There are many things to do in Minsk, so doing your itinerary while in the city will definitely be not a problem. For one, the museums in Minsk will be fun- and learning-filled experience, whether you are a fan of artifacts or not. Architecture in Minsk will also fascinate you with the stories and history behind it.
If you are traveling with your little ones, Minsk for kids will give you and your children time to bond while enjoying the offerings of this Belarusian city. Minsk festivals, on the other hand, will allow you to experience the culture and merry-making in the city – something that’s really worth the visit.
Aside from the festivals, Minsk restaurants with its Belarusian cuisine are not to be missed as well. And if you want a non-stop party, try out Minsk nightlife. Minsk bars and Minsk clubs will keep your adrenaline pumping while letting you meet and get to know the locals.
Shopping in Minsk, sports in Minsk, and fitness in Minsk also offer you alternative options of the things to do in the city. The capital of Belarus, with its wide offerings, can easily fit into your lifestyle and preferences.
The theaters in Minsk and music in Minsk will also entertain you during your stay. If you are on a tight budget, Minsk for free will delight you with the many things one can experience in the city free of charge.
Minsk is passionate about conserving their national and cultural heritage, thus, famous museums were built around the city to address the need for restoration and preservation of such artifacts.
Not only these museums hold important national and cultural items, but it also has a compelling architectural design. Here are some of the few notable museums in Minsk.
The National Museum of Culture and History of Belarus is the perfect museum to learn more about Minsk’s history. It is the leading Museum of the historic profile of the Republic of Belarus, the biggest collection of the monuments of material and spiritual culture of the Belarusian people from ancient times to our days. Some items date back from 40, 000 B.C. up to the present time.
On the other hand, if literature what interests you, Maxim Bogdanovich’s Literary Museum is the museum to go to. It is said to be one of the most beautiful museums of the Belarusian capital, housed in a two-story brick building, a monument of the city architecture of the 19th century in the Troitskoye suburb, on the bank of the River Svisloch. Inside the museum, you can plunge in the unique poetic atmosphere of the house and learn some interesting facts about the life of some of the famous Belarusian writers.
Another literary museum in Minsk is the Yakub Kolas’ Memorial and Literary Museum. It is located on the territory of the Belarusian Academy of Sciences, among the old trees of the picturesque park the two 2-story building. The museum was named after the poet, Yakub Kolas, he lived in this building from 1944 up to his death. He was a poet, writer, dramatist, literary critic, pamphleteer, translator, scientist, teacher, public figure; one of the founders of the modern Belarusian literature and literary language; National Poet of Belarus; Academician of the Academy of Sciences of Belarus. In his work, the main features of the Belarusian poetry such as patriotism and preservation of folklore tradition are reflected. It was founded on the 4th of December, 1959. Expositions of the museum are dedicated not only to the life and personality of Yakub Kolas but to the whole Soviet epoch of the National literature.
Home of more than 25,600 exhibits is The National Arts Museum, the biggest museum in the city. The basis of the collection was created in the first decades of the 20th century. During World War II, the museum was plundered by the Nazis. During the post-war period, due to the enthusiasm and dedicated work of the museum’s workers, it was reconstructed.
Whether it be literature, arts, or history, Minsk has a handful of museums to explore.
One of the most interesting sights to see in Minsk is its large buildings constructed in monumental Stalinist architecture. However, more than 80% of Minsk was destroyed during World War II, so there are hardly any buildings left older than 60 years. The best and most famous Soviet architects totally rebuild the “Hero City” directly after the war in a monumental social realist style.
Below are some of the iconic architectural structures in Minsk.
The Minsk Circus or the Round Circus Building is where circus acts are held. Performances from the spectacle of midget acrobats dubiously trained bears and other leftovers from the 19th Century are the usual acts performed here.
A nicely decorated classical style building from 1954 is The Trade Unions Palace of Culture. The building now houses two nightclubs.
Built-in 1934 by famous Soviet architect Losif Langbard is The Government House located at Independence Square. It is one of the few buildings that have survived World War II.
Victory Square was built in 1954. With the Victory Column in the center, ends the central part of Independence Avenue. Two bow-shaped housing blocks with red propaganda slogans marks the top end of the square. The central part of the square can be reached via the metro subway. Gorky Park, the Museum of the 1st Congress of the Russian Socialist Democratic Labour Party and the house of Harvey Lee Oswald are all near the square.
Your eyes will surely be delighted with these beautiful architectural creations.
Minsk for Kids
The city of Minsk features a wide number of attractions for children. The kids will surely enjoy themselves in such fantastic locations as the amusement parks, theaters, as well as cinemas that Minsk has to offer. Take a day out for the family and cherish the memories you’re sure never to forget.
Here are some of the places you can take your kids to:
Maksim Gorky Central Children’s Park
Located near Victory Square and Yanka Kupala Park. During the Soviet era, the park was renamed “Park of Culture and Recreation” after the famous Russian/Soviet writer Maksim Gorky. A section of the park’s territory is occupied by an amusement park. Maksim Gorky also contains an educational observatory, planetarium, and indoor skating rink.
Belarusian State Circus
It is the ideal place to find good humor and surprise performances. The circus is situated on Independence Avenue and has a capacity of 1667 seats. Witness the funny clowns, acrobats, wide range of animals and birds, as well as the many other aspects that make the Belarusian.
The State Puppet Theatre
It is the oldest puppet theater in the republic. The venue presents some very memorable and spectacular performances, especially for the little ones. Here you will find an unusual, yet fresh approach to traditional classical and contemporary stories as well as vivid acting and original music.
The Planet of Dinosaurs
If you are looking for entertainment for the children, the Planet of Dinosaurs is what you need. The venue features an exhibition with dinosaur figures almost to scale, as well as a number of sensational activities in the interactive area. The center also organizes birthday parties.
Image Courtesy of Flickr and Scott Kinmartin
Your kids can enjoy their stay in Minsk, too, with these different kid-friendly places.
Learn more about the city and its majestic culture and beauty by attending some of their well-known festivals. Minsk has a variety of festivals that highlights the beauty of the city, which allows you to see its culture in a different facet.
The government sponsors many annual cultural festivals. These events showcase talented Minsk performers, whether it is in music, art, poetry, dance or theater. At these festivals, various prizes named after Soviet and Belarusian heroes are awarded for excellence in music or art. Several state holidays, like Independence Day or Victory Day, draw big crowds and include various displays such as fireworks and military parades. Most of the festivals take place in Minsk.
Minsk flower beds and landscape architecture festival
This annual festival aims to increase the quality and culture of creating flower beds, the introduction of new techniques and the modern technology design of the urban environment of Minsk. The festival has become a tradition to Minsk landscapers. Minsk and invite guests to visit the park, enjoy our flower gardens.
Minsk Blues Festival
This festival is an annual celebration of the Blues in the heart of Belarus. Its aim is to slake the thirst for blues music in this country by providing a stage for aspiring Belarusian blues artists to share their passion for the Blues with an appreciative audience, by organizing all the blues aficionados of Belarus into a vibrant blues community sharing common values, interests, and goals. The festival also aims to incorporate Belarus into the international blues community by establishing new and cementing existing contacts with international blues festivals and inviting the world’s top bluesmen to perform in Belarus.
The Minsk International Film Festival
The largest and most prestigious public film festival annually takes place at the beginning of November. Its goal is to offer a wide selection of highly acclaimed feature films, documentaries from all over the world as well as new productions from Belarus. The program has three sections – feature, documentary and children and youth film festival Listapadzik. During a week cinema-goers have the possibility to watch more than 100 movies in 5 venues. Filmmakers, actors, and supporters have the opportunity to network at various events. Q&A sessions with directors and actors follow every screening giving movie goer’s first-hand access to the filmmaking process.
Discover their culture more through music, film, and even flower and architectural festivals. With these festivals and its festivities, your visit to Minsk will surely be a memorable one.
There are many restaurants in Minsk to choose from to feed your hungry, gastronomic craving, from local and national dishes to foreign ones. Take away the hunger in you by dining in the city’s finest restaurants.
There are plenty of restaurants to choose from in Minsk that serves both tasty and price worthy dishes. However, supply doesn’t always correspond to demand and on weekend evenings it may be quite hard to get a table if no booking is made in advance.
The restaurants recommended below all serve dishes at a fair price level, there is no problem buying a main course with a beverage at a reasonable price.
Lido offers a great range of dishes from the Russian and Belarusian kitchen. Self-service is applied, so it’s quite easy just to grab what looks nice before paying at the counter. Cool and cozy countryside interior. It’s easy to get a proper and tasty dinner for less than 8 USD in this restaurant. Lido resembles the popular Mu-Mu restaurants in Moscow.
For a must-try local dishes, head on to Medvezhy Ugol (Bear’s Corner) café. It is located in the quiet corner of Minsk. The menu is almost exhaustive and boasts a galaxy of nice dishes guaranteed to please. The cafe is proud of its skilled cooks who routinely go to Moscow to work on probation. Among favorite dishes: forshmak and draniki (Belarusian potato pancakes) with caviar.
Another restaurant that serves national Belarusian dishes is Potsdam. This cozy place for meeting and socializing is one of the oldest restaurants in Minsk. The restaurant provides a few rooms that are quite different. Although the restaurant is an ideal place for business meetings, you can come just for a beer or have a date in one of the quite restaurant rooms. There is also a banquet room for special events.
It’s not of necessity to go to Sweden to try the Scandinavian cuisine. You can do it right in Minsk, in the Stockholm restaurant. Here, even bread is baked by special Scandinavian technology. It is a special restaurant providing Scandinavian cuisine to its visitors. The restaurant may seem quite expensive but the services are worthy of it. In addition to excellent food, the restaurant has its own security service and free parking lot. The interior is made in compliance with the best Scandinavian traditions. The austere Scandinavian style and excellent interior lighting do produce an unforgettable atmosphere of coziness.
Everything you need from both local and foreign dishes is conveniently found in Minsk’s restaurants.
Belarusian cuisine shares the same roots with cuisines of other Eastern and Northern European countries, basing predominantly on meat and various vegetables typical for the region.
Since wheat does not grow well in a cold and wet climate, Belarusians were always fond of a kind of somewhat sour rye bread, and the most traditional hard drink, the local vodka or harelka, was distilled primarily from rye malt. Like other Slavic peoples, Belarusians could boast of a huge variety of bliny (pancakes) of various thickness, plain and filled, made mostly of wheat or buckwheat flour, but also using oatmeal (tsadaviki).
Delicious and warming, modern-day Belarusian cuisine is a mix of two key factors:
First is the people’s relationship with the land and local produce. Second, influences from neighboring countries and migrant settlers. For these reasons, you’ll find that food in Belarus is quite similar to the cuisines of Russia, Lithuania, Ukraine, and Poland. The European community has also contributed much to modern-day food in Belarus.
Belarus dishes are typically based on local vegetables and cereals, especially: Potatoes, beetroot, mushrooms, berries, and barley. Potatoes deserve a special mention as they have formed the basis of many of the dishes of Belarus for hundreds of years.
Many traditional Belarusian dishes are potato-based, including:
Potato dumplings, thick potato pancakes (draniki), and baked grated potato pie (babka)
Potato dishes are often stuffed or accompanied by vegetables, mushrooms or meat. Other popular dishes in Belarus include:
Pork stew (machanka)
Chopped beef sausage (zrazy)
Local ravioli (pelmeni)
Meat or cabbage pasties (pirozhki)
Mouth-watering foods with a pinch of Belarusian culture will give you a sumptuous experience.
The nightlife in Minsk is diverse. Understandably, you can find more to see in the central area and the old city. Belarusian people are open-minded and do like to try new places to hang-out. That’s why there’s a great number of nightclubs, pubs, bars, casinos, and restaurants all over the city.
There is a whole lot of great night clubs and pubs in to visit in Minsk. Night clubs usually hold open until five in the morning, pubs are closed earlier. Casinos are generally open 24 hours. Price-levels vary from one place to another. Beer prices start as low as 1000-4000 BYR. Entrance is about 2000-5000 BYR for most night clubs, weekdays are cheaper than weekends. Striptease is common in Minsk as well.
Things to keep in mind about Minsk’s nightlife:
- Most of the restaurants are opened till 11 p.m.
- You can pay with local money or your credit card only in the bars and clubs
- The entry fee to the nightclubs is about 10 USD on average
- Minsk is a safe city. Especially in the central area.
Cinema restaurant “Cinema Kafe Dom” serves delectable European dishes. The restaurant has a modern and appealing interior and one of the rooms works as a cinema. A nice place where one can sit down to watch a movie when enjoying a nice meal and a couple of beers. Some nights are aimed for films other for live music
But if American food like hamburger and fries is what your taste buds demands, T.G.I. Fridays is the place to go. Nice hamburgers, meat dishes, salads, and desserts like cheesecakes and apple pies. Not to forget is that T.G.I. Fridays have some nice drinks on the menu too. The restaurant offers an American interior with a youthful touch.
Enjoy playing Poker, American Roulette, Black Jack, Black Jack Switch, Baccarat, slot machines or have a nice dinner at the restaurant in Victoria casino. It leaves a good impression because of the combination of a kind service and a stylish interior. The casino is pretty big, in fact, it’s the biggest in Belarus.
One of the biggest night clubs in Minsk is the West World Club that takes more than 1000 visitors and offers both disco and a casino. The kitchen has both Belarusian and European dishes on offer.
You can also party at “Africa”, a fresh African style nightclub. Africa Club is a disco with the original design, three bars, VIP-zone, and a large dance floor. The main music kinds are house, electro, techno.
Enjoy the night away with these fun places, and you’ll surely experience the night of a lifetime.
A visit in Minsk won’t be complete without a drink or two with their finest Vodka and good local beers, and a good conversation with family and friends in their cozy bars.
Spend your night with these bars snug atmosphere of these bars.
A cozy bar close to the red church, it looks like a Mexican bar in Texas. The food and drinks are excellent but a bit pricey. The bar is opened till 5 am, sometimes the entrance is not for free.
One of the best bars in Minsk, Rakovsky Brovar, has its own small brewery where you must try the Grashovoe and Pilzenskoe. There are two floors of wooden tables and benches and a “sports corner”. Open until midnight.
Minsk’s very own Irish pub is popular with the small group of ex-pats in the city and successfully creates an authentic Irish pub ambiance. Live Irish folk music on the weekend.
Rumour has it that there is a nuclear reactor somewhere in Reaktor. This is a cool joint and popular with the younger crowds. Here you can find atomic-inspired furnishings. Like an A-bomb going off – the loud techno will shake your bones.
Drinks and good music will take away the stress in a day of touring with the cozy atmosphere of Minsk Bars.
Minsk has a variety of night clubs to keep you entertained in the late to wee hours of the night. What differentiates Belarusian clubs from other countries is most of them act as both a club and a restaurant. Until very late at night you can choose anything from a variety of hors d’oeuvres and main dishes to keep you charged and active. Sometimes, for the price of your meal the show and disco are included. However, sometimes there are cover charges, especially on the weekends. The cover may depend if you would like to have a seat at the bar or a table. And often the price differs for men and women.
On Monday most clubs are closed. Usually, Minsk clubs have strict dress codes particularly about shoes; do not wear sneakers or shorts. The show programs are usually only on Friday and Saturday nights and will last about 1/2 hour.
Experience the ultimate clubbing in Madison Royal Club is about as exclusive, luxurious and hedonistic as it gets. Many male DJs come from Ibiza, the women DJs spin tunes whilst practically naked and the bill at the end of the evening is going to cost you more than the flight home. If you don’t like this kind of thing then move on. If on the other hand, you do, the word on the street is that it’s extremely well organized, safe and one of the best nights out of its kind anywhere.
Dark and moody and featuring a bar that changes color, Black Door lives in that classic Belarusian twilight zone that’s not quite a restaurant and not quite a club. The food is average, making even more of an argument for calling it a club. The music sways between anything from funk to jazz, DJs come from abroad and they often have raucous music-theme nights.
Have fun and wild nights in Minsk by partying on these clubs.
Enjoy different theater performances in Minsk. You’d be surprised by their world-class theaters and its exquisite architectural design, not to mention the great performances from local talents.
Here are some of the notable theaters in Minsk.
The National Academic Opera and Ballet Theater of the Republic of Belarus
The first stationary theater was founded in Belarus in 1933 on the basis of the Belarusian Opera and ballet school. The list of brilliant performances staged in the theater was opened with Bizet’s Carmen. During several years the troupe had been growing and was increased by several high professionals and soloists. “The Swan Lake”, performed by K. Muller, was the first performance, showed at the scene of the new theater building.
The history of the State Puppet Theatre of the Republic of Belarus began in Gomel, wherein 1938 the Republic Puppet Theater was founded. While forming its repertoire, preference was given to Russian classical plays. The best plays of this period include “Kashtanka” by Chekhov, “Tale of the pope and his worker Balda” by Pushkin and others. In 1950, it moved to Minsk and since the middle of the 60s, the staff worked on the stage of the cinema “Victory”. The modern period of theatre development can be characterized as a classical one.
The National Academic Drama Theater named after Gorky
In 1932 the theatre received the status of the Russian Republican Drama Theater. In this period, outstanding actors such as D. Orlov, A. Obukhovitch, V. Konopliansky, N. Ablov, A. Kistov worked there.
In Minsk, the theater began working in 1947 and at this time Vera Redlikh became its art director. The real pearl of the repertoire was the performance “The King Lire” that was awarded the prize for the best acting of A.Kistov by the British Royal Academy of Drama Art.
Be compelled with the performances of Minsk local talents in their world-class theaters.
Although Minsk is not much of a shopping paradise, it won’t disappoint both the luxurious and simple shoppers. The city doesn’t offer such a range of goods as major Russian cities like Moscow or St Petersburg and it doesn’t have all the chain stores that are likely to be found elsewhere in Europe, but on the other hand, Minsk offers nice places that you won’t find anywhere else.
There still are some shops which practice an older way of shopping. First, you choose the product and pay for it and get a receipt. Finally, you leave the receipt and get what you paid for. Most shops however left that system many years ago.
There are two big stores on the city’s main street Prospekt Nezavisimosti and not far away from the main street, there is the Dinamo market.
A good number of stores are found along with the central parts of the main street Prospekt Nezavisimosti, from the central station and 4 kilometers northeast. On this part of the main street, one may find big stores like GUM (Prospekt Nezavisimosti 21) and Tsum (Prospekt Nezavisimosti 54). Both stores offer a wide variety of goods, everything from clothes to radio and TV. Looking for a digital watch “made in Belarus” by Elektronika? Then GUM is the right place. Elektronika watches are a must for the collector or those who like kitch. GUM also offers some nice “soviet style” radios.
In the city center, one should also visit the Dinamo stadium where the Dinamo market is located. This is a nice place for strolling around market stalls. Most kinds of goods may be found in the market. On Ulitsa Very Horuzhej 8 is the Komarovskij rynok, a big market hall where meat, vegetables, dairy products, and other provisions are on offer. Outside the Komarovskij rynok there is also a big shopping mall with hundreds of smaller offering the latest fashion.
Meanwhile, souvenirs for folks back home can be found at Folk art, it is the main source of souvenirs, which include carved wooden trinkets, ceramics, and woven textiles. Unique to Belarus are wooden boxes intricately ornamented with geometric patterns composed of multicolored pieces of straw. These are easily found in city department stores and in some museum kiosks. Most days, this small outdoor souvenir market operates in the small space between the Trade Unions’ House of Culture and the Museum of the Great Patriotic War. Breeze past the cheesy paintings and you’ll find crafts in the back.
Splurge your money with quality products in Minsk, from trusted brands and manufacturers, and nifty made souvenirs, too.
There’s a wide array of sports centers and facilities in Minsk in order to give the fans and tourists the excitement that their sports and teams provide. Both indoor and outdoor sports and facilities are available for one’s sporting needs.
If football is your second religion, then make your trip a memorable one by visiting the most important football stadium in the city. The Dinamo Stadium is where football matches are held, part of Minsk’s landscape and it’s really an interesting piece of architecture. It lies along the river and very close to the main center of the city. It has the shape of a coliseum, very classic Roman style, and it’s built beside the upper town hill so in a certain way it remembers the Greek theaters as well, but with an oval shape. Inside it’s the typical Olympic stadium, very big, with no coverage and brand new UEFA-Cup approved orange seats.
Ice hockey, on the other hand, is the city’s most popular sports. Check out hockey the games at the 15,000-seater Minsk-Arena. Designated as main Championship venue, is part of a unique sports complex consisting of a velodrome, a speed-skating, and a hockey arena. The Minsk Arena also conveniently comprises of two practice rinks for the use of competition teams, avoiding unnecessary travel between venues and change of dressing rooms.
Cheer on your favorite sports and its team on various sports Minsk.
Being on a Minsk vacation does not necessarily mean forgetting about getting fit and healthy. Because the city features great gastronomy, this gives all the more reason to be conscious about your health and stay fit in Minks. If you are thinking about a place to go to for healthy exercises, here are some ideas:
Nezavisimosti Avenue, 86a
A health club featuring its own power and cardiac equipment, Beauty Free offers both diet and individual exercise programs. They have professional trainers who speak in English, so you will not have trouble arranging for your fitness program. If you wish for some pampering, it also has a swimming pool (complete with hydromassage) and sauna.
Pritytskogo Street, 27
Gala Sport is a place to go for those who want to do fitness activities like pilates, yoga, and aerobics. Power body and belly dancing classes are also offered so you have various fitness options.
Karla Libknekhta Street, 68
+375 17 254-77-55
Perfect for those who want to get a feel of ‘holistic’ fitness through yoga, Satori should be a place to be. It offers classic yoga sessions, designed especially for beginners. The club also provides pilates, strip dance, Arabic dance, and body ballet classes for people looking for a fitness alternative.
Vacations should never be an excuse to forget about being healthy when in Minsk know where to go to burn that calorie because being fit will help you enjoy the city’s beauty more.