Situated on the Svislach and Nyamiha rivers and a population of just under 2 million, Minsk today enjoys a special administrative status in Belarus, but the city has played a pivotal part in the history of the region since the 11th century. As a result, it is home to many interesting finds and stunning architecture.
Its location bordering the Minsk Hills is second to none, putting rolling green hills and the rich pinewood forests the country is famed for, a mere stone's throw from your doorstep.
Whatever time of the year you move to Minsk, be sure to pack clothes you can wear in layers and waterproof clothing. The weather is a little unpredictable and liable to change fast.
Summer months are, by and large, warm and humid. Expect temperatures to reach 28°C in July, the height of summer, but be ready for them to plummet when winter comes. The average January temperature is -4.5°C, but it has been known to drop even lower, achieving a record -40°C in 1940.
As of January 2010, citizens from countries including Armenia, Cuba, Russia and Serbia were granted the ability to enter Belarus without a visa for a stay of 30 days or less. This was extended to 90 days for citizens of Ukraine, Uzbekistan and Venezuela. The majority of other countries, and indeed all English speaking countries, still require a visa to enter Belarus.
Visas are obtained through the Consulates and Embassies of Belarus in your naturalized country, and must be secured prior to travel, even if you are only visiting as a tourist.
In order to process your application, the authorities require your passport, a photograph and medical insurance in addition to a completed application form. Other stipulations vary depending on your nationality, so you should contact your nearest consulate to clarify exactly what is required before attending.
The length and nature of your stay are likely to dictate whether you choose to buy or rent accommodation when moving to Minsk. It is worth noting that in some situations, a visa will be granted for private purposes, providing the applicant can prove ownership of property in Belarus, but it does not involve authorization to work.
Apartments in the center of Minsk sell for an average price of 2,180 USD per square meter, with those outside of the city center achieving prices in excess of 1,500 USD per square meter.
If you do decide to rent, expect a central, one-bedroom apartment to cost about 570 USD per month, rising to 1000 USD for a family sized three-bedroom apartment in the same area. Outside of the city center, a three-bedroom apartment is likely to cost around 700 USD per month.