Belarus - Europe
Minsk, (Belarusian: Мiнск) is the capital and largest city in Belarus, situated on the vislach and Niamiha rivers.
Minsk is also a headquarters of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS).
As the national capital, Minsk has a special administrative status in Belarus and is also the administrative centre of Minsk voblast (province) and Minsk raion (district).
It has a population of 1,830,000 inhabitants (2008).
An urban area that includes about thirty satellite cities (e.g. Krupki) holds 3,000,000.
The earliest references to Minsk date to the 11th century (1067), when it was a provincial city within the principality of Polotsk.
In 1242, Minsk became a part of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania, and it received its town privileges in 1499.
From 1569, it was a capital of the Minsk Voivodship in the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth. It was annexed by Russia in 1793, as a consequence of the Second Partition of Poland.
From 1919–1991, Minsk was the capital of the Byelorussian Soviet Socialist Republic.
Geography and climate
Minsk is located on the southeastern slope of the Minsk Hills, a region of rolling hills running from the southwest (upper reaches of the river Nioman) to the northeast - that is, to the Lukomskaye lake in northwestern Belarus.
The average altitude above sea level is 220 m (721.78 ft).
The geography of Minsk was formed during the two most recent Ice Ages.
The Svislach river, which flows across the city from the northwest to the southeast, is located in the urstrohmtal, an ancient river valley formed by water flowing from melting ice sheets at the end of the last Ice Age.
Minsk was initially founded on the hills.
However, in the 20th century, it grew to include the relatively flat plains in the southeast.
The western parts of the city are the most hilly.
Minsk is located in the area of mixed forests typical for most of Belarus.
Pinewood and mixed forests are still present at the edge of the city, especially in the north and east.
Some of the forests were transformed into parks (for instance, the Chelyuskinites Park) as the city grew.
Minsk has a warm summer humid continental climate (Koppen Dfb), owing to its location between the strong influence of the moist air of the Atlantic Ocean and the dry air of the Eurasian landmass.
Its weather is, however, unstable and tends to change often.
The average January temperature is -6.1 Celsius (21 °F), while the average July temperature is 17.8 °C (64 °F).
The lowest temperature was recorded on 17 January, 1940, at -40 °C (-40 °F) and the warmest on 29 July, 1936, at 35 °C (95 °F).
The air is often moist, with humidity levels at 80-90%, especially during the cold season.
There are on average 135 humid days a year, compared with only 6 dry days.
This results in frequent fogs, common in the autumn and spring.
Minsk receives annual precipitation of 646 mm (25.4 in), of which one third falls during the cold period (as snow and rain) and two thirds in the warm period.
Throughout the year, most winds are westerly and northwesterly, bringing cool and moist air from the Atlantic.
The area of today's Minsk was settled by the Early East Slavs by the 9th century.
The Svislach River valley was the settlement boundary between two Early East Slavs tribes - the Krivichs and Dregovichs.
By 980, the area was incorporated into the early medieval Principality of Polatsk, one of the earliest East Slav states.
Minsk was first mentioned in the name form Menesk in the Primary Chronicle for the year 1067 in association with the Battle on the river Nemiga.
1067 is now widely accepted as the founding year of Minsk.
City authorities consider the date of September 2, 1067, to be the exact founding date of the city, though the town (by then fortified by wooden walls) had certainly existed for some time by then. The origin of the name is unknown but there are several theories.
On September 8, 2007, the city of Minsk celebrated 940 years since its founding.
Photos courtesy: Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia - Many thanks - Editor - Click for an enlargement.
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For more information about Minsk see Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
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This page was retrieved and condensed from (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Minsk) November 2009.
All text is available under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License (see Copyrights for details).
This information was correct in November 2009. E. & O.E.
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