Minsk , with a population of 1,959,800 (according to the 2016 survey), is the capital and largest city of Belarus.
Minsk is situated on the Svislač and Niamiha rivers. After the Pale of Settlement of 1835, the population of Minsk became 1/3 Jews, almost all of whom fled or were killed during World War II. During the war, the population of Minsk was reduced from 300,000 people to 50,000 people. The city was 80% destroyed and was rebuilt in the 1950s to the liking of Stalin. The population of the city grew due to industrialization and movement of young people from the Belarusian countryside. The city now features a combination of rebuilt historical buildings, as well as modern apartments and shopping centers, and soviet-style buildings and monuments. It features sightseeing opportunities, as well as dining and shopping similar to its neighboring countries in the European Union, while still showing signs of Russian influence. English is rarely spoken but Russian is spoken by all, in addition to Belarusian. It helps to learn some key phrases in Russian.