Capital - The city of Minsk is located in the middle of Belarus and is the Capital of the Republic of Belarus and the center of the Region and District bearing the same name. The city of Minsk is entitled to a special status of an independent administrative and territorial unit. It is the largest political, economic, scientific and cultural center of the republic. It has a resident population of 1,726 thousand (as of 01.01.2003). It occupies an area of 255.8 km². Administratively, it is subdivided into 9 urban districts.
For the first time Minsk was mentioned in 1067 (referred to as Mensk, Menesk in chronicles).
The industrial, science and scientific servicing, transportation management and financial sectors are developed in the city.
Among the regions of Belarus, Minsk ranks first in the industrial output. Its share in the republic’s industry accounts for over 23%. About 300 large-sized and medium-sized industrial enterprises operate here. Minsk exceeds other regions in the output of machine-building, power-engineering, nonferrous, medical and printing industries. The distinguished feature of the capital’s industry development is that machine-building products prevail in its structure. Machine-building and metalworking enterprises manufacture more than half of the city’s industrial products. Such large-sized enterprises as the Production Associations BelavtoMAZ, Minsk Tractor Works, Minsk Engine Plant, Joint-Stock Company Atlant and others operate in Minsk. Power engineering and food industries also make up a large share. The city’s industrial complex is characterized by a high export potential and a number of enterprises export over 80% of the total output.
Situated on the strategic crossroads from East to West, between Moscow and Warsaw, Vilnius and Kiev, Minsk is the largest transportation hub of the Republic. The local air company, CIS and foreign air companies transport passengers and freight via the city’s airports — Minsk-1 and Minsk-2. The Machulishchy cargo airport located in the capital’s suburbs has capacities to handle transportation jumbos.
The planned rehabilitation of existing and building new European-wide transportation corridors Brest-Minsk-Moscow and Baltic states-Minsk-Ukraine serve the basis for developing the Minsk transportation hub and is the major potential for the urban development.
33 higher educational establishments are located in Minsk including 11 non-governmental educational institutions (about 170 thousand students), 27 secondary specialized educational establishments (over 40 thousand students), 267 general education schools (over 239 thousand students) and 445 preschool institutions.
Minsk is the largest scientific center of Belarus, with 185 research institutions including the National Academy of Sciences operating in it.
Minsk is the largest cultural center of Belarus. 16 museums, 11 theatres, 20 movie theatres, 132 libraries, 38 Palaces and Centers of culture, over 3.5 thousand of sporting facilities offer their services. 258 magazines and 282 newspapers are issued in Minsk.
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