Europe’s last hidden jewel
Minsk is the capital and largest city of Belarus, situated on the Svislach and the Nyamiha Rivers. As the national capital, Minsk has a special administrative status in Belarus and is the administrative centre of Minsk Region (voblast) and Minsk district (raion). In 2013, it had a population of 2,002,600. Minsk is the administrative capital of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) and seat of the Executive Secretary.
The earliest historical references to Minsk date to the 11th century (1067), when it was noted as a provincial city within the Principality of Polotsk. The settlement developed on the rivers. In 1242, Minsk became part of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania. It received town privileges in 1499.
From 1569, it was a capital of the Minsk Voivodeship, in the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth. It was part of a region annexed by the Russian Empire in 1793, as a consequence of the Second Partition of Poland. From 1919 to 1991, after the Russian Revolution, Minsk was the capital of the Byelorussian Soviet Socialist Republic, in the Soviet Union. In 2019 Minsk will host the 2nd European Games.
The highlights of Minsk
The consequent reconstruction gave origin to one of the most magnificent examples of Stalinist Architecture: the Independence Avenue, with its more than 15Km.
But aside this heavy history Minsk is a modern city with a lively cultural life that goes on all year round.