Most of the articles about Minsk are similar to each other, like the Ponomarenko brothers. I, too, used to sin something like this, so among my old posts you can also find stories about the Trinity Suburb and the National Library. But I’m a different person now. Therefore, this article will also be a little different. Here I wanted to show you the city as Minsk residents see it. To tell not only about Nemiga and the National Library, but also about good restaurants, viewing platforms, free concerts and about the places where I often visit personally.
If for all my efforts Google does not raise this post to the first line of its search results, I will have to fly to California and swear very seriously. The article turned out to be excellent and (more importantly) not banal. If you are reading it, consider yourself lucky, like the sacred cows in India.
Okay… I’ll praise myself later. And now let’s get to the point.
The station square is the first landmark of Minsk that you will see when you arrive in the capital. Trains from other cities of Belarus arrive here and buses from the airport also come here.
So let’s start with her and these two towers, which are called gates of Minsk.
Recently, photo shoots have often been arranged on their balconies. The pictures are excellent. But to sneak in there, you will have to wait quite a long time for someone to open the entrance doors for you.
An easier option is to walk 200 meters to the Galileo shopping center, climb to the third floor and find a cafe called “Balcony”. If desired, you can eat or drink coffee there with this view.
Photo from the website cafebalkon.by .
The establishment itself is quite average. But the presence of a free observation deck is a very significant plus.
Concourse Food mall
In the same building of the Galileo shopping center there is another interesting place – a new food court called Concourse.
He’s stylish and cute, like me in my beige trench coat. And from Thursday to Sunday there you can get free access to various master classes and performances by young artists.
Performances for children usually take place during the day…
And in the evenings – concerts of various Belarusian performers. These can be performances by DJs, cover bands or solo artists. Here, last weekend Alexandra Stepanova from the project “Voice-7” sang. I repeat once again: you can get to all events absolutely for free. The main thing is to check the current poster before going. You can do this on the website konkors.by or on instagram @konkors.minsk.
Independence Avenue and Karl Marx Street
If you like to walk – from the Station Square, walk towards Karl Marx Street, and then climb up to Lenin Boulevard and Independence Avenue.
There are many museums, embassies and just nice places here. Most of the buildings in this part of the city were built in the 50s of the USSR, as the embodiment of the ideal Soviet city. Here, from the facade of the art museum, massive statues of Stalin’s times look at passers-by. And stone stars shine under the roofs of houses.
A little ahead is the Yanka Kupala Theater – the oldest in Belarus. And on the neighboring Kirov Street there is an updated Dynamo Stadium (with its famous “fly swatter” masts). And this contrast of old and new forms a unique image of modern Minsk.
Here (not at the intersection of Karl Marx and Lenin streets) is the National Art Museum of Belarus. The gallery’s collections number over 27 thousand works (the oldest of which date back to the 16th century).
On normal days, tickets cost 10 BYN. But every first Monday of the month you can visit the museum with a 50% discount.
The historical quarters begin a little further – near the City Hall and the Church of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Just below is the Trinity suburb. And along the river stretches Zybitskaya Street, almost entirely consisting of various bars and restaurants.
To better experience the atmosphere of the old city…
- Take a picture with lions near the “Grand Cafe”;
- Listen to street musicians on Komsomolskaya Street, which has recently become pedestrian;
- And climb up to the observation deck at the Attic bar (to admire the colorful roofs and see Minsk from a slightly different angle).
I also highly recommend you to find a courtyard at Music Lane ½ (next to the MYOD cafe). In the warm season, tables are set up there, where it is very pleasant to sit, seeing off summer evenings. And in spring and autumn, filming and photo shoots are constantly carried out in this place.
In my opinion, the Upper Town is the most beautiful part of Minsk. Here you can see the remains of the Basilian monastery (on Engels Street) or wander in a cozy square, looking at the balconies of the old Europa Hotel.
Listen to the roar of fountains at the Opera House or just sit in one of the trendy Minsk establishments, of which there are dozens.
For example, my wife is very fond of the Jewish restaurant “Beten Gav” on Kisileva Street. And I like gastro-bar “Pinkie Bandinsky” better at Komsomolskaya, 13. There is a cozy courtyard where it’s nice to spend time in the summer, and great DJ sets on Saturday evenings.
The menu of the institution can be viewed in advance on their Instagram. The restaurant is not cheap, but it’s worth it.
How to find housing in Minsk?
Minsk also has its own haunted hotel. It is located in the old town – in the building where the monastery of the Bernardine Order used to be located. During the restoration work, secret passages and a secret room were accidentally discovered there, where the guilty were once locked up. And since then, the hotel allegedly began to register otherworldly activity.
Whether this is true or not, I do not know. But information about the presence of your ghost is given on the official website of the hotel. The hotel has already been visited several times by various teams of paranormal researchers. A popular site UFO.com , specializing in mystical stories, even published a separate report about him.
If you also want to go in search of Minsk ghosts – pay attention to this hotel.
Well, I can advise everyone else to look through the following two sites:
- The first one (specializes in hotels);
- The second one (in a private apartment).
After Booking and AIRBNB left us, they became a patch on my wounded heart. You won’t find anything better than them right now.
You can also search for apartments on various Belarusian sites: realt.by , hata.by , kvartirant.by , domovita.by and so on. But they have one very important nuance – it is quite difficult to find adequate reviews here.
And all settlements with the owners are carried out in the format “from hand to hand”. In fact, the sites themselves act only as platforms for placing ads. Therefore, in case of any problematic situations (during check-in/check-out), you will be left alone with the owner.
As for apartment prices, they fluctuate around 25-35 euros. In the center of Minsk – more expensive, in residential areas – cheaper. But, of course, if finances allow, and the soul asks for something especially luxurious, you can rent a good hotel instead of an apartment. For example, I really like the Beijing Hotel and the Renaissance SPA Complex.
They both have their own aqua zone, sauna gallery and other joys of life. The prices may be a little shocking, but we have what we have. Minsk is an expensive city. If you want to relax chic, but inexpensive – you will have to go to Mogilev. Read more about this in the article at the link below.
Nemiga Street and a few more words about the old town
Once the old city of Minsk was much more extensive. But in Soviet times, a number of blocks were solemnly demolished for the construction of Nemiga Street. Now only scraps of those places remain. The most famous of them is Trinity suburb. But, of course, he is far from the only one.
For example, there is still a on Rakovskaya StreetPeter and Paul Cathedral is the oldest Orthodox church in Minsk. And behind the huge gray houses of Nemiga Street hide the remains of the Rakovsky suburb. If this is not your first time in Minsk, you can find these places too.
Recently, a historical building was put in order there and an old bakery was turned into a fashionable playground. In my opinion, it turned out pretty well.
Cast iron and hipster vibes
In general, there are several old industrial territories in Minsk at once, which today are actively turning into fashionable clusters with art objects and stylish cafes.
Near the metro station “Molodezhnaya” there is a platform K21…
And on Kuibyshev Street (on the territory of the huge Horizon plant), a sandbox is now working — a playground with street food and a whole series of free events. There are concerts and various performances for children. In general – the same “Concourse”, but only in the open air. You can see their poster on the website sbox.by .
In the meantime, I’ll go further – and tell you about Oktyabrskaya Street. It seems to me that it is here that the atmosphere and vibes of modern Minsk reveal themselves best. Once there were trams running here, machine tools clattering, and intoxicating aromas of alcohol and leather enterprises hovered over the roofs of houses. The mixture was fierce, like grandfather’s moonshine. Therefore, local hard workers began to get drunk on the way to work.
When Minsk pigeons, flying through these sad places, suddenly began to fall en masse on the sofas of psychologists, the city administration took decisive steps. The factory walls were decorated with bright graffiti. The smell of vodka was diluted with notes of coffee beans. And the clatter of the machines was replaced by rhythmic beats of DJ sets.
Today, art venues and trendy restaurants (the number of which is increasing every year) work on the site of the old factories. And each courtyard and nook becomes a separate object of art. Therefore, walking along Oktyabrskaya is very pleasant (especially in the summer season).
My wife really loves the local burger called ENZO. And I like the art platform Vershy, where they serve good coffee and arrange film screenings, lectures and live concerts. The entrance fee is a donation (from 5 rubles). The schedule of events can be viewed on their Instagram.
A little bit about everything
Probably, I could write more about Victory Square, Minsk Arena and the National Library, but, in my opinion, these are all attractions from the category “Add to taste”. If time permits, it is better to go outside the capital. For example, in Zhodino, where giant dump trucks are assembled at the huge BelAZ plant, which have been included in the Guinness Book of Records more than once.
Or to Sula Interactive Park, where you can plunge into the atmosphere of the Belarusian Middle Ages.
But personally, I highly recommend going to Mir and Nesvizh. There are two of the most beautiful castles in Belarus (as well as churches, monasteries and towers shrouded in ghost legends). Without them, the trip to Minsk will certainly be incomplete.
Excursions to Mir and Nesvizh can be viewed here.
At the very end of the article, I also want to say a few words about Grodno – a city with many excellent institutions and the largest number of preserved monuments of antiquity. To go to it is quite far (3.5 hours by minibus). But it’s worth it. Just take a look at these views… I think they will tell everything better than me.
And if you decide on such a trip, read the article at the link below. There will be a detailed story about where to go and what to see in Grodno.
And now I just have to say goodbye. If you liked the article, write me a nice comment or visit me on Instagram. We will stay in touch.