Minsk Warnings and Dangers

  • Warnings and Dangers
    by Muscovite
  • Warnings and Dangers
    by Muscovite
  • Warnings and Dangers
    by Muscovite

Most Recent Warnings and Dangers in Minsk

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    Airport security control

    by Muscovite Updated May 26, 2014

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    Never seen such tough airport security!
    I mean, they are polite, well-mannered and generally good-looking girls – somehow I have only seen female officers at Minsk airport; but then it comes to the rules, there is no way to go round them.

    This travel sewing kit with perfectly blunt scissors has been with me for nearly twenty years, got it as some kind of a bonus from Danon when they were new in the country and easy to please - no longer so, by the way. I keep it in my handbag to cut the plastic protection off the suitcase wheels when I arrive – otherwise it cannot roll; had visited half of Europe and never got caught by any.

    What do you think, this X-ray machine in Minsk noticed the little thing which is not even steel – I think it’s aluminum, and they tell me to leave them behind! Ok, I know that ‘orders is orders’, but I really hate to part with something I am used to. In short, after 10 minutes’ discussion I had managed to keep my good old clumsy scissors, saying that next time I’d pack a razor!

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    Belarusian and Russian are different languages

    by Muscovite Updated May 20, 2014

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    1 more image

    If you understand English, you are OK – the metro speaks English, the bus speaks English, and they have installed touch-screens in hotel lobbies lately that speak English, too.
    If you know Cyrillic alphabet – that’s just fine, you will be able to read the text on memorial plaques, there are many in the streets since Soviet times.
    But if you speak Russian, and you expect you will easily deal with all those ‘next stop’ calls, you are no better off than a Spaniard trying to understand Italian.

    Look at this:
    The National Library lies at the metro station Vostok (East).
    OK, you go in, look at the metro map and try to figure out where you are – blank! Zero! No such thing as ‘Vostok’! The name of the recently emancipated station is now Uschod (pronounced 'Us-hod', Sunrise). Well, that’s pretty close anyway…

    Then supposing you stay at the hotel Sputnik, and the guide-book tells you that this has been the name of the bus stop, too, since the hotel was built in 1963 – what will you expect? No ‘Sputnik’ any longer, the stop has changed its maiden name to ‘Spodorozhnik’! OK, that’s basically the same as ‘going the same way’ and ‘taking the same road’. A university course of the old proto-Slavic language would surely help.

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    They think we are oligarchs!

    by Muscovite Written May 14, 2014

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    No oil-well in my dacha! No dacha either...

    I am still trying to get a way to Mir castle or Nezvizh, on my own or with a travel agency.
    You know what the one I contacted a couple of hours ago says? - By the way, it’s the owner of the heavily advertised Viva hostel .
    They do not do Mir, they only do Minsk. Ok, no problem. Just by way of information – how much?

    You’d better sit tight:
    2500 Russian roubles – over 70 USD for a two-hours’ WALKING tour!

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    ‘No Photo’ means just that

    by Muscovite Written May 14, 2014

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    I always want to know how things work abroad, and of course I was going to take pictures in Minsk metro. But just as soon as I came up with my camera a uniformed gentleman emerged and pointed at the sign ‘No Photo’. Honestly, I haven’t noticed it and was off, citing my two eye surgeries. The policeman politely explained I could legally capture the metro map, but not any engineering.

    I expect they may have the same rules for the railway, for which reason I only took pictures of the outside view of the station.

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    Bus # 100 changes route

    by Muscovite Written May 7, 2014

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    Note:
    The reliable bus # 100 that goes very often along the Independence avenue used to go up to the National Liberary and wind up at Moskovsky bus station.
    This is no longer so, see timetable.
    If you still take @ 100, you will have to take off approximately at Moskovskaya stop and then walk about 10 minutes. It's no catastrophe, but good to know in advance - fellow local passengers did not.

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    Spending money in Minsk

    by Odiseya Updated Feb 12, 2014

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    I am very hard core budget traveler, believe me. And I try to have a detailed preparation for trip including and how, how much and where is possible to pay less for the same quality and prices and all usually information on spending money in new city/country.

    I exchange about 11-12 euros in Minsk. I don't remember how rate was in summer 2011. The course was fairly stable, I think. The current rate of exchange offices can be found on the website http://infobank.by/1311/ItemID/15/Default. aspx. or on the website of the National Bank RB http://www.nbrb.by/statistics/Rates/RatesDaily.asp

    Payment cards issued by national bank, eg. Visa, Maestro, Diners, Master card etc., may be used, but due to the significant cost of conversion, it is recommended cash obtained by exchanging foreign currency in local exchange offices. I always use cash and, since I am not planning to buy anything particular, I exchange small amount of money.

    Maybe some of following information you find a useful:
    1. The public transport in Minsk are cheaper then European average and for one ticket (for bus or two existing metro lines) is 2.500 BYR, and the line for a taxi (van) 7000 BYR.
    2. Food and services of restaurant are on average already at the European level. I find some restaurants very cheap, McDonald's is higher then my choice of diner. Some restaurant in center are expensive. Just carefully look at the menu.
    3. Accommodation in a single hotel room costs between 60 and 150 euros, but has the luxury hotel where the prices are substantially higher. It is possible to find a cheap hostel.
    4. Cloth are not so cheap on some places but I didn't planning to buy anything.

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    Small town spirit

    by Odiseya Updated Feb 12, 2014

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    I find a Minsk very safe and somehow tourist friendly and somehow not. Its wide streets and huge pedestrian zone contribute to this. When you walking trough Minsk you hardly to see any locals.
    But minutes you enter in some small crowd you start to feel like "strangers". Been Slav and I think not so different then local by my look, you can feel and heard that people around it asking "Where you come from?" or "Is it a stranger?" I remember that was happens to our group when we enter to Cathedral of the Holy Spirit and attendant to holly services. It was a lovely experience and we meet some locals that felt genuine excitement to meet their brothers and sisters that come so far.

    The most positive experience was in small market when I "talk" to saleswoman on our local languages (same Slavic root). And lady after me ask her "Is she a stranger?" refers to me. "No", said saleswoman "she is ours". Off course, refers to Slavic roots.

    The most negative experience was on outdoor concert where we attended by accident. Some evidently drunk guy try to start conversation with several girls in our group. Apparently, if you don't response when their like then their will try to draw attention to themselves with any less polite gestures.

    Just be in your crowd and your be just fine. Outdoor concerts or some public events are not the same as political demonstrations or some public violence. So, I am not try to conclude that always happens. It is just observation and impression that Minsk yet didn't often part of touristic trail. I hope it would change soon.

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    Export and import permited

    by Odiseya Updated Feb 12, 2014

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    I heard from guides (and read on some internet reassures) that for export the picture from Belarus, you will have to obtain a special permit from the Ministry of Culture of country. I didn't bought a picture, so don't know how process goes.

    This review I find very interesting so I take a task to write a more useful information.
    Detailed information can be found on the website of the State Customs Committee of the Republic of Belarus www.customs.gov.by in Russian, English and Germany language.

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    Don't exchange much money to local currency

    by agepiroshiki Written Aug 21, 2011

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    As you may know, Belarus is in economic crisis and in shortage of foreign currency reserve at the time of writing in August 2011. The authority has introduced some measures to restrict outflow of foreign currency.

    When I tried to exchange the local currency equivalent to 20-30 euro in the Minsk airport before departing to Moscow, a bank could change it to only 200 Russian rubles (about 5 euro) and give back the rest unchanged.

    Therefore I recommend that you exchange money to necessary minimum of local currency (for purchase of water etc), and use a credit card to pay for something.

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  • jasonmaylett's Profile Photo

    horrible airport

    by jasonmaylett Updated Apr 4, 2011

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    minsk international airport

    in all my time i never had any trouble in minsk to me it seems very save when i,m there i feel saver then being in england just like any where just use your commen sense when i,m there i just try not to speak english the only problem with belarus is there culture of drinking. try not to go to some of the villiges by your self . also just ignore the airport the staff who work there are horrible don,t expect anybody to be freindly it won,t happen just keep your mouth shut and get out of here as soon as you can i could say more about this place but i won,t horrible place !.

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  • Belarus, Minsk is not a holiday destination

    by dulgros Written Sep 27, 2009

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    Closed, unfriendly people who are not used to deal with tourists.
    The only thing they can think about is how to get to your money.
    To rip you off is a practical joke to them.
    I came by train from Germany and I paid 90 euro for the ticket . When I needed to buy a trainticket for my journey back in the main trainstation, nobody could speak English but a "nice" young lady who spoke english offered to "help". I paid with Rubbels and later I found out that I paid 140 euro for the ticket.
    So the friendly girl and the cashier made 25 euro both, that's why they smirked at each other.
    Everybody is trying to make some extra money.

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  • Absolutely safe

    by ushastik Written Feb 25, 2009

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    Minsk is safe just don't get involved in demonstrations. Learn some Russian before you. Absolutely no one speaks English. Even a word. Hhaving lived there for a number of years I can say that Lukashenko is not unpopular with people in Minsk and especially the whole of the country. You probably just mixed with the minority who are against him. There will be no revolution as Belarus is heavily tied in wth Russia and there is no way Russia will allow Belarus to go pro-western. So even is there is an uprising it with be quickly snuffed out either by lukashenko or with the help of Russia. I know many people in Minsk and even the few people who moan about Lukashenko decide to vote for him during elections. It may be a dictorship there but he is well liked.

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    Avoid public demonstrations

    by Carletto76 Updated Nov 7, 2007

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    Minsk is really a quiet and safe place, probably the safest capital city I've even been to, or at least that was my feeling. That's probably also due to the fact that in Belarus there's an authoritarian regime and police (miltsia) is everywhere, expecially in the capital city and expecially in the centre, close to the presidential building.
    So the only danger you could have is if there's some public demonstration for democracy going on. People in Minsk are not happy about Lukashenka's regime even if in the country's capital city the level of life is quite high, also compared to neighbouring countries.
    I think there's not much time left before a real uprising of Belarusian people asking for real democracy. By now there has been several public demonstrations, with arrests and fightings with the police. People are scared and time is not ready for a revolution yet.
    BTW, unless you are particolarly involved into the fight for freedom, it's surely a good idea to stay away from any public demonstration.

    Better days will come: Жыве Беларусь!

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    Health Insurance

    by flyingkiwi Written Jun 1, 2004

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    Please bear in mind that you are probably going to need to purchase approved Health Insurance on arrival in Minsk. For this I can recommend the following organisation:-

    Belgossrakh
    16 Rakovskaya Str.
    Minsk
    (open - 9.30-17.30)

    The processing fee is USD1.00 but please remember to bring with you a valid passport.

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  • Avoid Milizija

    by Mr.Smash Written Jun 14, 2003

    ...more dangerous as private taxi drivers (in my opinion they are not) are policemen from the "Milizija". Avoid to contact them! Belarus ist definitely the less democratic european part of the former U.S.S.R.

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