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about Minsk

Minsk (Belarusian: Менск, Мінск; Russian: Минск) (population 1.7 million) is the capital of Belarus and headquarters of the Commonwealth of Independent States. During 1919—1991 Misk was the capital of the Byelorussian SSR.

Minsk is also the capital of Minsk voblast (Minsk province). It is situated by the Svislach River.

Legend has it that a giant called Menesk or Mincz had a mill on the banks of a river nearby the city. He used to grind stones for making bread in order to feed his warriors. The name "Minsk", also known as Mensk in the Belarusian language, more likely comes from the word мена (miena, "barter" in English) based on the city's long commercial history.

By the 10th century, Prince Rahvalod (Ragnvald in Norse, also spelt Rogvold, Rogvolod), of Viking origin, ruled a principality named Polacak, which included Minsk. The first recorded mention of Minsk dates from 1066, related to dynastic wars between Polacak and Kyiv principalities. Minsk later fell under the influence of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania, a state that later formed part of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth.

In 1655 Minsk was conquered by Tsar Alexei of Russia. It was regained by Jan Kasimir, King of Poland (1648-1668), and again annexed by Russia in 1773 (Partitions of Poland).

In 1919 and in 1920 the city was controlled by the Second Polish Republic in course of the Polish-bolshevik war. Later it was handed over to Soviet Russia under the terms of the Peace of Riga and became the capital of Byelorussian SSR, one of the constitutent republics of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics.

The Minsk area became a centre for the Soviet partisan movement behind enemy lines during the Great Patriotic War, and therefore Minsk was awarded the title Hero City in 1974. During the war the city was almost completely destroyed and only a few historical buildings are left. Most of the churches were destroyed during World War II and in the years after by the Russian communists, there are just several remaining ones, for example, Catholic Kalvaryja.

The first section of the Minsk subway opened in 1984 and now the network, which is called Metro like in many other European cities, consists of two lines. Both of the lines have extensions that are presently under construction. In addition, Minsk has extensive networks of buses, trolleybuses and trams.

The city grew rather rapidly after World War II, so that surrounding villages became mikrorayons, districts of high-density apartment housing. After the Chernobyl disaster, some of the displaced residents of the affected areas moved into Minsk, particularly into the Malinovka and Shabany mikrorayons. Even though the Minsk Ring Automobile Road surrounds the city, there are now some mikrorayons beyond the ring, such as Uruchye and Shabany. A new mikrorayon called Loshitsa was developed during the 1990's, though it is inside the ring.

Minsk has two airports. Minsk I is located just south of the city center and has mostly domestic flights. It might be redeveloped into a housing district sometime in the future. The other airport, located far east of town, is Minsk II. It is an international airport with flights to such places as Poland, Germany and Ireland. The Minsk central train station was modernized recently.

Minsk is very industrialized and produces tractors, gears, trucks, textiles, ice cream, refrigerators, television sets, radios, bicycles and countless other consumer items. However, unemployment and underemployment are quite common these days.

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This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Minsk".

This city is also known as: Minsk.

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