“Let’s go to the Mall” is something people say all the time when thinking of a typical mall-type structure with various floors, many shops, different restaurants and cafes, possibly some interesting installations and of course, just to walk around/ meet with friends or colleagues. Today, I am exploring Galleria Minsk.
Located on Niamiha station (and recently opened), the structure stands elegant in design and definitely looks like a modern mall. Lights everywhere, sometimes indirect (very nice). Pop music is playing at the entrance, the type that can make you strut towards the entrance rather than walk.
I look around the first floor and see my favorite trendy store: RESERVED, it is a Polish brand and very much my style. There are many stores here but I will mention the brands and services that stand out to me. Mac make-up, Nix professional make-up, and Calzedonia can be found on the ground floor. There is a lovely little cafe here as well called Beans and Leaves, they serve very well-toasted bagels and you can ask them to put whatever you want in it (off-the-menu).
Euroopt- The Everything Store
A long flat escalator leads down to Euroopt, a large (and very green) grocery store. Walking through this place always reminds me of the stuff I suddenly need. But this is the kind of place that would have everything, so usually if I couldn’t find something, I would come here. There is also a little cafeteria here, you can’t miss it because you can already smell freshly baked bread all the way from the other side of the room (smart marketing, Euroopt) you can find it by following your nose.
For those of you with pets, there is a little vet area downstairs as well.
Floors one, two and three: brands, brands and brands!
All of the floors are lined with shops from International to local brands, you just need to browse through whatever you need, I will mention some of my top brands that I visit: iStore, Samsung store, Sony Centre, Espresso World (yes, it smells like coffee), Cropp, Vans, Sneaker Bar (my absolute favorite shoe store), LC WAIKIKI, Gloria Jeans and TBOE (a Belarusian clothes line).
There are nail-bars on almost every level, so you can have lovely nails at the mall. I haven’t actually gotten around to doing that but definitely a fun experience to try with friends (I would like my nails to be mall-colored, please)
Floor four: Leonardo
Let me tell you about Leonardo, no not the actor, the store! It’s on the fourth level and is actually a hobby store. It supports almost any type of hobby you are interested in with supplies, tools, helpful books, materials and equipment. Walking in there made me want to take up soap-making, and then professional candle-making, but that definitely isn’t as important as making your own candy. Sewing, knitting, painting, drawing, make your own scents… You get the idea. This is one of my favorite places to pick out little crafty ideas to make on my own.
I noticed on the far end of the corner a little booth displaying colorful bottles of soaps, scrubs and shampoos. It looks intriguing and in fact, I was right. There are always little booths opening up with not-very-commercial products here. This one is called Dushka, Ukranian-made all natural products, but according to the saleswoman, it is only currently selling in Minsk. (I got myself some Kiwi-Jam scented body soap)
Floor five: Banana City
The kids area. Clothes, shoes, toys, and Banana City. It’s like a little toy city made just for kids to play around in. I watched a little boy throw himself into a pool of colorful plastic balls, get himself out, and throw himself in again for about 10 minutes. He loved that place. I have a baby brother so I think he would like it there too!
“The Museum of Experimental Knowledge” can be found on this floor, on that day there seemed to be a school trip, kids were rushing in excitedly, I can see through the display window very large furniture (made for giants) and lots of gadgets and unusual trinkets. It looks like a fun scientific journey for kids.
The last floor: Food!
I reach the last floor, the restaurant section, it’s always the most difficult part of my journey because I can never decide where to eat and end up leaving (in confusion). Here is a list of places you can find there: Kartoffel (also known as Baked Potato Paradise), Burger King, KFC, Salateira (a salad bar), WOK, Pasta Bar, Donner House, MAMA DOMA (Belarusian food) and Tashir Pizza.
All the Belarusians are eating, and chatting with each other. This is definitely the liveliest of places in the mall. A wide terrace sits empty on a balcony, overlooking the city. It is probably the place to be for an evening.
I can see “Alcreme” it is ice cream for people above 18 years old, because it is alcoholic. Very exciting but I definitely should not be drinking at 12 p.m. Walking on.
I can also see my ultimate favorite dessert place ever, Cinnabon, it was a very joyful day when it opened here in Minsk (mostly for me). I always order the same: the Cinnabon classic.
Other restaurants here include: Il Patio (Italian cuisine), Vasilki (homey Belarusian food), Pizza Tempo, and Marconi.
I ended up having my well-toasted bagel at Beans and Leaves. #Bagelsforlife.
A final word
You can find this center online in case you need to browse through brands I didn’t mention. Walking around this mall, expect to find a lot of young and trendy looking Belarusians of various shapes and sizes. They are very approachable as they wonder where you’re from.
About the Author
Darine (Dasha) Shehadeh is half Belarusian and half Lebanese, living and working in Beirut. She is an avid writer, who loves to travel and explore new things, and then write about them.