Belarus - Tank-Ready streets in Minsk

As I didn't read anything about Minsk, I set my expectations as a pre-caution strategy to "very low" and was surprised how the city actually is. With huge clean streets and few, but nice sights it was an interesting visit in the small version of big Russia.

October 7 - Belarus, the tiny version of Russia

One day in Minsk. Arrived yesterday and as it was late evening already, so got ready to wake up early the next morning to visit the city with only about 2 million people. My reason for visiting Minsk? Basically, none but curiosity, especially as I heard that sightseeing opportunities have improved over the last decade. And indeed, it was a nice visit to have a glimpse of how the former Soviet state is still working a little bit like a Soviet state.

Had no problem finding directions, as the streets and buildings in Minsk are massive and so there is no narrow alley around five corners where I could become lost. I didn't expect it so rambling and due to the lack of time, I was a bit in a hurry. I did miserable planning of a walking route and the "things to see" and that was my problem, to effectively find everything that I wanted in the given amount of time.

Map with Things to See and which area to walk for sightseeing

Immigration itself is quick, but the counter to get mandatory health insurance took me about 15 minutes. It costs 1 USD per day for mandatory health insurance and so had to purchase it before going through immigration.

The streets were empty in the evening and from the airport, it took me a 20 minutes taxi ride.

The first hour after waking up early in the morning in Minsk and going to find a coffee - it looks like this. Right next to the train station.

Independence Square

It is just around a few corners from the train station. I have been warned by the accommodation owner, that it might occur that guards or security will ask me what I am taking photos of and that they might check it on the camera. In case they don't like the photos, they will ask to delete it and might even send you away from the place.

Have been told the guards dont like tourists making too many photos of the independence square.

Also plugged onto the Independence Square is this red church of Saint Helena.
Looks a bit out of place on the independence square

Saint Helena Church.

Its located right on the independence square

Everything is on the Independence Square. Everything they found, they somehow attached it on the Square:)

Walking the "praspiekt Niezaliežnasci"

Walking along the street which is called "praspiekt Niezaliežnasci", is a nice long walk. Wide roads, strong concrete, perfect to fit many tanks on it to roll through Minsk.

Streets in Minsk are ready for Tanks

In these cinemas its probably an advantage to understand a few words of russian language.
Russian Cinema in Minsk

The KGB Headquarter in Belarus

With security cameras attached everywhere. Unfortunately not open to the public for a visit.

This impressive building, on the main street of Minsk.

KGB is probably watching every single pedestrian

KGB Headquarter is only a few hundred meters from the Independence Square.

Massive Soviet apartments

So many apartments in one massive building. This McDonalds in Minsk is solely busy by catering to the apartments at which it is attached to.

Massive Buildings with dozens or hundreds of apartments

Because of the language barrier, which exists also in McDonald's, this cappuccino and the Egg McMuffin (which isn't on the photo) were a big achievement this morning. It took me 10 minutes until I had the correct breakfast and the right kind of coffee.

It took me a while to order an Egg McMuffin with a cappuchino.

Just some other random Soviet apartment block.
Minsk Apartments

Peter and Paul Church .. hmm.. ok...fits in :)

Monument in Minsk that has no background. So it was attached on to a pizzeria.
In front of some monument, which is attached to a pizza restaurant. At this point, I thought I have to make a selfie, cause maybe there wouldn't be much more opportunities afterward anymore. But I was wrong, Minsk is bigger than I thought, and much nicer than I thought.

Plenty of Ladas to see in Minsk.

Plenty of honey to eat in Minsk. Maybe it was just today or it was some kind of "honey day", but there was a huge market where they sold tons of honey of different kind and shapes.

The river through Minsk.
River in Minsk

Casino and hotel Belarus.
Is attached to the Hotel Belarus

Church of Mary Magdalene. Wasnt too eager to cross that bridge. Have seen so many churches and am tired of it.

Much more impressive is this building, another massive apartment block made out of thousands of tons of concrete. Its a nice walk along the river Svislach.

Island of Tears

The purpose of building this small artificial island with its small chapel, are the victims of the war in Afghanistan from 1976-1986.

A small monument at the Island of Tears, which is devoted to Soviet Soldiers who died in Afghanistan.

In this house, Russia and Belarus decided to split Russia into Russia and Belarus.

Victory Monument

The victory monument at the victory Square is protected by soldiers all day.

This was a bit a better location to make a selfie. Also, it marked the farthest point for me in Minsk that I walked. Halftime now and time to slowly walk back to the point where I started. Its a long way until being back to train station, where I have to buy a ticket for getting transportation to the airport and fly to Lithuania.

24/7 security guards around for protection

The circus of Minsk.

I dont know what its supposed to be, but as it is standing outside of the Minsk Circus, I assume the Minsk circus is having shows with these three animals, or so.
Tortuga, Turtle, Cat and Elephant

View along the huge Independence Avenue onto the Victory Monument.
Huge street with the Victory Monument at the end of the road.

Independence Avenue. What a wide street, in the middle of a capital city and ready to quickliy put tanks on it at any time.
Minsk Independence Avenue is built for Tanks

There is already one tank ready to hit the streets in Minsk.

The Belarusian Art Museum, which I only observed from outside.
The Belarusian Art Museum, which I only observed from outside.

Independence Avenue is passing through whole Minsk, from the train station until the airport. 

The restaurant Gambrinus. I didn't try to eat in this restaurant, as I couldn't read the menu :).

City Scales Sculpture.
Time for Selfie again

View onto the Holy Spirit Cathedral.

Trainstation not far away anymore. Time to ride to the airport for flying to Lithuania.

View onto Vorota Minsk

Most beautiful building in Minsk, right next to the bus station.

View from inside the train station.

Again another row of Soviet apartment blocks which will last for many hundred wars and years :)

1 comment:

  1. Thank you, Sven. What a fine intro to the city of Minsk!