Minsk is the capital and largest city of Belarus.
The city is located in northwestern Belarus, on the Svislač and the Nyamiha Rivers.
As of July 2019, the population of Minsk is about 2 million people.
The city covers a total area of 409 square kilometers (158 square miles).
The average altitude is 220 meters (720 feet) above sea level.
The area of today’s Minsk was settled by the Early East Slavs by the 9th century AD.
The city was initially built on the hills, which allowed for defensive fortifications, and the western parts of the city are the most hilly.
First mentioned in 1067, it became the seat of a principality in 1101.
Minsk passed to Lithuania in the 14th century and later to Poland and was regained by Russia in the Second Partition of Poland, in 1793.
The city has suffered many disasters, including frequent destruction by fire, sacking by the Crimean Tatars in 1505, occupation and damage by French troops in 1812, German occupation in 1918, Polish occupation in 1919–20, and almost total destruction in World War II, especially during the Soviet advance in 1944.
From 1919 to 1991, after the Russian Revolution, Minsk was the capital of the Byelorussian Soviet Socialist Republic, in the Soviet Union.
Minsk remained the capital when Belarus gained independence in 1991.
Today, the capital of Belarus is, contrary to its dreary reputation, a progressive, modern and clean place.
Fashionable cafes, impressive restaurants and crowded nightclubs vie for your attention, while sushi bars and art galleries have taken up residence in a city center once totally remodelled to the tastes of Stalin.
The longest street in Belarus – Independence Avenue in Minsk is 15 kilometers (9.3 miles) long. Throughout its history, it not only grew on the length and width, but also changed the name of 14 times. This is one of the last mainline neoclassical ensembles in the world of architecture, one of the longest street in Europe. This site was added to the UNESCO World Heritage Tentative List on January 30, 2004, in the Cultural category.
In 2006 when the new National Library of Belarus was constructed, nobody had ever heard of a rhombicuboctahedron. With 8 triangular faces and 18 square faces, the bizarre geometric shape was chosen for the new design of the library and has been turning heads since its construction. The building is 72.6 meters high and has 22 floors. Total area – 113,669 square meters (1,223,522 square feet). The library is located in Minsk and is one of the largest in the world.
The Belarusian Great Patriotic War Museum is a museum in Minsk. The conception of a museum commemorating the Great Patriotic war after the end of Nazi occupation sprung up even before the close of the war. The museum first opened shortly after the liberation of Minsk from the Nazi invaders, on 25 October 1944, making it the first World War II museum to open during the course of the war. It relocated to its current location in 1966.
The National Academic Grand Opera and Ballet Theatre of the Republic of Belarus is located in a park in the Trinity Hill district of Minsk. Local people call it the “Opierny Teatr” (Belarusian) or the “Opera and Ballet Theatre”. It opened on 15 May 1933 but it first did not have its own venue for presentations at the Belarusian Drama Theatre building until 1938.
Church of Saints Simon and Helena also known as the Red Church is a Roman Catholic church on Independence Square in Minsk. The cornerstone was laid in 1905 and the church was completed in 1910. On December 21, 1910, the church was opened. At this time, Minsk was part of the Minsk Governorate of the Russian Empire.
The Orthodox Cathedral of the Holy Spirit is actually the former church of the Bernardine convent. It was built in the simplified Baroque style in 1642–87 and went through renovations in 1741–46 and 1869.
Botanical garden in Minsk is one of the largest botanical gardens in Europe both by the composition of the collection as well as by area. It was founded in 1932. Today its area is 53 hectares. Botanical garden can be called open air museum of living plants. The dendrarium is famous for its collection of coniferous trees.
Minsk is the major cultural center of Belarus. Its first theatres and libraries were established in the middle of the 19th century. Now it has 11 theatres and 16 museums. There are 20 cinemas and 139 libraries.
The city is also a major educational, cultural, and printing center, with the National Academy of Sciences of Belarus, a university founded in 1921, and numerous other institutions of higher education.
Minsk has a music conservatory and a palace of winter sports.
In June 2019, Minsk hosted the 2019 European Games.