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Why Fly to Minsk?
For more than 70 years, Minsk was the capital of the Belorussian SSR, a constituent republic of the Soviet Union. During that tenure, the city was almost completely destroyed in World War II, then quickly rebuilt in the emerging Soviet Bloc style. It gained independence during the collapse of the Soviet Union in the 90s, but has retained many of the Soviet policies opposed by the Western world. The result is a modern republic that is worlds away from its European neighbors. A few international carriers offer cheap flights to Minsk from the U.S., so if you’re interested in this unique Eastern European experience, start searching now.
Which Airlines Fly to Minsk?
Most air traffic into Minsk arrives at Minsk International Airport (MHP), formerly called Minsk-2. This airfield is located more than 25 miles east of the city, but Minsk-1, the only airport in the city proper, only supports domestic flights and shuttles to nearby Moscow, Kiev and Kaliningrad.
Minsk Flight Tips
You cannot fly direct from the U.S. to Minsk, but it is possible to purchase single-connection flight tickets with some European airlines. Lufthansa, for example, offers several routes from the U.S. that connect in Frankfurt, Germany, and Austrian Airlines covers some routes with stops in Vienna. Belavia, the national airline of Belarus, offers flights from numerous other European cities including Amsterdam, Berlin, London, Paris and Rome.
Quick Travel Guide to Minsk
Belarus, even its hip capital of Minsk, is not often traveled by visitors from the U.S. and Western Europe. There aren’t many attractions tailored to international tourists, and several of the city’s historic landmarks were destroyed during World War II. Furthermore, the nation’s reputation as Europe’s last remaining dictatorship makes Belarus seem less than inviting to some travelers. But if you look past the politics and looming Stalinist buildings that dominate the city centre, you’ll find a metropolis that’s very much vibrant and alive. By simply living a few days like the locals do, leisurely touring Minsk’s shops, restaurants, taverns and theaters, you can enjoy a vacation that’s as fun as it is memorable.
After you get settled into one of the hospitable hotels in Minsk, make some time to see the impressive Pischalauski Castle, sometimes called the Belarusian Bastille. It dates back to 1825, making it one of Minsk’s older structures, and has been used as a prison for most of its existence. You should also see the Belarus National Museum of History & Culture, which displays a large array of exhibits that are enthralling even despite their Belarusian-language explanation panels.