Old Aug 20, 19, 12:35 pm
Join Date: Feb 2014
Location: OTP, CHQ, EIN and beyond
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Part 8: Second day in Minsk, Belarus

The morning in Minsk started with a quick metro ride to Ploshchad Pobedy (Victory Square) for a continuation of my city tour. The square is dominated by a huge 40m tall obelisk, which is a memorial to those who fell during World War II. The letters on the rooftops around the square read: “Heroic deed of the people is immortal”.

After crossing the river towards the city centre I found a nice place for breakfast (Union Coffee), located just across from the State Circus. The pancakes with blueberry sauce, cappuccino and my favourite Borjomi mineral water from Georgia hit the spot.

A bit uphill from the river – close to Aliaksandrauski Garden Square – is a tank monument.

At one end of the park is the Presidential Residence, where together with a friend I almost got arrested on a previous visit a decade back when spotted making a picture of the building (in the end we were let go after deleting the picture). This time I did manage to snap a picture! So much easier with a smartphone than in the old days with a normal camera.

Having completed the last loop of the city centre, I headed towards the main Kastrychnitskaya square and adjacent metro station to take a train to my next stop in the city.

On advice of a Flyertalker MaxVO who was kind enough to share some advice in a reply on my previous trip report on Uzbekistan, I visited the MZOR (МЗОР) district of Minsk. The old state-owned factories and warehouses of this former communist industrial district have been converted into a big arts quarter full of cool murals, cafes and cultural venues. It makes for a fun place for a walk and a drink if you want to see something more quirky than the usual sights in the city centre of Minsk.

The district has undergone such a renovation that even good old Lenin looks out of the place between the artworks!

After a drink it was time to head back into the metro to make my way to the central bus station (located next to the train station) to make my way to the airport.

In front of the train station is one last sight of Minsk. Called the Gates of Minsk, these twin buildings were made in Stalinist style to impress new arrivals into the city.

In short: For those looking for a quirky city break, I can thoroughly recommend Minsk. The entry process if arriving by air is easy and straightforward, and there are plenty of sights to keep you occupied if staying for a day or two (a third day would even allow for side trips). Minsk still feels a bit communist in style and Belarus is called “Europe's last dictatorship” for a reason, but don't let that fool you. The city has much more to offer than the (admittedly cool-to-see) Stalinist past. It's an easy city to get around and there is some good food and nightlife available. Give it a chance, it won't disappoint.

Next up: The bizarre Minsk Airport business lounge, and flying in Turkish Airlines business class to Almaty
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