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Belarus Беларусь

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© Lonely Planet Publications
104

105

Belarus Беларусь
HIGHLIGHTS

Minsk The purest Soviet time capsule – apart from the funky cafés and clubs to keep things
bubbling (p107)
Brest Fortress Huge statues, eternal flames and people marching to epic music in period
uniform make this WWII memorial memorable (p112)
Best journey Discuss the dictator with locals over sausage and beer on the train from Minsk
(p107) to Brest (p111)
FAST FACTS
Area 207,600 sq km (slightly smaller than
the UK)
ATMs At most banks, hotels and train
stations
Budget BR107,000/US$50 per day
Capital Minsk
Country Code %375, international access
code %8 + 10
Famous for Being a Soviet time capsule
Head of State Dictator/President
Alexander Lukashenko

Phrases Dobry dzyen (hello), kalee laska
(please), dzyahkooee (thanks)

Languages Russian, Belarusian

Population 10 million

Money Belarusian rouble (BR); A$1 =
BR1597, CA$1 = BR1938, €1 = BR2736,
¥100 = BR1897, NZ$1 = BR1349, UK£1 =
BR3988, US$1 = BR2137

Time GMT/UTC + 2
Visas Most foreigners need one

At the train station’s left luggage, pay BR550 and get two locker ‘tokens’ – 15-kopek USSR coins.

ROAMING BELARUS
Give Minsk two days; if you have a couple of days more, get to Brest to see the WWII memorial.

Picture this: It’s the year 2006, and the Berlin Wall never fell. In the centre of Europe is a land that
perestroika forgot and glasnost glossed over. There, a tyrannical leader struggles to exert complete
control over his country’s mindset and media, quashing democracy, capitalism and any form of
dissent with an iron fist, an almighty propaganda machine and a powerful secret service.
This isn’t science fiction, it’s Belarus. And you can visit!
Don’t worry, the KGB isn’t interested in you and your backpack. But the people of Belarus
are dying of curiosity, and tucked between the staunch Stalinist architecture there are plenty
hip cafés, cool bars and tasty restaurants to keep your spirits high.
Wonder what life would be like if the Cold War never ended? Here’s your chance to find out.
But you’d better be quick. The country is landlocked by democratic, capitalist nations – and in
a global economy, with internet centres and sushi bars, Belarus can’t stay this way forever.

BELARUS

TRAVEL HINTS

106 B E L A R U S • • H i s t o r y

lonelyplanet.com

0
0

BELARUS

To St Petersburg

To St Petersburg

LATVIA

43

43

P46

Daugavpils

Dvina P20

Novopolatsk

RUSSIA

M8
a

n
Dvi

Polatsk

LITHUANIA

Smolensk

Hlybokoye

Lake
Narach

P45

P28
...
BELARUS
© Lonely Planet Publications
Belarus
Беларусь
HIGHLIGHTS
Minsk The purest Soviet time capsule – apart from the funky cafés and clubs to keep things
bubbling ( p107 )
Brest Fortress Huge statues, eternal flames and people marching to epic music in period
uniform make this WWII memorial memorable ( p112 )
Best journey Discuss the dictator with locals over sausage and beer on the train from Minsk
( p107 ) to Brest ( p111 )
FAST FACTS
Area 207,600 sq km (slightly smaller than
the UK)
ATMs At most banks, hotels and train
stations
Budget BR107,000/US$50 per day
Capital Minsk
Country Code
%
375, international access
code
%
8 + 10
Famous for Being a Soviet time capsule
Head of State Dictator/President
Alexander Lukashenko
Languages Russian, Belarusian
Money Belarusian rouble (BR); A$1 =
BR1597, CA$1 = BR1938, €1 = BR2736,
¥100 = BR1897, NZ$1 = BR1349, UK£1 =
BR3988, US$1 = BR2137
Phrases Dobry dzyen (hello), kalee laska
(please), dzyahkooee (thanks)
Population 10 million
Time GMT/UTC + 2
Visas Most foreigners need one
TRAVEL HINTS
At the train station’s left luggage, pay BR550 and get two locker ‘tokens’ – 15-kopek USSR coins.
ROAMING BELARUS
Give Minsk two days; if you have a couple of days more, get to Brest to see the WWII memorial.
Picture this: It’s the year 2006, and the Berlin Wall never fell. In the centre of Europe is a land that
perestroika forgot and glasnost glossed over. There, a tyrannical leader struggles to exert complete
control over his country’s mindset and media, quashing democracy, capitalism and any form of
dissent with an iron fist, an almighty propaganda machine and a powerful secret service.
This isn’t science fiction, it’s Belarus. And you can visit!
Don’t worry, the KGB isn’t interested in you and your backpack. But the people of Belarus
are dying of curiosity, and tucked between the staunch Stalinist architecture there are plenty
hip cafés, cool bars and tasty restaurants to keep your spirits high.
Wonder what life would be like if the Cold War never ended? Here’s your chance to find out.
But you’d better be quick. The country is landlocked by democratic, capitalist nations – and in
a global economy, with internet centres and sushi bars, Belarus can’t stay this way forever.
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