Off the beaten path for most visitors to Europe, the country is slowly opening up to tourism – with the waiving of a visa for a number of countries for short term visitors flying into and out of Minsk – which began in early 2017. The airport is not located within the city – rather it can take up to an hour to reach the city center.
Refreshingly one doesn’t find the crowds and tourist buses all pining to see the same historic sites as one would have in say parts of Italy or France. However, there is plenty of history in the city but most of it is contained within streets and architecture built post World War II. The city was heavily damaged during the war and entire sections of the city were completely rebuilt in the 1950s and 1960s. With that said, there are a few churches and other buildings that survived World War II of interest.
The city is extremely clean and compared to other cities, there are very few homeless.
And Lee Harvey Oswald. Yes, that infamous assassin of American president John F Kennedy lived in Minsk for 2.5 years, worked in a factory and married a Russian woman living in Minsk. One can visit the outside of the apartment complex where he lived.
If you enjoy cats, be sure to visit the cat museum in the center of town. One can hang out with cats for about an hour after purchasing a ticket to the museum. Popular with families but occasionally the stray tourist will stop on by.
It helps to be shown around the city with someone who really knows the history and highlights – we toured with Kristina Bugaenko who also can tour you into the countryside and visit other attractions outside of Minsk. She is extremely knowledgeable and speaks English fluently. MOre details about her tours, here.