Minsk is a political, cultural and economic centre of the Republic of Belarus. Minsk covers an area of 256 square kilometers. The city is divided into 9 administrative regions. Population is 1,728,900 persons.
The city is located on the southeastern slope of the Minsk Hills on the bank of the river Svisloch. The altitude within the city varies from 184 to 280 meters. Located at the intersection of strategic roads from West to East and from North to South, from Moscow to Warsaw and from Kiev to Vilnius, Minsk is a large transport centre with several bus stations, a railway station, two airports and an underground network.
The climate is moderately continental, with significant influence of Atlantic sea air. Summers are warm, but not hot. The average temperature in July is +18C. Winters are mild, with frequent thaws; the average temperature in January is -6C.
Minsk is a city with quite an ancient history. It was first mentioned in chronicles in 1067 when joint forces of Dukes Yaroslavichy captured Minsk, and then in the Battle on the river Nemiga defeated troops of Vseslav of Polotsk. In 1499 Minsk was granted self-government according to Magdeburg Law. In 1974 Minsk was awarded an honorary title of “Hero City” in commemoration of merits of its citizens in the struggle against fascism during World War II. Since 1991 Minsk has been a capital of the Republic of Belarus. The executive committee of the Commonwealth of Independent States, the Government and the Parliament of the Republic of Belarus are located in Minsk.
Minsk is a treasure house of old churches and cathedrals. In spite of the fact that the city was almost completely destroyed during World War II, today it is one of the most developed cities in Eastern Europe. Rich cultural heritage, a variety of sights, a well-developed infrastructure, an attractive place for tourism and rest.
Minsk is known for its cultural component. There are 16 museums including The National Art Museum, National Museum of History and Culture of Belarus, Museum of the Great Patriotic War History. There are also 11 theaters including Russian State Drama Theater, Byelorussian Academic Theater, The National Opera and Ballet Theater. Besides, there are 20 cinemas and 139 libraries in Minsk.