Minsk is the capital and biggest city of Belarus. It is situated on the Svislach and Niamiha rivers. From 1919-1991 it was the capital of the Byelorussian SSR. It is also the administrative centre of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS).
80% of the city was destroyed during World War II and rebuilt in 1950s to the liking of Joseph Stalin. Large Soviet-Bloc style "palaces" make up a portion of the city centre. For this reason Minsk is a wonderful place to visit for those interested in the Soviet Union who want to see it almost alive.
English is rarely spoken and tourism is not a priority in Minsk. It's wise to learn some key phrases in Russian (which is the default language, Belarusian may also be spoken or understood). Read more