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Minsk will almost certainly surprise you. The capital of Belarus is, contrary to its dreary reputation, a progressive, modern and clean place. Fashionable cafes, impressive restaurants and crowded nightclubs vie for your attention, while sushi bars and art galleries have taken up residence in a city centre once totally remodelled to the tastes of Stalin. Despite the strong police presence and obedient citizenry, Minsk is a thoroughly pleasant place that's easy to become fond of.

Razed to the ground in WWII, Minsk has precious few buildings remaining from the pre-war years, and there are relatively few traditional sights in the city, save a clutch of worthwhile museums. Instead, there are myriad places of interest to anyone fascinated by the Soviet and Lukashenko periods and a wealth of cosmopolitan pursuits to keep you entertained come evening.

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