I’ll be honest, before visiting Minsk all I knew about this city was that Phoebe’s boyfriend David from Friends moved here in one episode – how cultured of me.
I never pictured myself visiting here, but as my tour had to get from Russia to Poland somehow the way was via Belarus!
The capital city is probably more modern than I imagined and there seemed to be quite a few new buildings around (perhaps it had something to do with the fact that we had arrived just after the World Ice Hockey Championships were held here.)
All that we really got up to was a walking tour of the town centre and later a few drinks at a bar off the main square.
I wouldn’t say there seemed to be a lot to do necessarily, but there was an interesting mix of architecture from the Soviet influenced to newer designed.
Although only in Belarus for a couple days, I have to say seeing Brest Fortress was a pretty cool experience.
Built in the mid 19th century, the site remains a symbol of Soviet resistance against Nazi occupation during WW2.
There are army tanks, an eternal burning flame and some seriously impressive memorial statues to those who fought to defend the city against the Germans.
So is Belarus an essential must see country?
I think I would need more time here to really make that call, especially since the visa situation can be tricky and my friend and I were lucky that on a tour we didn’t have to worry about this as our guide organised this for everyone under a group visa..
However, while I probably wouldn’t have visited on my own accord if you have an interest in Soviet era history I’m sure there’s a lot to be found in Belarus (and outside of just Minsk) which would certainly be worth seeing!