Minsk is the capital and largest city of Belarus, the administrative center of the Minsk region and the Minsk district, which it is not a part of, since it is an independent administrative-territorial unit with a special (metropolitan) status. The largest transport hub, political, economic, cultural and scientific center of the country. The tenth most populous (excluding suburbs) city in Europe, the fifth — after Moscow, St. Petersburg, Kiev, Tashkent on the territory of the former USSR. The city is located near the geographical center of the country and stands on the Svisloch River. The area is 348.84 km2, the population is 1,996,553 people excluding suburbs.
The earliest settlements on the territory of the modern city date back to the IX century. The valley of the Svisloch River was inhabited by two East Slavic tribes: the Krivichi and the Dregovich. Around 980, the territory of the modern city became part of the Principality of Polotsk.