The Last Dictatorship In Europe
In 2005, Condoleeza Rica described Belarus because the last outpost of tyranny in Europe. Direct flights into Minsk are only obtainable a few days per week utilizing the nationwide airline, Belavia. If you want to fly to Minsk, there are a number of options flying via other European cities.
In 2005, Condoleeza Rica described Belarus as the last outpost of tyranny in Europe. So when England played Belarus in a recent World Cup qualifier, I took the opportunity to go to Minsk to see the football and spend a number of days wanting spherical the city.
I organized my visa direct with the Belarus Embassy in London. Although it may seem a little bit of a paperwork nightmare, the process is pretty simple. For a tourist visa, you need an application type (from the embassy webpage) and your visa invitation. This can be a doc that’s usually supplied by your lodge. It states where you’ll be staying in Belarus and for the way lengthy. If you are staying in more than one lodge, you will most likely need an invite from every lodge. As a normal rule, you have to have paperwork to account for each evening you will be in Belarus. If you’re uncertain, contact the embassy. I took the paperwork down, along with my passport and after a couple of minutes wait, I used to be allowed in the place I filed my paperwork paid my payment of £63. The visa can be prepared one week later. You dont need to go to the embassy in individual, you can publish your documents to them. Examine their web site for more details.
Direct flights into Minsk are only obtainable a few days every week using the national airline, Belavia. If you wish to fly to Minsk, there are a few options flying by way of different European cities. Nevertheless, I selected to fly to Vilnius after which take the four hour 40 minute practice journey. Flights to Vilnius from the UK are fairly simple to get and my return ticket by practice was around £12. Services on the practice are restricted (to say the least) and we had to attend on the border as first the Lithuanian officials got here on to verify passports then half-hour down the monitor, the Belarus officials also took their flip. However, we arrived right on time in Minsk.
Apartments are an excellent low cost option for accommodation in Minsk. We organized an house by way of a website. It was located on the principle Prospekt Nezavisimosti, simply up from the war memorial (which you cant miss). They also organized our visa help (invitation) and transfers. It was clean and comfortable. The kitchen was nicely equipped there was slightly store a couple of minutes away where we could buy food.
As our apartment was fairly central, it was very easy to get round. The centre of Minsk is kind of small so it is feasible to stroll in all places however we additionally used the metro which is a very low cost various. There are solely 2 traces so it is fairly simple to seek out your means around. Nevertheless, one phrase of warning; the station maps and metro map is simply in Cyrillic. Tickets are within the form of a small plastic coin that are bought from the ticket desk for 600 roubles every (15 pence). One coin is for a single journey, there aren’t any zones. The metro operates between 5:30am and 1:00am. The one occasion we took a taxi, it price 10,000 roubles (about £2.60) which appeared to be a tourist price for many locations inside town.
Tourism in Minsk and all through Belarus is relatively small. They get around seventy five,000 visitors per 12 months (lower than the number of individuals stranded abroad when XL collapsed recently) and of these, just 4,000 are British. That doesnt imply that Minsk isnt an fascinating city. It has an advanced history and was all however destroyed through the conflict as the Germans went by means of it as they superior into the Soviet Union then retreated back once more because the Soviets countered. In human phrases, the population suffered a staggering casualty price with round 1:3 citizens being killed.
After the warfare, a huge rebuilding program took place and as this was in Stalins time, you may very well be forgiven for expecting to see dreary concrete buildings in all places. Nevertheless, though some sometimes Soviet buildings do exist, there are many examples of other kinds of architecture which add to the charm of Minsk.
The time in Minsk will determine simply how much of the city you’ll be able to see. I started with a short metropolis tour. One of these fast overview is a good suggestion in any city as it allows you to get your bearings and you can at all times return at look at things in a bit extra details. I hadnt realised that Minsk had briefly been residence to Lee Harvey Oswald and his former residence is talked about in plenty of Guides to Minsk.
The Island of Tears is a memorial to the 1,seven-hundred young males from Belarus who died through the Soviet invasion and occupation of Afghanistan. The focal level of the little island is the small chapel which is sort of haunting. It is usually a spot the place newly weds go. Many couples go away padlocks with their names on the gate on the bridge and additional spherical the island is a small statue of a boy-like angel.
Victory Sq. (Ploshad Pobedy) will be found on Prospekt Nezavisimosti and the centre piece is stone island ultra lightweight jacket a towering spire with an eternal flame at the base. Access is gained by going below the street and instantly beneath the spire you can see a big amber ring. On the walls are listed the names of troopers who had been made Hero of the Soviet Union.
Heading back in the direction of to centre is the imposing (and nonetheless energetic) KGB building. Close by is the Church of Saints Simon & Elena. Courting back to 1910, this purple brick catholic church was build by a trader as a memorial to his two young kids who died at an early age.
The oldest church in Minsk is the St Peters and Paul Church which dates back to 1613 and could be found on Njamiha. Though the church is nicely appeared after, it is surrounded and dwarfed ugly concrete buildings.
The Museum of the nice Patriotic Warfare is well worth a visit and has some wonderful shows and exhibitions, together with an array of tanks together with the iconic T-34 and an Ilyushin aircraft that looks suspiciously like a DC-3 (Dakota). The museum is sort of sombre as it highlights the suffering in the concentration camps with some graphic photos.
The match between Belarus and England was played on the Dinamo Stadium which was a roofless bowl which seemed typically Eastern European with four giant, imposing floodlights. The stadium was bought out count on for the upper section of the primary stand reverse us. The following day, we walked round the skin of the stadium the place there was a market. After seeing all of the bland new stadia springing up throughout Britain, it was refreshing to see a stadium with a bit of character. The statue of the 3 athletes behind the primary stand and the letter D carved into stone at regular intervals around the stadium (D is for Dinamo Minsk).
I used to be very impressed with my short time in Minsk. I discovered it to be an extremely clean city and i felt secure always. There may be a comparatively small vacationer industry so there no hint of a rip-off tradition that tourists experience in many cities around the world. Youll find that your money goes a good distance but you’ll find it helpful if you may understand a little bit of Russia or at perceive Cyrillic writing. If you wished to remain a bit longer in Belarus, there are places to see exterior Minsk. Sadly, I didnt have time but hopefully at some stage Unwell have the prospect to return. In my view, Minsk is definitely value considering a destination for a short break.