °C7 °C67 %60 mm97.8 h
    Jun33 °C0 °C21 °C10 °C67 %82 mm118.8 h
    Jul36 °C4 °C23 °C12 °C71 %89 mm118.4 h
    Aug34 °C2 °C21 °C11 °C74 %71 mm87.5 h
    Sep31 °C-5 °C17 °C7 °C77 %59 mm105.1 h
    Oct25 °C-20 °C9 °C2 °C83 %46 mm103.3 h
    Nov19 °C-27 °C2 °C-1 °C88 %50 mm111.1 h
    Dec10 °C-31 °C-2 °C-6 °C89 %52 mm130.9 h
    year36 °C-39 °C9 °C1 °C78 %660 mm1204.7 h
    Good to know

    Phone calls & Internet

    Telephone/Mobile Telephone

    Dialing code: +375

    Telephone

    To make international calls it is necessary to dial 8, wait for a tone, then dial 10. Calls from Belarus to some countries must be booked through the international operator. Public telephones take cards. Grey booths are for internal calls and blue ones for international calls. Prepaid phone cards are available.

    Mobile Telephone

    Belarusian mobile phone networks have grown more extensive in their coverage, and are no longer limited to the major cities. There are several international roaming agreements in place; however it’s often much cheaper to make calls by either hiring a local handset with Venezuelan sim card, or else using a local sim inside an unlocked mobile phone.

    Internet

    There are a few internet cafes in the major cities, but you’re more likely to be able to access the internet from your hotel’s Wi-Fi. Broadband is growing increasingly common but be prepared for slow connection speeds. Access is also available at some post offices.

    Enjoy

    Shopping in Minsk

    Stadtführer, Lufthansa, Travelguide, Shopping, Einkaufen

    Key Areas

    Minskovites have not yet quite acquired the Western passion for shopping, but they do love large department stores, including the (in)famous Russian GUM emporium. Nezalezhnastsi (Independence Square and Avenue) is the main hub, particularly for mass-produced handicrafts; or for more individual shops, the old district of Traetskae Pradmestse has the best selection.

    Markets

    There aren’t many markets in the city centre, but for secondhand books and antiques, try the Palats Mastatsva. For arts and crafts, the Minsky Vernisazh, Ploshcha Oktyabrskaya, is good for browsing and haggling.

    Shopping Centres

    Stolitsa shopping centre, beneath Independence Square, is Minsk’s only mall, with a sizeable array of the city’s top shops, spread over three storeys. Or for a retro shopping adventure, GUM and Tsum, both on Prospekt Nezalezhnastsi (Independence Avenue), are the best of the giant department stores.

    Good to know

    Traveller etiquette

    Social Conventions

    If meeting a stranger, shaking hands is the usual form of greeting. Hospitality is part of the tradition and people are welcoming and friendly, although Belarusians are also known for their brusqueness. If you are invited to someone’s house, be sure to bring a small token as a gift. The same goes for power lunches – company gifts are well received. Avoid taking photographs of military or government installations.

    Take care not to use the ‘thumbs up’ sign to say ‘OK’; in Belarus this gesture this is considered rude. You may see people spitting in public – this is acceptable in Belarus. Belarus is quite a religious and conservative society, and homosexuality, whilst not illegal is kept very low-key so as not to invite unwanted attention.

    Good to know

    Health

    Food & Drink

    In terms of food and drink, Belarus does not pose much in the way of risks. However, tap water should be filtered and boiled before drinking. Alternatively you may want to drink bottled water. Whilst the risk of contamination from radiation is low, certain foods should be avoided, especially dairy produce, mushrooms and fruits of the forest, as they may contain high levels of radiation as a long-term legacy of the Chernobyl disaster.

    Other Risks

    There may be some risk of tick-borne encephalitis. Vaccination against hepatitis B and tuberculosis is sometimes advised. Rabies is present. For those at high risk, vaccination before arrival should be considered. If you are bitten, seek medical advice without delay. Take care to protect yourself from the sun during Belarus’ long hot summers.

    Contractual physician of Lufthansa

    Dr. Galenchik, Dmitri
    Minsk City Municipal Hospital #1
    Nezavisimosti av 64
    220008 Minsk
    Belorussia
    Tel. +375-17-2924-152

    Please note that Lufthansa accepts no responsibility for the treatment nor will it bear the cost of any treatment.
    Good to know

    Visa & Immigration

    IATA Travel Centre

    The IATA Travel Centre delivers accurate passport, visa and health requirement information at a glance. It is a trusted, centralized source for the latest international travel requirements. The IATA Travel Centre is the most accurate source available because it is based on a comprehensive database used by virtually every airline, and information is gathered from official sources worldwide, such as immigration and police authorities.

    IATA Travel CentreIATA Travel Centre