If you ignore the political complexity – as most tourists tend to do – you will find that Belarus is a great country to explore. From numerous relics from its socialist past to enchanted forests, this former USSR country will amaze you at multiple levels. Coupled with Slavic traditions and warm and friendly locals – you will fall in love with Belarus the moment you step into it.
Located in the country’s heart, Minsk is the bustling capital of Belarus. Soviet-era architecture and a vibrant nightlife define the city. This modern city has plenty of lavish restaurants and excellent museums such as the Museum of the Great Patriotic War and the Belarusian State Art Museum. About 45 km away from Minsk lies the open-air museum complex of Dudutki (also known as Muziejny Komplieks Dudutki) where you can learn about the Belarusian way of life during the 19th-century. You can participate in various workshops and taste farm-made goods like sausages, cheese and bread.
Located around 100 km southwest of Minsk, the small town of Mir is known for its UNESCO world heritage listed Mir Castle. This 16th-century castle is one of the most important buildings in the country. The nearby historic city of Nyasvizh (also known as Nesvizh or Niasviz) is also home to a few important historical buildings including the stunning Nyasvizh Castle. Further southwest – close to the Polish border – the city of Brest makes a great base for exploring the UNESCO listed Belavezhskaya Pushcha National Park, the oldest wildlife refuge in Europe, where you will encounter Europe’s heaviest land animal – the European bison. However, the city’s focal point revolves around the impressive Brest Fortress – an extensive 19th-century Russian fortress, where you will discover various museums and Soviet-era and WWII relics. Once an important centre of Jewish culture, Vitsebsk (also known as Vitebsk) in the northeast region of Belarus, is closer to Russia than it is to Minsk. Today, this historic city is known for its architecture and cultural importance.
Though Belarus is often referred to as the “last dictatorship in Europe”, it should be the least of your concern while planning a trip to this country. Its troubled times are over and the counrty is quite welcoming and safe for visitors today.
Brest Fortress is an extensive 19th-century Russian fortress, with various museums and Soviet-era and WWII relics.