Minsk is the capital of Belarus and is also the headquarters of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS). In the 13th century, in order to avoid capture by the Mongols, Minsk became part of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania. Annexed by the Russian Empire in the 18th century, Minsk was not free again until 1990. The city is a living testimony to the atrocities of World War II; nearly half of its population perished during the war, and most of its architecture dates from after 1945. Explore the monumental Square of Independence, Victory Square, the square of Belarusian writer Yakuba Kolosa, the Central Road, and Kupalovski Park.
PUBLISHED: July 24, 2013