With the 2019 European Games just around the corner, there has never been more reason to visit the beautiful country of Belarus. The games will be held in the city of Minsk at the end of June, so we want to show you what else you can check out while in the up-and-coming, Belarusian capital this summer.
This year's hot choice
Located in the very centre of Belarus, Minsk has been chosen by many as a top holiday destination this year. The city is rich in culture, nature, history and art, and home to many museums, amusement parks, cool bars and restaurants serving traditional Belarusian dishes. The city is in a stage of renewal, with modern, edgy cafes popping up on every corner, so visit now before everyone finds out about this hidden gem! Here's a few things you shouldn't miss while in Minsk.
Trinity Hill is the oldest surviving district in Minsk, showing visitors the 19th century architecture that dominated the city before it was almost entirely destroyed during a bomb attack now known as the Minsk Blitz. The colourful buildings have survived, albeit with restorations, for over a century and they house various attractions such as museums and art galleries, as well as some being actual homes. A small island on the river, known as the Island of Tears, is reached accross a bridge connected to Trinity Hill, where a famous Afghan war memorial statue stands.
The National Library of Belarus
The National Library of Belarus is located in the Pyershamayski District, in the north east of Minsk. It is the country's biggest library, with 23 floors housing the world's largest collection of Belarusian texts, as well as thousands of places for visitors to sit and get stuck in to a good book, or simply admire the architecture. Not only is the building an attraction for bookworms, it is also a great tourist spot thanks to its rooftop observation deck from which the whole city can be seen, and they'll even give you binoculars for a closer look!
Opera, Ballet and Theatre
Officially named "The National Academic Bolshoi Opera and Ballet Theatre of the Republic of Belarus", this beautiful, pristine building is located in the Trinity Hill district of Minsk, and was opened in 1939. The theatre holds ballet, theatre and opera performances all year round. This summer's upcoming productions include Swan Lake, Romeo and Juliet and Anastasia, showing around the same time that the European Games are being held.
The Belarusian State Museum of the History of the Great Patriotic War
The Great Patriotic War was fought between the former Soviet Union (including Belarus) and the Nazis from 1941 to 1945. The museum in Minsk commemorates and remembers the efforts of the Belarusian troops who fought during the war, many of whom died for their country. The original museum collection was opened in 1944, after the liberation of Minsk from Nazi occupation, yet before the official end of the war. The collection was later moved to its current location in 1966, and the building was redesigned in 2014 to honour the 70th anniversary of Belarusian liberation from the Nazis.