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planquadrat
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
It so happened that I spontaneously decided to visit Minsk. Here are the photos :)

Vilnius Railway Station which is our starting point of the journey


The Polish-made PESA diesel train which will take us to Minsk. The journey takes 2 hours and 30 minutes. Currently work is underway to electrify the entire Vilnius-Minsk route which will cut travel time to 2 hours next year. However even at the moment the service is comfortable and smooth. The border check is performed in the railway station on Lithuanian side and en-route between two intermediate stations on Belarusian side so effectively avoiding any delay due to border control and customs. Railway passenger traffic between Lithuania and Belarus has increased significantly over the past few years along with considerable service improvements which included cutting journey times and new rolling stock with further improvements underway


Arriving at Minsk Railway Station
 

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planquadrat
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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
The sights right outside the Central railway station. While railway station areas in many European cities are often a matter of concern it doesn't seem to be the case in Minsk. It seems to be clean and safe with some impressive Stalin era buildings along with newly built developments


Iconic Stalinist buildings facing the Railway Station square


Government House which contrary to what I thought is not a post-WW2 structure. It's built in 1934. Designed by Iosif Langbard


Area around Independence Square. By now you might have noticed that Minsk looks very clean and tidy. It doesn't apply only to main central areas but very much so to the entire city. In fact it must be one of the cleanest and tidiest cities I have ever been to. In this respect I would compare it to places like Singapore or Helsinki
 

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planquadrat
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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Independence Avenue. This must be the main street of Minsk




KGB Headquarters. Yep, it's still named the KGB in Belarus. Along with statues of Lenin and all the Soviet street names. Most street names in central part of Minsk carry some sort of reference to the Soviet history


Monument to Felix Dzerzhinsky. Best known for being the guy who created the KGB
 

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planquadrat
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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
More snapshots of buildings and surroundings of Independence Avenue





Underground pedestrian crossings are very common in Minsk. Overall the city is very well planned with adequate facilities for both pedestrians and cars. One could instantly tell that Minsk is putting serious amounts of money into infrastructure development


Lenin Street. Note the size of the pedestrian walkway. This seems rather typical for Minsk. Massive avenues lined by no less massive pedestrian spaces. I like that
 

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Personally I'm not a fan of underground pedestrian crossings, would rather have street crossings and smaller roads, but that's a personal preference - I know you disagree from our previous discussions.

Surprising photos though. Looks quite nice. Just be careful of perception though - you say about Central stations in other European countries being seedy - it seems Minsk is quite seedy overall if one believes the stats here.
 

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planquadrat
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Discussion Starter · #7 · (Edited)
Personally I'm not a fan of underground pedestrian crossings, would rather have street crossings and smaller roads, but that's a personal preference - I know you disagree from our previous discussions.
Yes I do remember our previous discussions. :)
And yes, I would guess Minsk is not your piece of cake. It is as much Le Corbusian as it can get: massive multi-laned avenues, massive sidewalks and underground crossing everywhere. It's a monument to that kind of planning. Moreover it seems to be continuing in our days as opposed to other ex-Soviet cities which aborted such planning practices (Vilnius being one of them).

Surprising photos though. Looks quite nice. Just be careful of perception though - you say about Central stations in other European countries being seedy - it seems Minsk is quite seedy overall if one believes the stats here.
I judge it by my personal perception. I felt far more safe around Minsk station than I would ever do around Milan, Paris Gare du Nord and some other major railway terminals in Europe let alone neighboring Vilnius. Overall Minsk feels very safe. Again, this judging according to my perception it's one of the safest places I have been to. Even if such perception is for whatever reason distorted it is by no means a dangerous place. That just wouldn't seem credible. The fact that you will see girls walking around by themselves carelessly in not so central neighborhoods in the middle of the night is a good indicator of that too. I have only seen that in Helsinki, Singapore, Hong Kong and a number of Chinese cities previously. Those were safe places.

As for the stats that you linked to I have become extremely skeptical of such indicators. Again based upon my personal experience. I remember reading horror stories about places like Shenzhen. Or even Bangkok. It makes me smile now. I don't like to feel unsafe in any situation and I would never go to cities/countries where I do not feel completely safe. In Minsk I felt completely safe at all times.
 

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^^ That's fine, you can have your perception. Doesn't make it so, though. Those stats are hard, fast facts that are fully cited. Your feelings cannot trump fact. Just because people walk around doesn't mean that is safe - women walk around the slums of Jo'berg at night too, does that make Alexandria safe?

Anyway, continue with the photos. Those are interesting even if your usual hyperbole isn't.
 

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planquadrat
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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
^^ That's fine, you can have your perception. Doesn't make it so, though. Those stats are hard, fast facts that are fully cited.
Collected and distributed by Belarusian authorities. Not that I would completely distrust them but Belarus is a very strange and interesting place in the European context. Calling it all 'facts' is very bold. I do like Minsk and Belarus as a whole (especially the people) but I wouldn't go as far as trusting everything Belarusian KGB or police is submitting to the stats department there.
 

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planquadrat
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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Ahh,Europe's NOKO! :D

Looks quite nice although shadows of Soviet heritage are bit too creepy. Having statue of Dzerzhinsky in Minsk is as good as Germans would have statue of Mengele in Berlin. Butchers of mankind should not be glorified.
True, I was a little surprised to see Dzerzhinsky's statue given his reputation in most countries. :D
Despite that Minsk actually feels very cozy and safe as I've already mentioned. Not entirely what I expected. Anyway I'll have many more photos from various locations in the downtown as well as outskirts so it will give a reasonably good idea what it looks like.
 

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planquadrat
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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Public bus. Public transport in Minsk is generally very good and adequate. And cheap too. A single bus, trolleybus, tram or metro ride costs under €0.3. Bus in the photo is locally-produced MAZ equipped with a Mercedes-Benz engine




Inside the inner-yard of some random building in the downtown


Buildings on Internatsyanalnaya Street
 

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planquadrat
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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Continued

Square next to the Holy Spirit Cathedral with highrise quarter in a not so far distance


Minsk old town is very compact as a result of extensive WW2 destruction which ruined most of the city. At present there is a number of dining and nightlife establishments in the area. A number of construction/renovation sites are busy in the area which seems to be turning into one of the central dining/entertainment areas of the city




 

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planquadrat
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Discussion Starter · #17 · (Edited)
Harley parked on one of old town streets


The text translates 'Apartments of your dreams'. Perhaps they could have done a better job given the location (city center)




Decorative monuments to the World Ice Hockey Championship which took place in Minsk earlier this year. It seems to have been a big event
 

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planquadrat
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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Volat, the official mascot of the Ice Hockey Championship


A big fountain next to the river


Belarus Hotel. It seems to be one of the few Soviet highrise landmarks in central Minsk. I checked booking.com and it has a very good rating (8.3). I guess it's worth staying in a place like that just for the atmosphere. There is a big public park in the area along the river. Overall Minsk did a good job with parks and open public spaces


Minsk - hero city. A Soviet era slogan which represents a honorary title given by the USSR to 12 cities in the aftermath of WW2 for outstanding heroism during the war


Apartments along Masherava Avenue
 

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planquadrat
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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Just in case someone started to think that this thread is going to get a yet another boring city thread with all those streets, cars and buildings, fear not.

There is another side to Minsk which is very far from boring.

It has to be said that girls in Minsk are not just pretty but it won't be an exaggeration to say that in this respect it must be one of the most exciting cities on earth. It may be partially due to hot weather but girls in Minsk certainly know how to dress properly (i.e. to my taste) :D

(Karl Marx street)


There will be more if you'll be patient enough :)
 
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