Planning the classic European tour? Visiting a bunch of different countries and cities over a few weeks? Let me guess – you’re visiting London, Dublin, Frankfurt, Barcelona, Paris, Athens and Rome. Was I close? Maybe not in that exact order; but I’m sure I got most of them right! These are easily the most visited cities in Europe for foreign travelers, considered to be the must-visits of the continent. But there’s so much more to Europe – it’s made up of 50 countries, after all! Before you start booking your flights and hotels to the cities that everyone else goes to, consider making your European vacation truly unique by adding one of the spots featured in Meetrip’s Unknown Europe.
Not many people outside of Europe know of the city of Minsk, or even the country of Belarus. This small eastern European country in its current state is less than one hundred years old; and due to its proximity to Russia, it has a history steeped in communism, Russian influence, and the Cold War. Despite this tumultuous recent history, the country’s capital city, Minsk, dates back centuries; and it still retains its Slavic history and beauty to this day.
Independence Square in Belarus, the largest public square in Europe
Mentions of Minsk date back as far as 1000 AD, and for hundreds of years was controlled by various ruling powers, including Lithuania, Poland, and Russia. It was in the 19th century, under the Russians, that Minsk began to experience economic and cultural growth as a city. This growth continued through after World War 2 under Stalinist ideals, with buildings and infrastructure being vastly rebuilt and developed. Even after the fall of communism, the city still continued to grow as a center of industry and economy. Today the capital of Belarus offers tourist attractions that are a blend of industrial communism and centuries of history.
Just the Facts: Minsk, Belarus
Population: 1,921,807 in 2014
Area:409.5 km2 (158.1 sq mi)
Language: Belarusian; Russian
Time Zone: Further-eastern European Time
Accessibility: International Airport; Train; Inter-city Bus
Transportation: Metro system, tram, trolleybus, bus