Minsk is the capital of the Republic of Belarus, its political, economic, cultural and scientific center. It is an ancient city and dates back to the 11th century. The main stages of its origin and development are rather typical of a large settlement in this country.
It's history has some specific features which distinguish it from many other similar cities and towns. There is one version of how it came into being. According to this the city was founded in the 11th century. The fact of its existence was first recorded in the chronicles in 1067 connection with the battle on the river Nemiga. In 1101 after Prince Vseslav's death, the Principality of Polotsk was divided between his sons. Gleb Vseslavovich took proposition of Minsk and made it the capital of an independent Principality.
There are certain proofs that it was a flourishing commercial center located at the crossroads of the traditional trade rout from east to west and from north to south. The artisans and merchants traded their products for salt, iron, tin and other goods. The earliest trading took place on the right bank of the Svisloch. This, it s believed, gave rise to the name " Mensk" Ih the 14th century Minsk became part of the great duchy of Lithuania.
In order to strengthen their hold on Russian soil, the Lithuanian princes united with the lords of Poland in 1569 and the next 200 years the Belarussian people were dominated by Poland and Lithuania. The city suffered from the armies of Napoleon in 1812 as well as from the Nazi occupation in 1941. On the 5th of January 1919 the city of Minsk Became the capital of Soviet Belarussia. Minsk is situated on the river Svisloch and occupies an area of 200 square kilometers. Its population is about 2 million people.
During the Great Patriotic War Minsk was destroyed by German invaders almost completely. Minsk lay in ruins. The people of Belarus rebuilt the city. Victory Square, the Eternal Flame at the monument commemorates soldiers, underground fighters, partisans who fell in the battles for freedom f our motherland. The names of many streets of the city commemorate many heroes.
Minsk today is a leading economic center and one of major industrial cities in Belarus. It is a large machine-building center. The industrial enterprises of Minsk include: the Minsk Tractor Works, Minsk Computer Works, Ball-Bearing Plant, Refrigerator Plant, Watch Factory, and others. Industrial enterprises produce tractors and automobiles, motorcycles and bicycles, TV sets, radio-sets, watches and refrigerators, electronic computers, textile, footwear, food and other goods. It is also a big traffic center with a large network of railways, roads, air lines and two Metro lines.
The Minsk Metro is the newest and very beautiful. Each station has some associations with historical events of the country or reflects the peaceful efforts of the people.
Minsk is also known as a city of science and students. There is the Academy of Sciences and 16 higher educational establishments there, the biggest of which are the University and the Polytechnic Academy. The city is noted for it's varied interesting cultural life. In Minsk there are 6 theaters, concert halls, a circus, dozens of cinemas, many places of culture, libraries, clubs. The most famous theaters are the Opera and Ballet theatre, the Yanka Kupala Theatre, the Gorky Russian Drama Theatre. Among the most interesting museums one can mention the Museum of the History of the Great Patriotic War, the Art Museum and Yanka Kupala and Yakub Kolas Museums. The Art Museum is a real treasure-house of fine arts.
Minsk is a city of sports. There are good recreation and sports facilities: tennis courts, playgrounds, swimming pools in various parts of the city. The main sports structures are: the Dynamo Stadium, the Palace of Sports and Water Sports Centre.
Minsk is a hero city. It was honored with the title in 1974 for outstanding heroism and courage during the Great Patriotic War. The citizens of Minsk are proud of their city. It is beautiful at any time of the year. Tourists are impressed by multi-storied buildings, the newly built area in the suburbs, by a lot of sights. Frantsysk Skarina Avenue extends for more than 10 kilometers. There is a magnificient view from the river Svislach.
There are 1.836, 8 million inhabitants in Minsk, and the population is constantly growing.