Snow-covered trees, below-zero temperatures and twinkiling lights, plenty of Christmas events and holiday activities. Minsk is full committed to get you in the festive mood.
Christmas in Minsk isn’t complete until you’ve checked these quintessential, holiday things to do off your list.
Find the best holiday market
Fed up with mass-produced merchandise and stuffy, crowded stores? Try a holiday market instead. Fortunately, Minsk has a wealth of seasonal craft fairs.
These seasonal marts are great for finding unique gifts handmade by local artisans.
Visit Big Christmas Market at Pesochnitsa (23, 29-30 Dec, 5-6 Jan), just add hot chocolate or mull wine to get your Christmas spirit.
Or head to charity evening in Korpus Culture Centre on 6 December: a fair of good intentions, crafting ceramics and an inclusive hand-made, master classes on New Year’s décor and original gifts.
The annual Bolshoy Modny Market market features clothes, accessories and sweets from a number of quality handmade brands. Be there on 22-23, 29-30 December at the Metropol shopping center.
You will find wooden trade chalets with traditional Christmas decorations, gifts and hot pancakes, fried snails, shawarma and Hungarian rolls at Kolyadny Kirmash and Christmas Fair on Kastrychnitskaya Plošča.
2. Watch New Year parade
On Saturday, 24 December, hundreds of Ded Moroz (Belarusian Santa Clause – note BelarusFeed), Snegurochkas, and other winter characters will march through the centre of Minsk.
The traditional rally will start at 5pm at Plošča Niezaliežnasci.
About 1000 New Years characters will walk down to the Sports Palace. The rally will be broadcasted on screens at Plošča Niezaliežnasci, at Galleria Shopping Mall and at the venue near the Sports Palace.
3. Hang out at Plošča Niezaliežnasci
Plošča Niezaliežnasci will become a central place on the map of the Christmas and New Year celebrations of the city.
The place is to treat its guests with own Christmas menu – steaming soups, flat cakes with meat and vegetarian fillings, fat sausages and delicious desserts. Oh yes, and a pig roast!
The best bartenders of the city will make you a bit happy with their punch, grog, mulled wine or brandy. Among other surprises are a Christmas tree bazaar, photo zone and songs of cool Belarusian bands.
4. Listen to a Belarusian fairy tale
Well, what a Kalyady without a Belarusian puppet theatre? Nobleman Zavalnja will be your guide in the world of Belarus in fantastic stories.
Called ‘the Belarusian Thousand and One Night’, the book tells the story of a wealthy aristocrat, who lived on the shore of the lake and didn’t liked traveling much.
What he liked instead is listening to the stories. As the winter loomed, the lake froze and turned into an improvised road with most travelers willing to take a short cut across it.
Most of them saw a welcoming candlelight in Pan Zavalnja’s window, and paid their toll in stories in return for a warm bed, supper and straw for horses.
One of the stories you can listen to on 25 Deccember at 11am (in Belarusian), 2pm (in Belarusian) and 5 pm (in Russian) at Zair Azgur museum. Price: BYN 4-8, which is $2-4.
5. Go skiing at night
Experience the slopes of Lahoysk, skiing and snowboarding in the evening, when the trails are lit up with floodlights.
Experience the black of the night sky with stars and moonlight above (if you are lucky), as you navigate your way down the trails.
The ski resort with night ski rides option works daily from now till 31 January. Kits for skiers (skis, boots, sticks) and snowboarders (a snowboard, boots) is available on-site.