From the chronicles of a seasoned traveller

Minsk – a brief introduction

Minsk – a brief introduction Belarus is nicknamed the “Last Dictatorship in Europe,” and it’s often described as a vestige of the Soviet Union, a sort of museum piece. But a visit to the country quickly gives you a different impression. Beyond the airport, there are few signs this is the kind of place that locks up its dissidents, breaks up peaceful protests, and censors the press, though it does all three. Portraits of Lukashenko do not hang from every wall. On the highway from the airport, there are more ads for casinos then there are notices imploring public order. And there are far more soldiers on the streets of Paris and Rome than there are in Minsk—the only ones we saw were unarmed, off-duty layabouts hanging around the National Art museum Minsk was awesome. The old quarter, or “upper city,” isn’t much of anything, housing a restored town hall, a few churches, and some overpriced tourist restaurants. It’s all what we call Soviet Brutalism. But it’s well kept, nice and clean. There are parks and green areas everywhere. Most of the city was destroyed in World War II and was rebuilt to Soviet specifications. Long government buildings, occupying whole city blocks, are the order of the day. Far from being the dull, drab concrete monstrosities of western imagination, most of them are tall, awe-inspiring buildings. Taking pictures of government buildings was said to be a quick way to get hauled off but we saw nothing of that anywhere. Traveling through

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