Belarus

Belarus

Etymology

The name Belarus is closely related with the term Belaya Rus’ , i.e., White Rus’. There are several claims to the origin of the name White Rus’. [Wikipedia]

Places to Meet People

Places to Meet People

Belarus Big Data User Group – This is a group for anyone interested in Big Data technologies. [meetup]

Belarus Jenkins Meetup – This is a community of Jenkins users and developers. The plan is to conduct periodic meetups to discuss various Jenkins/automation-related topics. We’re interested to hear your automation war stories, tutorials, plugin presentations, etc. [meetup]

Minsk F# User Group – This group is for everyone interested in functional programming and F# programming language. [meetup]

Minsk Salesforce Developer Group – Connect with Belarus developers building on Force.com / Salesforce1 Platform. [meetup]

Minsk Startup: Idea to IPO – Entrepreneurship permeates the culture of Silicon Valley – the innovation capital of the world. [meetup]

How to Find a Date

How to Find a Date

LovePlanet.ru – Launched in 2005, LovePlanet.ru is a dating site for Russian singles, but it is an option for Belarus as well. The site is mostly free for users, although it does offer a few Premium features. [visa hunter]

Mamba.ru – If you speak Russian, then this is the site to go to find you a perfect match. Mamba.ru is one of the biggest dating sites in the world with over 23 million members. While this site is catered to Russians, it is a decent option for Belarus. [visa hunter]

Russiancupid.com – Russiancupid.com is the best online dating site in Belarus, particularly for foreigners who don’t have a good handle on the Russian language. As is the case with pretty much all sites run by Cupid Media, it is amazing! [visa hunter]

Walking Tours

Walking Tours

Daria Tour – If you are planning your trip to Belarus then we are glad to help you with organizing your tour and vacation in this wonderful country. We provide service for organized groups and individual tourists. We collaborate with the best hotels of different standards and with experienced licensed guides in English, Russian, Polish, French, German, Italian and other languages. If you do not know how to organize your time in Belarus we can always offer you a program and take into account your wishes and possibilities. [belarus.dariatour]

Guide in Minsk – You will hear interesting facts about the Government House, the so-called Red Church and Belarus State University before taking a walk through the grandest section of Minsk High Street – Independence Avenue – that was restored shortly after the Liberation of Belarus in 1945. [minsk tours]

Izi Travel – We do what we do because we really want to help organisations in the culture, heritage and tourism sectors bring their stories to life. We also want to make exploring museums and cities even more inspiring and enriching for visitors and travellers alike. [izi travel]

Tours by Locals – Experience Minsk through the eyes of a local private guide! Browse our tour ‘suggestions’ – each can be customized just for you. [tours by locals]

Free Things to Do

Free Things to Do

Attend a performance in the Opera and Ballet Theatre – Book a ticket and spend a few hours enjoying the show (that would cost you MUCH LESS than in Europe or the USA). Don’t hurry away after the show – walk around the building, have a look at the sculptures in the garden around it or even catch a Pokemon – the game’s fans say pokemons are swarming here. [belarus feed]

Get a good drink – Set on a long pub crawl to find an answer to the main question bothering local party panters: which of the two bar streets – Oktyabr’skaya or Zybickaya – is cooler? [belarus feed]

Grasp some knowledge – We’re proud to say that Minsk has made a huge leap forward with creative spaces and hubs that have sprung around the city in recent years. [belarus feed]

Rent a bicycle and go for a ride – Places we suggest you should arrive at following bicycle lanes are Loshitsa park (excellent for picnics and has an elegant XVIII estate) and – a challenge for the most adventurous – Raubichi sports complex, a 15km ride from Lahojski trakt in the north-east of Minsk. [belarus feed]

See the city from above – If you visit Minsk in spring or summer, take a ride on the Ferris wheel in Gorky park – this is the most extreme observation spot. You will get a view of the whole downtown – Kastryčnickaja Square, curves of the Svisloch river, the monument at Victory Square – and will find it much easier to find your way in the centre having this aerial map in your memory. [belarus feed]

See the sea! – You’re probably wondering, what the hell, isn’t Belarus a landlocked country? Yes, it is, but we do have a “sea”, a Minsk sea! Locals use this romantic name when they talk about Zaslavskoe water reserve, located just outside the capital.You can reach it by electric train from the central railway station. [belarus feed]

Set on a tour around museums – Stroll through the silent halls of the National Arts Museum with its impressive collection of social realism, look at Lenins in Azgur Museum, and give a glance at what’s going on in the courtyard of the National History Museum – you’ll find an outdoor photo exhibition showing an authentic Belarusian rite, a crafts fair or an open-air film screening at weekend. [belarus feed]

Shop for food in Komarovka – The market is another landmark of the city. It sells everyting, from meat to fresh dairy products, fruit, vegetables and much more. Experienced shoppers advise to make friends with some sellers – that’s how you will get good prices and smiles. [belarus feed]

Walk until you can – Indeed, one of the remarkable features of Minsk are relatively empty streets and roads with few cars. Enjoy! Start at Gorodskoy Val, reach the Independence avenue, that might be inluded into UNESCO sites list, continue down past the circus to Oktyabr’skaya street to take a picture in front of one of the crazy street art there. [belarus feed]

Watch a match – Try to get into a hockey game, a basketball or a football match. Sport is getting increasingly popular here and so are success stories like that of FC Krumkachi, that rose from an amateur team to a professional club in several seasons. [belarus feed]

Festivals

Festivals

Chernobyl Disaster Commemorative Day – Respects are paid on April 26 to the victims of one of the world’s worst nuclear disasters, which took place near the Ukraine-Belarus border. Large parts of the country were, and remain, severely contaminated by the explosion. The event is marked by a somber procession throughout the streets of the cities and the laying of wreaths and flowers at the Chernobyl chapel. [iexplore]

Defender of the Fatherland Day – A leftover festival from the Soviet era, Defender of the Fatherland Day is still celebrated in a number of former USSR countries on February 23, the date marking the massive 1918 Russian Civil War draft. After the fall of the Union, the event was renamed to honor Belarusian soldiers who served and men throughout the nation. [iexplore]

Dziady – Another traditional Slavic festival, Dziady celebrates the dead when families come together to throw ritualistic feasts. The festival regained momentum in 1988 due to the efforts of the Belarusian Popular Front to revive nationalism in the country. [iexplore]

Independence Day – Held each year on August 25, a garish, military-dominated Belarusian celebration sees the army parade through the streets of Minsk, tanks and all. It is an interesting spectacle to behold, but carries with it a creepy, overly Orwellian feel. [iexplore]

International Festival of Arts in Vitebsk – This lively festival is held every July in Vitebsk and is devoted to the celebration of Slavic music. The event attracts participants from Belarus, Russia, Ukraine, Bulgaria, and Poland, in addition to those from the former states of Yugoslavia. Famous singers from around the region attend and perform Slavic songs, backed by the National Concert Orchestra of Belarus. The most successful country to date is Ukraine, with five wins to its name. [iexplore]

Kupala Night – A long-standing Slavic festival celebrating the summer solstice, Kupala is held on the night of July 6th and 7th. Many believe the festival has pagan roots and is extremely popular among young generations in Eastern Europe, who use the occasion as an opportunity to engage in fun-filled water fights. [iexplore]

Lipstapad International Film Festival – Founded by the government to promote the country’s film, this event takes place in Minsk every November. It brings together a vast array of talented movie makers and avid cinema-goers. It achieved international status in 2003. [iexplore]

Menestral Guitar Music Festival – This huge, guitar-loving festival held every February and March attracts amateur and professional musicians from around Belarus. First held in 1992, the event occasionally draws a few big names (usually from Russia) who entertain the crowds with classical renditions of famous folk songs. If you plan on being in the country around this time, make sure to book a ticket well in advance as the festival sells out fairly quickly and accommodations are hard to come by. [iexplore]

Public Transit

Public Transit

Car hire – Presents no difficulty. Expect to pay anything from $300 to $600 for a week’s hire, dependent upon the size of vehicle. A number of major international operators have desks at Minsk International Airport, with more at several of the city’s hotels (particularly the new ones). All offer online booking facilities in advance. [belarus digest]

Riding the Rails – As in the days of the Soviet Union, trains in Belarus still leave on time but are often slow and rickety, particularly (and perhaps surprisingly) on the major lines between cities. For example, the journey from Minsk to Homiel can take over five hours (eight on the overnight sleeper). The journey to Brest takes between three and a half and five hours. The fares are cheap, starting at $6 for a single ticket on the Minsk-Homiel route, and $5 on the route to Brest. [belarus digest]

Travelling by Bus – Inter-city and suburban bus routes operated by state enterprise Minsktrans depart from a number of bus stations in Minsk. By way of example, the journey to Brest takes around five hours and a single ticket costs $9. Homiel is also five hours away and a single ticket costs $8. The journey across the border to Vilnius (and access to budget flights) takes three to four hours and a single ticket costs around $14. [belarus digest]

Professional Groups & Events

Professional Groups & Events

Minsk Unreal Engine Game Development Meetup – This is a group for UE4 Game Developers from Blearus. All level of skills are welcome. We are happy to share our experience in UE4 developers with everyone from Belarus. [meetup]

PretaShop- Minsk Ecommerce Meetup – PrestaShop is an Open source ecommerce software dedicated to innovative technology and providing online success for merchants and developers. We always want to grow our community and reach out to e-commerce lovers. [meetup]

Sitecore User Group Belarus – Sitecore community in Belarus, Minsk aims to bring together professionals who is already working with Sitecore or want to learn about it. This group is open to all developers, marketers and users. [meetup]

Startup Founder 101 – At Startup Founder 101, aspiring and early-stage startup founders meet once a month to hear candid talks by successful local entrepreneurs. Learn the best practices, strategies, and mistakes to avoid from those who have been there, done that. [meetup]

Language Exchange

Language Exchange

Living in Belarus – Belarus is not generally known as an expatriate community, there are few opportunities for expats to move. Minsk is the capital city of Belarus and the place where many expats settle. It’s a beautiful city with many quirks that make it a unique place to live; however, it’s very cold in winter – be well prepared. Summers are beautiful and hot, and the people really come out of their shells. We’ve listed here some important things to know before you set off your next adventure. [expat woman]

Your Expat Community in Belarus – Vitayu and welcome to your community of expats in Belarus; a place for you to connect with other people living and working in Belarus both online and offline. In our guides and forums, you can find a wealth of information and advice especially created to support expats as they relocate. Our comprehensive guides and insider tips provide reassurance that you are not alone and here you can find answers to questions like “how do I obtain a work permit?” and “what healthcare options are available?”. [internations]

LGBT Groups

LGBT Groups

Gay Scout in Minsk – Gay Guide for gays, lesbians and friends. [gayscout]

Resources

Resources

Places in Belarus

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