What do tourists like and dislike about Minsk?
Most foreign tourists like the so-called hospitality zones created for the hockey championship.
Local young people who also go there to have a drink seem friendly. The prices do not make a hole in your pocket. Minsk does not seem to be the back of beyond and the police are not arresting everyone. It seems that the police can relax after the preventive clean-up (30 youth activists were detained before and during the championship).
“I have attended about 20 world championships. This one is the best,” Thomas from Zurich said. “It is wonderful to be here, Minsk is like a great party during the championship. No problems. The people are very friendly. It is absolutely wonderful.”
Euroradio: “What is so special about it?”
Thomas: “The people! The people are wonderful!”
One of the Swiss fans knew about preventive detentions. The man wanted to know whether Euroradio was a free mass medium. But for this issue, he liked the championship in Minsk.
German Marko from near Stuttgart described some of the problems his had faced in Belarus.
“I live at my friend’s and I needed to register in Minsk. It was necessary to visit a special office, go to the bank and return to the office again. It took a lot of time. I do not understand why foreign tourists who have come to the championship have to register in Minsk,” the German guest was surprised. “I also needed to use the public Internet once. I had to show my passport first. I did not understand why. It is not that bad, but it is very inconvenient.”
All the other Thomas’ impressions were positive:
“I attended the world championship in Germany in 2010. The things I can see here were only near the stadium there. It is much better in Belarus. I like the greenery, broad streets. There are a lot of big buildings, ponds and parks. It is a very safe city and I think that the people are very friendly.”
Russian fans also admire our capital. There are dozens of thousands of them in Minsk now. At least the fans we found in the hospitality zone near the Palace of Sport said that they liked Minsk.
“This is my first hockey championship. Belarus is the best country to host championships,” Mikhail from Moscow area thinks. “Everything is so easy, everyone is having fun. I will not leave until we win. Malkin will come tomorrow and we will win.”
Russians feel the euphoria because of their team’s success and because Belarus is one of the few countries where people are not pointing at them and reproaching them of imperialism.
“We will support Russia until the end, Minsk is a cool city. The people are very friendly, they respect us,” Russian Arseni wrapped in his state tricolor said. “It is our brothers’ city and the people have welcomed us like friends and brothers, everything is great and the relations with other fans are great too. The city is surprisingly clean. Minsk and Moscow are worlds apart.”
Finnish fan Elena thinks that our arenas are as good as the best ice palaces in her country:
“They are very good. Minsk Arena is the same we had at the previous hockey championship in our country. This is my fifth hockey championship. Everything is different here; there are a lot of friendly people. The atmosphere is the same. The service is a bit slower than the one we are used to but everything is okay. The prices are really low. People are in a good mood and there are no problems at all.”
Frenchman Leraut has been to Minsk before and has noticed a huge increase in prices. However, it did not seem to be a problem for the fan.
“Everything has been organized in an excellent way. This is my first ice hockey championship. I have been to Minsk before. The people here are very good and peaceful. It is very safe. Minsk is a beautiful and clean city. However, the prices have increased, especially the rent. I pay €40 euro more per day than I used to.”