Minsk Belarus, one of the safest, cleanest cities in Europe is also a throwback to an era of Soviet control and communism. Minsk is a city that is fascinating for its combinations: cultural, architectural, and political. What the capital city lacks in official tourist attractions, it makes up for in atmosphere. Not many vacationers today plan Minsk travel, and during your trip it is more than possible that you won’t encounter one other tourist. This lack of a traditional tourist culture means that you are free to enjoy the country as locals do: spending time in cafés, strolling the streets, and getting to know the personal side of one of Europe’s most intriguing capitals.
The first hurdle to overcome is to secure your visa before departing. By booking a hotel in Minsk, this can be accomplished. The confirmation from your hotel can help a travel agency or you individually to secure your visa. Minsk travel is made simple by two international airports and a main train station. If you are traveling from the US, you will most likely have to connect flights to Minsk Belarus from another European city. If you would like to see Belarus as part of a larger train journey, it can be reached easily from neighboring Poland, Ukraine, Latvia, or Lithuania.
Minsk Belarus has experienced many rebirths since the city was founded almost 1,000 years ago. More recently, the city was bombed to rubble during World War II. After the war was over, rebuilding the city was the job of Soviet architects, and thus it now has a distinct Soviet feel of the city, with its monuments of a workers utopia throughout. Minsk travel allows visitors to step back in time to the 1970s, when the Cold War, communism, and Soviet power were a way of life. Luckily for travelers, there are pockets within the city where modern conveniences are developing. For instance, chic restaurants, cozy cafés, and a serious nightlife are found in today’s Minsk.
A hotel in Minsk can also be a "step back in time" experience. While neighboring countries are known for their cozy inns, Belarus, and especially the capital city, has cold, grey, Soviet-era hotels. Resembling government buildings more than a comfortable place to lay your head, these hotels are another leftover of a different era, but they do offer surprisingly comfortable accommodations. The most famous and dominating of this type of hotel in Minsk is the Hotel Belarus. A step above budget options in the city, the Hotel Belarus has a marble lobby and great views from the top floor. There are many options in the city for the budget traveler, and these guesthouses have a more homely feel.
The city isn’t overflowing with Minsk attractions, but there are a few worth a look. Many of these attractions are historical in nature, while some remind visitors that history hasn’t yet been written. The KGB building and current KGB headquarters is a reminder that you aren’t in Kansas anymore, so to speak, while Dom Ofitserov has a memorial of a tank in front of it that commemorates soldiers from Minsk who freed the city from the Nazis. There are botanical gardens and museums of art and culture to peruse, and travelers often seem bizarrely interested to visit a former home of Lee Harvey Oswald, the man held responsible for the death of John F. Kennedy; Oswald lived in Minsk for more than two years in the early 1960s after defecting to the Soviet Union. The two most popular attractions are the Museum of the Great Patriotic War and the often-photographed Old Town, while the Holy Spirit Cathedral is worth a look as well. For travelers who take a gamble of visiting Minsk Belarus, they are often surprised and rewarded by the city.