Once completely remodelled to accommodate the personal tastes of Joseph Stalin, Minsk has seen more than its fair share of struggle. The capital of Belarus is occasionally thought of as a dreary post-Communist town, but this city has the power to surprise with its sophisticated art galleries, trendy cafes, and refined sushi bars. Check out the National Opera and Ballet Theater for a world-class performance or to simply snap some perfect photos of this elegant structure. Then head to Independence Square and the Red Church, a towering symbol of Minsk for over 100 years.

For a breath of fresh air, stroll through the greenery of Chelyuskinites Park, where locals gather to let their kids play and soak up the sun on park benches. Uncover all you need to know about Belarusian culture at the State Museum of Folk Architecture and Rural Lifestyle, filled with timber houses, traditional handicrafts, and historical exhibits.

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