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Minsk is not only the capital and largest city of Belarus, it's also the capital of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS).
English is rarely spoken, and tourism is not a priority in Minsk. It would be wise to learn some key phrases in Russian (which is the default language), but Belarusian may also be spoken or understood).
All flights arrive at the National Airport Minsk (MSQ) 37km north-east from the city. If you are applying for a visa in Minsk Airport or just landing there, it is important to know several tips about insurance, visa office and passport control.
The "Arrivals hall" has few small kiosks with Belarusian souvenirs, alcohol, newspapers and wi-fi cards; also ATMs, currency exchange, car rentals and train/bus ticket machines.
The width of the train tracks is different in Poland and in Belarus, so if you choose to arrive by train please be prepared for long wheel changing. However, if you are arriving from say, Kiev, Moscow, or Lviv (Lvov) you need not worry about this. Plus as an added bonus, the prices are substantially cheaper from CIS countries.
Museums and galleries
National Art Museum of the Republic of Belarus 20 Lienina St. Many art objects are labeled in English.
Belarus National Museum of History and Culture, 12 Karla Marksa St. Admission BLR7,000. There is plenty to see here, sadly there is only Belarusian explanation panels.
Palac Mastactva (Art Palace), Vulica Kazlova 3. Admission Free.
The Museum of History of the Great Patriotic War , Praspiekt Niezaliežnasci 12.
Former Residence of Lee Harvey Oswald, Vulica Kamunistyčnaja 4 (the bottom left apartment). Lee arrived in the Soviet unnion in December 1959 willing to renounce his US citizenship and was sent to Minsk.
KGB Headquarters, Praspiekt Niezaliežnasci 17. This impressive building, on one of the main shopping streets of Minsk has a facade that belies what's found within. It is somehow appropriate that in a country like Belarus, the KGB should be located in a landmark building in the centre of the capital.
Minskaje Mora (Minsk Sea) is an artificial reservoir 5km north of the city centre. There's a free public beach, and pedal-boat and catamaran rental. Buses leave the central bus station regularly. Suburban trains go there - they leave from a special platform to the right of the central train station; no need to enter the main building, just head to the right to arrive at three little platforms (22-24) with their own ticket booths. To get there by car, head north along the P28 and lookout for signs after Ratamka village.
Ice Skating Rink infront of the Palac Respubliki. In Winter there are crowds of people ice skating here. It is open from 8AM to 10PM, and a pair of skates should cost 3000-5000 rubles to rent.
Skiing resorts located at Siličy and Lahojsk are the most popular place to have a rest in Minsk. Located not far from the city they provide wide range of winter activities: skiing, snowboarding, skating, tubing etc.