Minsk is the capital and the largest city of the Republic of Belarus. Around 20% of Belarus' population lives here. Minsk is a special administrative unit in Belarus and is not a part of Minsk region. Minsk cars are distinguished by the “7” digit on vehicle registration plates.
Population. Around 1.9 million people lived in Minsk in 2016.
The area of Minsk is 394 km², which translates into 5.5 thousand people per square kilometer.
Minsk is divided into nine districts: Centralny, Pieršamajski, Saviecki, Lieninski, Maskoŭski, Partyzanski, Kastryčnicki, Zavadski and Frunzenski. Local estate agents describe Pieršamajski as the district with the best quality of life.
Knowing the names of Minsk districts is essential for any foreigner who plans to stay in Belarus longer than just a weekend. After five business days in Belarus (30 days if you're a citizen of Russia, Ukraine or the Baltic states), a foreigner must register with the district's police station.
Minskers themselves rarely speak about their districts. It is more likely for you to hear them referring to such smaller neighborhoods within the districts as Čyžoŭka, Sierabranka, Šabany, Malinaŭka, Kurasoŭščyna, Kuncaŭščyna, Kamiennaja Horka, Uručča, Zialiony Luh, Sucharava, Lošyca, Viasnianka… Those are the names of the villages that were swallowed by the urban jungle.
Previously, Minsk was called Miensk, Mieniesk, Miensk, Mińsk-Litewski… The current name was set in stone only in 1939.
Minsk stands on the Svislač River. For a long time, the second largest river flowing through Minsk was Niamiha. However, it was contained within a network of pipes in the 1930s. Niamiha also refers to a street and a nearby metro station.
Minsk mayor's title is officially called the Chairman of the Minsk City Executive Committee. As of December 2016, the mayor of Minsk is Andrej Šorac.
Photo by Pavel Potashnikov