Minsk Local Customs

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    Priorbank
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Most Recent Local Customs in Minsk

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    Minsk budget

    by Muscovite Written Jun 3, 2014

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    Minsk budget for my part turned out to be very, very budget!

    In three days I spent 250 000 Belarusian rubles in cash, that’s 25 USD or 18 euro:
    1) Two museums and the Botanical gardens with a map

    2) Two theater cast bills
    The tickets were already bought with the credit card, which reminds me to mention that contrary to my fears credit cards are widely accepted

    3) One lunch and three suppers
    Here I need to explain, otherwise you will think they have already reached communism and do not need any money at all. On the one hand I don’t really eat much, one the other hand I came well-prepared: a few packs of instant soup, a few tea sachets, dry fruit, walnuts and a very nice home-made cheese-pie. With the hotel-provided utensils and water cooler that does not only cool but warms up water, too, I made myself very sensible meals.
    The food-store nearby supplied three cheese cakes (they have very good dairy here), three kefir bottles, about 100 – 150 g canned laminaria and a cake of bitter 70% chocolate made by the Spartak factory in Gomel’ (a very proper name for a chocolatier). Oh yes, I nearly forgot two apples.
    That takes care of night snacks, the lunch consisted of a pancake with cheese and a cup of tea – the unassuming café in the Botanical gardens

    4) Last but not least – 2 metro slugs and 15 bus/trolleybus tickets, of which I spared one for the next trip!

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    Ballet is not just about movement

    by Muscovite Written May 15, 2014

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    Language skills come handy, too!
    This is how you can find out the cast for the opera / ballet you have booked or are going to book – see print-screen.

    I contacted The Grand Opera after the performance - lost the hand-bill in a hurry, had to catch the train back to Moscow the same day. They told me to hold the cursor at the title, and the names emerge.
    But – alas! – no such service for the English version.

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    Cards and ATMs

    by Muscovite Updated May 8, 2014

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    Banknote features Minsk Opera
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    I am a bit concerned about currency exchange, haven’t travelled with cash for about 10 years.
    The Russian state-owned giant Sberbank has an affiliated bank in Belarus with an ATM at the Central railway station, they vowed their ATMs do not draw commission from their own cards.

    I thought that this may be the case with other foreign banks, too, did some research, and this is how it looks for now:

    Home Credit Bank – same name, Czech Republic, now present in faraway places, like India and Philippines
    http://www.homecredit.net/pub/en/operations/belarus.html
    Independence avenue, 94

    Commerzbank – same name, Germany, present in 50 countries
    https://www.commerzbank.com/en/hauptnavigation/konzern/commerzbank_filialen_/filialfinder.html

    Priorbank – Raiffeisen Group, Austria
    http://www.priorbank.by/e/
    (seen their ad on the bridge)

    Rietumu – same name, Latvia
    http://www.rietumu.com/bank-offices

    You can follow the current rate with the National Bank of Belarus

    P.S.
    I am back, brought proof that some of these banks do exist (see photos) and function (it was May 1st, though, evrything closed)

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    Currency rates

    by Muscovite Written May 7, 2014

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    The National Bank of Belarus

    Lucky Americans can skip arithmetic,
    $ 1 = 10 000 BYR (Belarusian rubles)

    Others are advised to bring counting machines to multiply and divide all these thousands and millions.
    For today:
    1 euro ~ 14 930 BYR
    1 pound ~ 16 970 BYR
    1 franc ~ 11 440 BYR

    Consult the site of the National Bank of the Republic of Belarus below.

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    Belarus travel

    by Muscovite Updated Apr 28, 2014

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    Found the site of Belarusian Tourist Office.
    However, writing to their info@belarustourism.by proved useless.
    It appears that to get an answer you have to write to someone in particular, like lastname@belarustourism.by, then they respond quite quickly. Use the address of their director below.

    If you need a guide or a travel company, they provide a long list here
    http://eng.belarustourism.by/guides/
    The problem is that the contacts are phones, not e-mails - apparently you've got to dial a long-distance call.
    In any case, it's better than nothing.

    This site covers the whole country.
    Specifically on Minsk I found this info:
    (Try to see the difference between 'tourist information centre' and 'information tourist centre'!)

    Tourist Information Center in Minsk
    19, Pobediteley Avenue, Minsk,
    Republic of Belarus, 220004,
    Tel./ fax: +375 17 226-99-00
    ICQ 397-326-723
    E-mail: info@belarustourism.by

    State Institution "Information tourist center" Minsk "
    13, Revoluzionnaya ave., Minsk
    Republic of Belarus, 220004
    Tel.: +375 17 203 39 95
    Fax: +375 17 203 39 95
    E-mail: tic-minsk@mail.ru

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    Money in Belarus

    by Odiseya Updated Feb 12, 2014

    The local currency in the Republic of Belarus is Belarus Ruble (BYR) in denominations of 50, 100, 500, 1,000, 5,000, 10,000, 20,000, 50,000, 100,000 and 200,000. I found it online that government was withdrawn from circulation denominations of 10 and 20 BYR. And those ruble I save as souvenirs (possible collective items).
    Notice that at the time of my Minsk visit (summer 2011) all prices was 1000 and up so that small amounts was really unnecessary. And there no coins.

    I found some small money exchange office I think in area around Town hall.
    I enter in country trough Russia so I try to use here some of 350 Russian ruble that I didn't spend before. And I use extra 5 euros, in total it is about 11 or 12 euros.
    So, I was planing to go wild in Minsk! Seriously, I travel with huge group and we all was thinking that Belorussia is not expensive country. And that was truth, at least for me it was.
    I am usually devoted budget traveler and, even we didn't have a meal included in trip, It was a ridiculous cheap.
    I have a breakfast in hotel, dinner on main square, a book, some postcards, fridge magnet, kvass (national drink), and some food for trip and I paid two ticket in Gorky park (boat and Ferris wheel ride). And all that for some 11 and something euros.

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    Nemiga tragedy

    by Odiseya Updated Feb 12, 2014

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    Namiga station
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    On entrance on Nemiga metro station you can find a monument and memorial plaque as remembrance on tragedy that take place here on 30th May 1999.

    Some relevant information - many people of Minsk, that day come on on the river bank on Svislach, where was a Beer Festival, organized by the brewery " Olivariya " and attend to concert which dedicated to band name "Mango-Mango". During concert, the storm began and people try to hide in nearby metro station. As a result of stampede 53 persons was killed, including 40 women and two police officers who were trying to save people. Most of the dead ware young people aged 14 to 20 years and more than 150 people were injured. After investigation and trial the official cause of the incident was a tragic set of circumstances. Monument is nice, with decoration in shape of roses, 53 in total for all victims.

    Interesting is that during our first night in Minsk on Oktyabrskaya square my friend and I visit outdoor concert who is dedicated to pay homage victims of Namiga tragedy.

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    Eternal Flame

    by Odiseya Updated Feb 9, 2014
    Eternal flame

    Eternal flame is familiar monument trough world. In Minsk one is incorporate in Victory Monument on Victory square, one of famous symbol of City. Eternal Flame monument was placed on base of square with underground hall and flame and outdoor flame. Colonel-general Alexei Burdeinei, hero of Soviet Union and honorable citizen of Minsk lit this flan in 3 July 1961, on the 17th anniversary of liberation of Minsk.

    My tour group arrived in Minsk in early morning, too early to be accommodated in hotel. My friends and I walk to the Victory square and that was our first sight in City. Very nice heat was enough to embrace the city as we think that city embrace us.

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    Zero Kilometer Landmark

    by Odiseya Updated Feb 1, 2014

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    Zero Kilometer Landmark
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    Zero Kilometer Landmark or “The Beginning of All Belorussian Roadways” monument on October Square in Minsk sure pay a attention to visitors. I have seen several similar monuments on my travel in past.
    The pyramid-shaped granite stone here symbolizes eternity and solidity. The monument was brought from Portugal. It have a base and bronze car-touches featuring Belarus’ roads map around it.
    So, you can learn here how far this spot is away from, for example Kiev (573 km) or Warsaw (600 km).

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    Circus

    by Odiseya Written Oct 20, 2013

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    Circus
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    Circus is very popular in Belarus. Here circus is art, tradition and cultural institution.
    Unlike the other cultural institutions like Philharmonic or the Opera, the Circus' season continues year-round and performances take place multiple times a week.
    Around Belorussian National State Circus you can find a beautiful circus sculptures.

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    Tide relations with Russia

    by Odiseya Updated Oct 20, 2013

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    Belarus-Russia relation

    We come to Belarus from Russia, on the way Moscow to Minsk in early morning by bus. And, even our organizer keep telling us to stay awake and prepare our passport there no border between today two independent countries. From 1998 both countries have a sign special political and economical agreement and formed a special Union State. Precisely, on December 8th, 1991 up to now, Russia and Belarus are part of regional organization named the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS).

    Many signs in Minsk are on Belorussian and Russian and many are on Russian language only.

    Architecture, culture, arts, education, economic, religion, family relations and common roots united people.

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    Love path

    by Odiseya Updated Oct 14, 2013

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    Love path in Gorky Park

    That it was a nice part of Gorky park. The 'Love Path' is a small bridge. The story attached was very romantic. This is place where lovers have been hanging padlocks and they do that since the 19th Century. The aim of this traditional is, of course, to symbolize their eternal love and promises. It was suggested for couples to carve their names on the padlocks, then hand them on the bridge, and throw their keys forever into water.

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    Virgin Mary - Protector of Minsk

    by Odiseya Written Oct 13, 2013

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    Virgin Mary - Protector of Minsk

    Minsk, hero city, after long atheistic period during soviet times regain its religious roots and believe.
    During my visit the city, I learn that Virgin Mary was considerate as protector of Minsk and you can find, along the socialistic symbols, and many billboards and posters of Mother of God surrounding by four angels in specific shape witch is also a specific for icon. I bought a small wooden magnet in GUM for for the memory of the visit to the city.

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    Pay homage to national heroes

    by Odiseya Written Oct 13, 2013

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    Island of Tears

    As it was planning from beginning of construction Afghan memorial monument on Island of Tears complex it was place to remembrance and pay homage to national heroes.
    You can see a big garlands with memorial ribbons around chapel and Angel guardian statue. Family and devotees left here and that is their way to pay homage to their loved once and national heroes.

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    To come back to Minsk

    by Odiseya Written Oct 13, 2013

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    Island of Tears

    Minsk follow tradition of some other places all over the world whose have a good marketing and successfully commercialized their monuments and places of interest. So, our guide are told my and my friends that tourists throw some money in little pond-fountain beneath angel guardian statue (some version of wishing well) if they wont to visit Minsk again.
    Since, in Belarus no coin you can see or throw some small bills.

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Minsk Local Customs

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