Minsk, Belarus History and Economy

According to thereligionfaqs.com, Minsk is the capital of the Republic of Belarus. After World War II most of the city was destroyed. It was rebuilt by Stalin in the 1950s. During the Soviet period it was the capital of the Belarusian Soviet Socialist Republic from 1919 to 1991.

Today Minsk is a large metropolis, it is the largest city in Belarus. By population, Minsk ranks 116th among the cities in the world. It features predominantly Soviet-era architecture, but also modern buildings dating from after the breakup of the USSR. Its population is estimated at 1,900,000 residents


According to an ancient legend, apparently there was a giant named Menesk who had a mill on the bank of the river near the city. With this mill, he ground the stones to make loaves that were later fed to his warriors and it is believed that it is from this history that the name of the Minsk comes from.

the beginning

The history of Minsk began in the 10th century with the Viking prince Rahvalod, who would rule a principality called Polatsk and which included the territory in which the capital of Belarus is located.

The first mention of the city dates from approximately this time, and more specifically from the year 1066 when it is spoken of on the occasion of the dynastic struggle between the principalities of Polatsk and Kiev. However, this city would soon fall into the hands of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania and from which in 1499 it would receive its city privileges. It would be around the year 1655 when Minsk would be conquered by Tsar Alexander I of Russia and although it was recovered shortly after by King John II of Poland, a century later it would return to Russian hands when it was annexed to the Russian Empire. Many of its monuments and places of historical and cultural interest date from this moment.

Second World War

Most of the city was destroyed during World War II for which many of its monuments and buildings were lost as the Nazis bombed the city on more than one occasion until they besieged it and began to subdue the communist and Jewish population harsh repressions in the ghettos.

Soviet period

When the War ended in 1945, 80% of the city was in ruins and for that reason, it was rebuilt by Stalin in the 1950s, making the Minsk cityscape an exhibition hall of Soviet-style architecture.

The city was the capital of the Belarusian Soviet Socialist Republic from 1919 to 1991, when it became the capital of the Republic of Belarus.

In the 1980s, the Chernobyl accident touched a large part of the southeast of the country, access to some areas is still restricted.

Current era

In many ways, traveling to Minsk is feeling as if the Soviet Union has never collapsed. Soviet nostalgia is easily palpable when walking through the city, where Lenin’s statues still stand and can end up in places like the old KGB building or subway stations dedicated to the communist revolution or famous Soviet leaders.

Today Minsk is a large metropolis with predominantly Soviet-era architecture, but also modern buildings dating from after the disintegration of the USSR.

Economic development

Minsk is the center of the economy and transportation in Belarus. During the First and Second World War the industry was largely destroyed, later the development of the city was directed towards industrial products. Minsk is an important industrial center. Almost a quarter of the country’s industrial products are manufactured here, including more than half of machinery products. The recognized industry leaders are the following companies: Minsk Tractor Factory, Minsk Automobile Factory, ZAO Atlant, Minsk Engine Factory, Minsk SIVavilov Mechanical Factory, MGPUP Belkommunmash, OAO Horizont, NPO Integral, OAO Keramin, etc. More than 300 industrial companies in the city manufacture trucks, tractors, the powerful wheel tugs, buses, trolleybuses and comfortable trams, motorcycles and bicycles, refrigerators and televisions, furniture, fabrics and many more merchandise. Lately, many companies in the industrial complex of the capital have started qualitatively in their development. Thus, each fifth company has certified product quality management systems at the level of international standards. More than 68% of the products are certified. The investment activities of the companies have made it possible to increase manufacturing volumes, while the consumption of materials has been reduced, mainly thanks to the increase in work performance. Its annual growth in the industry exceeds 12%.

Foreign capital plays an important role in the capital’s economy. Currently, in Minsk more than 1.8 thousand companies are registered with their participation, and their number continues to grow continuously. Foreign capital and mixed capital companies have been created with the participation of investors from more than 60 countries around the world. The city accounts for more than 40% of Belarus’ foreign trade volume.

In recent years, several unique architectural objects have been built in the capital: the railway station building, the Moskovskiy bus terminal, the National Library of Belarus, the Indoor Soccer Field, the Hotel Europa. In the near future, several large shopping centers and an architectural complex will be built: on the site of the old airport, surrounded on all sides by residential and social areas, the new commercial center of the city, Minsk City, will grow. However, nowadays, not only modern buildings appear on the map of Minsk. One of the vectors of State policy is the reconstruction of the historic center of the capital. On 14 July as as 2004, the President of Belarus Aleksandr Lukashenko signed the Decree “On the development of the historical center of the city of Minsk”. In October the same year, under a resolution of the Council of Ministers, was approved Comprehensive Fitness Program for Reconstruction, Restoration, Repair and the Old Town of Minsk in the years 2004- 2010. This means that in the near future the heart of the capital will be returned to the image lost over the centuries. And the first step has already been made: in the Plaza de la Libertad the City Hall, destroyed years ago, has been rebuilt. In 1499, Minsk obtained the right of Magdeburg allowing it to create its own self-management body, the municipal council. For this the City Hall building was built.


Thinking of tourism, Minsk is not a popular tourist destination. However, the unique urban landscape of this central Belarusian city attracts foreign visitors who are interested in seeing Soviet architecture. Due to the new policy of traveling to Belarus without a visa, Visa-Free many nationalities can obtain free entry into the country for 30 days.

Minsk, Belarus History