hip Minsk

espresso in MinskAs hipster destination, Minsk has considerable competition. Just according to the Guardian, recent cool destinations have been Mexico City and Marseille (both 2005), Istanbul (2006), and the Canaries and Croatia (both 2007); in 2007 the competition for coolth was intense, and the Canaries and Croatia were trumped by uber-cool New York City. Hip destinations have been Belgrade (2005), Amsterdam and Sitges (both 2006), the Canaries (2007), Hvar (2008) and the Dominican Republic (2009); in 2007 they were beaten by uber-hip Berlin. Edgy destinations have been St Kilda (2001), downtown NYC (2003), Marseille and Mexico City (both 2005), Almaty (2007) and Shoreditch (2010). (Surprisingly, none of the discerning writers for the Guardian seems yet to have described any destination as uber-edgy.)

The first requirement for being a hip, cool and edgy destination is of course a supply of decent espresso, so that the intrepid traveller will suffer no change from routine home recreational drug consumption. Fear not, caffeine addicts: Minsk delivers. (The example above is from a café right on Victory square oval.) Espressos are cheap (which is not so edgy) but they are excellent. And they’re served hot, which is cool.

But this is only the start. You need style too, and Minsk has it.

Memphis Minsk bench

And it has thomassons by the row.

wall ladders, Minsk

All in all, Minsk is swell.

next in the Belarus series

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walks in Minsk parks

Yanka Kupala park is central and on Nezavisimosti avenue, though perhaps not as central as some other parks in Minsk. It dates from the 1960s and is named after a poet (whose statue is there).

Yanka Kupala park, Minsk

Yanka Kupala park, Minsk

Yanka Kupala park, Minsk

Yanka Kupala park, Minsk

Yanka Kupala park, Minsk

Created in 1945, Victory park is a little to the northwest, close to the Yubileiny, Planeta, Belarus, Victoria and probably other hotels. It’s big. True, I went there during a weekday morning, but I think I had an entire island there to myself.

Victory park, Minsk

Victory park, Minsk

Victory park, Minsk

Victory park, Minsk

next in the Belarus series