Get your cheap flights to Minsk for:
- business meetings
- a glimpse of some beautiful local churches
- exciting art and history museums
Minsk is nestled on the south eastern slope of the Minsk Hills, a region of pine forested hills that roll along from the southwest to the northeast, all the way to the Lukomskaye Lake in north western Belarus. Its valley carved out by the flowing of water from ancient glaciers, Minsk has grown around the Svislach and Niamiha rivers since its founding in 1067. Once under Polish-Lithuanian rule and then Russian control, Minsk is the both the capital and largest city in modern day Belarus, with a rising population of 1.8 million inhabitants. Get cheap flights to Minsk International Airport, the major transport hub some 42 km from the city.
Due to the constant influence from foreign lands, Minsk has not held onto one official language for too long. From its origin, most spoke an ancient form of Belarusian, before Polish became the predominant language. Today, the official language is in fact Belarusian, but most inhabitants speak Russian for everyday needs. English is widespread among the younger generations in the city, so a city-break to Minsk should not be difficult, especially if you have the basics of Russian to fall back on.
See and Do
Minsk is yet another Eastern European city with most of its architectural history lost during or in the aftermath of World War II. For this reason, a good place to start is at the Belarus National Museum of History & Culture to explore the history of Belarus, but do try to arrange a tour in English as all of the displays are in Belarusian. Of what does remain in the city, there are a few noteworthy buildings, including the excellently designed baroque Holy Spirit Cathedral that was built in 1642. Dated to the late 19th century, the Church of St Aleksandr Nevsky deserves a visit simply because it has been closed so often in the past that no one can know how long it will stay open. For the oldest church in Minsk, stop by Sts Peter and Paul Church, completed in 1613.
For a good sampling of art, get tickets to the Belarusian State Art Museum for national works, the Palats Mastatsva (Art Gallery) which displays mostly modern pieces, or the Mastatsky Salon - made up of exhibitions from local artists. If you haven’t fully gotten a sense of the history of Minsk, make way for Traetskae Prodmestse, a re-imagined 18th century old town built on the eastern shore of the Svislach River and populated with a few decent cafes and restaurants. Otherwise, spend some time at the Museum of the Great Patriotic War where visitors are presented a depiction of the suffering felt by Belarusians during the Second World War, through a series of stirring photographs.
The oddball attraction in the city is the apartment complex where Lee Harvey Oswald, the suspected assassin of John F. Kennedy, lived with his wife and their child for several years as an ex-patriot after leaving the marines. Before heading for leaving your hotel and heading to the airport, do a little shopping in the city, especially if you favour linen goods, which tend to be rather cheap in Minsk.