Minsk, the capital of Belorussia, was almost completely destroyed during the Second World War. Since 1944, its reconstruction is a pure example of Soviet planning on a grand scale. The uniformity of the monumental facades alternates with pleasant green spaces and vast avenues. Do not miss a walk along the city's main avenue, the Skakiny prospect, which will take you to Independence Square, which is bordered by government buildings and the Polish St-Simon church. Located to the west of the Skakiny prospect, the Old City contains the cathedral of St-Dukhavski. To have an impression of what Minsk was like, go to the east of the river Svislach: this district has been reconstructed in the style of the 17th and 18th centuries. Various bars, restaurants and gift shops make it a lively place. Close by, the St-Mary-Magdalene church, built in 1847, displays its octagonal tower and large dome.