Belarus

Brief information

General Information

Official Name: The Republic of Belarus
Short Name: BY
Continent: Europe

Codes

Calling Code: +375
ISO3: BLR
Capital City: Minsk
Domain: .by

Statistics

Area(Sqre/KM): 202910 SqKM
Population: About 9449323 as of 2024
Population Density: 46.57
Population By Religion:

Politics

Nationality: Belarusians

Travel

Currency: Ruble
Latitude: 53.709807
Longitude: 27.953389

Language

Lanugages: Belarusian (official) 23.4%, Russian (official) 70.2%, other 3.1% (includes small Polish- and Ukrainian-speaking minorities), unspecified 3.3% (2009 est.)

Intesting facts

Here are some interesting facts about Belarus:

  1. Belarus is known as the "Lungs of Europe" because of its vast forests that cover over 40% of the country's territory.

  2. Belarus has the largest number of World War II monuments per capita in the world.

  3. The Belarusian language is one of the oldest living languages in Europe, with roots dating back to the 9th century.

  4. The famous composer and pianist Frédéric Chopin had strong ties to Belarus, as his father was born in the country.

  5. The world's largest dump truck, the BelAZ 75710, is made in Belarus and is used in mining operations around the world.

  6. Belarus has one of the highest literacy rates in the world, with over 99% of the population being able to read and write.

  7. The national symbol of Belarus is a bison, which is featured on the country's coat of arms.

  8. Belarus is the only country in Europe that still has the death penalty.

  9. The Belovezhskaya Pushcha National Park, located on the border between Belarus and Poland, is one of the last remaining primeval forests in Europe and is a UNESCO World Heritage site.

  10. Belarus is the only country in Europe that still uses the Cyrillic alphabet as its official script.

About Belarus

Belarus, officially known as the Republic of Belarus, is a landlocked country located in Eastern Europe. It is bordered by Russia to the east and northeast, Ukraine to the south, Poland to the west, and Lithuania and Latvia to the northwest. The capital and largest city is Minsk. Belarus has a total land area of approximately 207,600 square kilometers, making it the 83rd largest country in the world. The population of Belarus is estimated to be around 9.3 million people, with Belarusians being the largest ethnic group. Belarus gained independence from the Soviet Union in 1991 and has since become a presidential republic with a centralized government.

Cities:

Some of the top cities in Belarus are:

  1. Minsk - the capital city of Belarus and the largest city in the country with a population of over 2 million people.
  2. Hrodna - a historic city located in western Belarus, known for its beautiful old town, numerous castles and museums.
  3. Brest - a city located in southwestern Belarus, known for its Brest Fortress, a World War II monument and museum.
  4. Vitebsk - a city located in northeastern Belarus, known for its charming old town and famous resident, the artist Marc Chagall.
  5. Mahilyow - a city located in central Belarus, known for its industrial heritage and as a center of Belarusian folk culture.
  6. Pinsk - a city located in southwestern Belarus, known for its historic center and natural attractions such as the Pripyatski National Park.
  7. Navapolatsk - a city located in northern Belarus, known for its chemical industry and as a cultural center with numerous theaters and museums.
  8. Orsha - a city located in central Belarus, known for its rich history and as a center of Belarusian literature.
  9. Salihorsk - a city located in southeastern Belarus, known for its potash mining industry and as a gateway to the Belarusian part of the Dnieper Upland.
  10. Lida - a city located in western Belarus, known for its Lida Castle, one of the best-preserved castles in Belarus.

 

History:

Belarus has a long and complex history, with many different peoples and empires vying for control of the region over the centuries. The earliest known human settlement in Belarus dates back to around 10,000 BCE, and the area has been inhabited by a variety of tribes and ethnic groups throughout its history.

In the Middle Ages, Belarus was part of the Kievan Rus, a powerful federation of East Slavic tribes. The region was then conquered by the Mongols in the 13th century, and later became part of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania, which was one of the largest and most powerful states in Europe in the 15th and 16th centuries.

During the 18th century, Belarus was annexed by the Russian Empire and remained part of Russia until the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991. During this time, Belarus experienced significant political and cultural repression, and was subjected to forced Russification, which aimed to suppress the Belarusian language and culture.

Following the collapse of the Soviet Union, Belarus gained independence and became a sovereign state. However, the country has been criticized for its authoritarian political system and lack of democratic freedoms.

 

Geography:

Belarus is a landlocked country located in Eastern Europe. It is bordered by Russia to the east and northeast, Ukraine to the south, Poland to the west, and Lithuania and Latvia to the northwest. The total area of Belarus is approximately 207,600 square kilometers, making it the 86th largest country in the world. The landscape of Belarus is mostly flat, with low-lying hills and large areas of marshland and forests. The country has over 11,000 lakes, the largest of which is Lake Naroch. The major rivers that flow through Belarus are the Dnieper, the Neman, and the Pripyat. The climate of Belarus is continental, with cold winters and mild summers.

 

Environment and Weather:

Belarus has a temperate continental climate, characterized by cold winters and warm summers. The climate is influenced by the country's location in the interior of the European continent, away from the moderating effects of the ocean. The average temperature in January, the coldest month, is around -6°C (21°F), while the average temperature in July, the warmest month, is around 18°C (64°F). The country also experiences a fair amount of precipitation throughout the year, with the wettest months being June and July.

In terms of the environment, Belarus has a rich biodiversity with a variety of animal and plant species. However, like many countries, it is also facing environmental challenges such as air and water pollution, deforestation, and soil degradation. The Chernobyl nuclear disaster, which occurred in neighboring Ukraine in 1986, also had a significant impact on the environment in Belarus, particularly in the areas around the nuclear power plant. Despite these challenges, the Belarusian government has made efforts to promote environmental sustainability and protect the country's natural resources.

 

Population:

As of 2021, the population of Belarus is estimated to be around 9.3 million people. The population is predominantly ethnic Belarusians (83.7%), with significant minorities of Russians (8.3%), Poles (3.1%), and Ukrainians (1.7%). The official languages are Belarusian and Russian, with the former being the primary language in rural areas and the latter in urban areas. The population is relatively homogenous, with few religious or cultural tensions. The population growth rate has been declining in recent years due to low birth rates and high emigration rates.

 

Art and Culture:

Belarus has a rich cultural heritage that dates back to ancient times. The country has been influenced by the cultures of its neighboring countries, such as Russia, Poland, and Ukraine. Belarusian culture is diverse, with many art forms including music, dance, literature, theater, and film.

One of the most distinctive elements of Belarusian culture is its traditional folk music, which features unique vocal harmonies and instrumental compositions. The country also has a long tradition of classical music, with many renowned composers and performers. Belarusian theater and cinema are also well-developed, with many acclaimed productions and films.

Belarusian cuisine is known for its hearty and filling dishes, such as draniki (potato pancakes), machanka (pork stew), and kolduny (meat dumplings). The country is also famous for its dairy products, including various types of cheese and sour cream.

Festivals and holidays are an important part of Belarusian culture. One of the most famous is Kupala Night, a pagan festival celebrated on the summer solstice. Other popular events include the Minsk International Film Festival, the Minsk Music Festival, and the Vitebsk Arts Festival.

 

Education:

Belarus has a well-developed education system, with a literacy rate of 99.8%. Education is compulsory for children aged 6 to 16, and the system is divided into primary, secondary, and higher education.

Primary education lasts for four years, while secondary education is divided into two stages. The first stage lasts for five years, and the second stage lasts for two years. After secondary education, students have the option to continue their education at a higher education institution.

Belarus has a number of universities, including Belarusian State University, which was founded in 1921 and is the oldest and largest university in the country. Other notable universities include Belarusian State Technological University, Belarusian State Medical University, and Belarusian State University of Informatics and Radioelectronics.

The government of Belarus places a high priority on education and invests heavily in it. Education is free for all citizens, and there are a number of programs in place to support students who wish to study abroad. As a result, Belarus has a high level of educational attainment, with a large percentage of the population holding university degrees.

 

Business and Economy:

Belarus has a mixed economy, with both state ownership and private enterprise. The country's main industries include manufacturing (particularly in the areas of heavy machinery and chemicals), agriculture, and energy production. Belarus is also known for its IT sector, which has grown rapidly in recent years.

The government has implemented a number of economic reforms to encourage foreign investment, including the creation of special economic zones with tax breaks and streamlined regulatory procedures. Belarus has also been a member of the World Trade Organization since 2020, which has helped to open up new opportunities for trade and investment.

Despite these efforts, Belarus continues to face economic challenges, including high levels of debt and a reliance on Russia for energy imports. The country has also struggled with inflation and currency devaluation in recent years. However, the government has implemented a number of measures to stabilize the economy, such as introducing a floating exchange rate and increasing access to foreign currency.

 

Agriculture:

Agriculture is an important sector in Belarus, accounting for about 8% of its GDP and employing around 9% of the country's workforce. The country has a relatively large amount of agricultural land, with about 44% of its territory being used for farming. Belarus is known for its production of potatoes, grain, sugar beets, and flax.

The government plays a significant role in the country's agricultural sector, with many of the country's farms being state-owned. The government has implemented various policies to support the sector, including subsidies and favorable tax policies for farmers.

In recent years, Belarus has also been investing in agricultural technology and research, with a focus on developing new and more efficient farming methods. The country has established several research institutes dedicated to agriculture, and has also partnered with other countries to share expertise and knowledge in this field.

Belarus is also known for its forestry industry, with about 40% of the country's territory being covered by forests. The country has a long history of forestry, and timber and wood products are important exports for the country.

 

Foods and Fruits:

Belarus has a rich culinary heritage with a variety of traditional dishes that are still popular today. Some of the most famous foods in Belarus include:

  1. Draniki - also known as potato pancakes, this dish is made from grated potatoes and onions mixed with eggs, flour, and salt. The mixture is then fried in oil until crispy and served with sour cream or applesauce.

  2. Kholodnik - a cold soup made from beets, cucumbers, and sour cream. It is usually served during the summer months when temperatures are high.

  3. Machanka - a hearty stew made from pork and served with potato pancakes or boiled potatoes.

  4. Zrazy - meat patties filled with mushrooms, onions, and cheese. They are usually served with a side of mashed potatoes.

  5. Krambambula - a traditional Belarusian drink made from honey, spices, and vodka. It is typically served warm during the winter months.

In terms of fruits, Belarus has a variety of berries that are popular during the summer months, including strawberries, raspberries, and blueberries. Apples and pears are also grown in Belarus and are widely available throughout the country.

 

Health:

Belarus has a universal healthcare system, which provides free medical care to all its citizens. The healthcare system is run by the government and is funded by taxes.

Belarus has a high standard of healthcare, with a large number of doctors and medical facilities per capita. The country has a high life expectancy rate, and the infant mortality rate is low.

In recent years, Belarus has focused on improving its healthcare system further. The government has invested in modern medical equipment and technology, and has implemented new healthcare policies to improve the quality of care. Additionally, Belarus has a strong pharmaceutical industry, which produces a range of medicines and vaccines for both domestic and international markets.

 

Natural Resources:

Belarus has various natural resources that contribute to its economy. Some of the significant natural resources of Belarus are:

  1. Timber: Belarus is rich in forests and has abundant supplies of timber. The country is known for producing high-quality wood, which is used for construction, furniture, and paper products.

  2. Peat: Belarus is one of the largest producers of peat in the world. The country has large peat reserves, which are used for fuel, horticulture, and soil improvement.

  3. Potash: Belarus is one of the world's largest producers of potash, a mineral that is used for fertilizer production. The country's potash reserves are located in the Brest and Vitebsk regions.

  4. Oil and gas: Belarus has some oil and gas reserves, but they are not sufficient to meet the country's needs. The country imports most of its oil and gas from Russia.

  5. Arable land: Belarus has fertile soil and a favorable climate, which makes it an excellent place for agriculture. The country's main agricultural products include potatoes, wheat, barley, rye, and sugar beets.

  6. Water resources: Belarus has numerous rivers and lakes, which provide a significant amount of freshwater for the country. The country's major rivers are the Dnieper, Western Dvina, and Pripyat.

  7. Minerals: Belarus has deposits of various minerals, including limestone, clay, sand, and gravel. These minerals are used for construction, ceramics, glass production, and other industries.

 

Forest and Biodiversity:

Belarus has significant forest cover, which accounts for around 40% of the country's land area. The forests of Belarus are home to a variety of wildlife, including wolves, bears, lynx, bison, deer, and numerous bird species. The Belovezhskaya Pushcha National Park, located in the southwest corner of the country, is one of the last remaining areas of primeval forest in Europe and is a UNESCO World Heritage site.

The country also has several other protected areas, including national parks, nature reserves, and wildlife sanctuaries. These areas provide important habitats for many plant and animal species and are popular destinations for eco-tourism and outdoor recreation.

Despite its relatively small size, Belarus has a diverse range of ecosystems, including deciduous and coniferous forests, wetlands, lakes, and rivers. The Pripyat River, which runs through the country, is one of the longest rivers in Europe and is an important waterway for shipping and transportation.

 

Mountains and Hills:

Belarus is a relatively flat country, and it does not have any mountains. However, there are a few hills and high points scattered throughout the country. The highest point in Belarus is Dzyarzhynskaya Hara, also known as Mount Dzyarzhynskaya. It is located in the Minsk region and stands at 345 meters (1,132 feet) above sea level. Other notable high points in Belarus include the Lelchytsy Hills, the Vysokaye Hills, and the Valozhyn Heights. These hills and high points are popular among hikers and nature enthusiasts, as they offer scenic views of the surrounding countryside.

 

Rivers and Sea:

Belarus is a landlocked country in Eastern Europe, and therefore it does not have direct access to any sea or ocean. The country is home to many rivers, including the Dnieper, the largest river in Belarus, which flows through the southern part of the country. The Neman River is another major river that flows through western Belarus, while the Pripyat River runs through the southeastern part of the country. Additionally, Belarus is also home to several lakes, the largest of which is Lake Naroch in the northwest. Other major lakes in Belarus include Lake Braslav, Lake Osveya, and Lake Chervonoye. Although Belarus does not have any access to the sea, it has developed a significant water transportation system to take advantage of its extensive river network.

 

Hospitality and Tourism:

Belarus has been increasingly focusing on developing its tourism industry in recent years. The country offers a wide range of attractions for tourists, including historical sites, beautiful natural landscapes, and a unique culture.

Some of the top tourist destinations in Belarus include:

  1. Minsk: The capital city of Belarus is a modern and vibrant city with plenty of museums, art galleries, parks, and shopping areas.

  2. Brest Fortress: This historical site is a symbol of the Soviet resistance during World War II and is now a popular tourist attraction.

  3. Mir Castle: A UNESCO World Heritage site, Mir Castle is a beautiful medieval castle located in the town of Mir.

  4. Belovezhskaya Pushcha National Park: This forest reserve is one of the oldest in Europe and is home to a wide variety of wildlife, including bison, wolves, and lynx.

  5. Nesvizh Castle: Another UNESCO World Heritage site, Nesvizh Castle is a stunning example of Renaissance architecture and is surrounded by beautiful gardens.

In addition to these destinations, Belarus also has many other attractions, such as beautiful lakes, national parks, and historic towns. The country is also known for its excellent food and hospitality, with many hotels and restaurants catering to international tourists.

 

Top Destinations:

Belarus offers a variety of destinations that attract tourists from all over the world. Here are some of the top destinations in Belarus:

  1. Minsk: The capital city of Belarus offers a unique blend of modern and Soviet-era architecture, along with cultural attractions such as museums, theaters, and art galleries.

  2. Brest Fortress: Located in the city of Brest, the fortress is a symbol of heroism and resistance during World War II.

  3. Nesvizh Palace: This stunning palace is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is known for its beautiful gardens, exquisite architecture, and rich history.

  4. Mir Castle: Another UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Mir Castle is a well-preserved medieval fortress that dates back to the 16th century.

  5. Belovezhskaya Pushcha National Park: This national park is home to Europe's last primeval forest and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

  6. Braslav Lakes National Park: Located in the north of Belarus, this national park boasts over 300 lakes and is known for its stunning scenery.

  7. Polotsk: One of the oldest cities in Belarus, Polotsk is home to many historic landmarks, including the St. Sophia Cathedral.

  8. Grodno: This city is known for its beautiful Old Town, historic churches, and the 12th-century Grodno Castle.

  9. Vitebsk: The birthplace of Marc Chagall, Vitebsk is a cultural hub of Belarus and is home to many museums and galleries.

 

Top Universities:

Belarus has a number of reputable universities, many of which offer programs in a variety of fields. Here are some of the top universities in Belarus:

  1. Belarusian State University (BSU) - Founded in 1921, BSU is the oldest and largest university in Belarus. It is located in the capital city of Minsk and offers programs in a wide range of fields, including natural sciences, social sciences, humanities, and medicine.

  2. Belarusian National Technical University (BNTU) - Established in 1920, BNTU is one of the oldest and most prestigious technical universities in Belarus. It is located in Minsk and offers programs in engineering, architecture, and management.

  3. Belarusian State Medical University (BSMU) - Founded in 1930, BSMU is the oldest medical university in Belarus. It is located in Minsk and offers programs in medicine, dentistry, and pharmacy.

  4. Belarusian State University of Informatics and Radioelectronics (BSUIR) - Founded in 1962, BSUIR is a leading university in the field of information technology and electronics. It is located in Minsk and offers programs in computer science, information technology, and radio engineering.

  5. Francisk Skorina Gomel State University - Founded in 1929, Gomel State University is located in the city of Gomel and is one of the leading universities in southern Belarus. It offers programs in a variety of fields, including natural sciences, social sciences, and humanities.

  6. Yanka Kupala State University of Grodno - Established in 1940, Grodno State University is located in the city of Grodno and is one of the leading universities in western Belarus. It offers programs in a variety of fields, including natural sciences, social sciences, and humanities.

  7. Belarusian State Academy of Arts (BSAA) - Founded in 1945, BSAA is located in Minsk and is the leading art academy in Belarus. It offers programs in fine arts, design, and architecture.

 

National Days:

Belarus celebrates a number of national days throughout the year, including:

  1. Independence Day (July 3rd) - marks the country's declaration of independence from the Soviet Union in 1944.

  2. Victory Day (May 9th) - commemorates the victory of the Soviet Union over Nazi Germany in World War II.

  3. Unity Day (April 2nd) - marks the anniversary of the signing of the treaty that established the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) in 1991.

  4. Constitution Day (March 15th) - celebrates the adoption of the country's current constitution in 1994.

  5. Independence Day of the Republic of Belarus (July 27th) - marks the anniversary of the country's independence from the Soviet Union in 1990.

  6. Christmas (January 7th) - celebrated by the Orthodox Christian community in Belarus.

  7. International Women's Day (March 8th) - a day to celebrate the social, economic, cultural, and political achievements of women.

 

Popular Leaders:

Belarus, officially known as the Republic of Belarus, is a presidential republic located in Eastern Europe. Since gaining independence from the Soviet Union in 1991, it has had two leaders, Alexander Lukashenko and Svetlana Tikhanovskaya, both of whom have gained international attention for their leadership and policies.

Alexander Lukashenko has been the President of Belarus since 1994, making him one of the longest-serving leaders in Europe. His leadership has been controversial, with many critics accusing him of suppressing opposition and free speech, as well as rigging elections.

In 2020, following a disputed presidential election, Svetlana Tikhanovskaya emerged as a prominent opposition figure. Despite fleeing to Lithuania for her safety, she continues to lead the opposition movement against Lukashenko's government, calling for free and fair elections and an end to human rights abuses.

 

Scientists:

Belarus has produced several notable scientists and inventors throughout its history. Here are some of them:

  1. Vladimir Zworykin: Born in Murom, Russia (now part of Belarus), Zworykin is known as the "father of television" for his pioneering work in the development of television technology. He also made significant contributions to the field of electron microscopy.

  2. Yakov Frenkel: Born in Ruzhany, Belarus, Frenkel was a physicist who made important contributions to the fields of solid-state physics, crystallography, and statistical mechanics.

  3. Moisey Ostrogorsky: Born in the town of Hrodna, Ostrogorsky was a historian who specialized in medieval Europe. He is known for his influential work, "Geschichte der Byzantinischen Staats," which is still considered a classic in the field.

  4. Vladimir Pashkevich: Born in Minsk, Pashkevich was a chemist who made significant contributions to the field of organic chemistry. He is known for his work on the synthesis of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons.

  5. Iosif Vitebskiy: Born in the town of Vitebsk, Vitebskiy was a mathematician who made important contributions to the theory of differential equations. He also made significant contributions to the field of numerical analysis.

 

Writers and Poets:

Belarus has a rich literary tradition, with several notable writers and poets who have contributed significantly to Belarusian literature. Here are some of them:

  1. Yakub Kolas: He is considered one of the founding fathers of modern Belarusian literature. His works, which include poetry, prose, and plays, often dealt with themes of patriotism and national identity.

  2. Maxim Bogdanovich: He was a prominent poet and writer who is known for his romantic and lyrical works. His most famous poem is "Moya Belarus" ("My Belarus"), which is considered a national symbol.

  3. Vasil BykaĆ­: He is widely regarded as one of Belarus' greatest writers of the 20th century. His works often dealt with the theme of human suffering under totalitarian regimes.

  4. Svetlana Alexievich: She is a Belarusian investigative journalist, essayist, and non-fiction author who won the Nobel Prize in Literature in 2015. Her works often focus on social issues and the experiences of individuals living in the former Soviet Union.

  5. Uladzimir Karatkevich: He was a popular writer of detective and adventure novels, many of which were set in Belarus. His best-known work is "The Inspector General's Daughter."

  6. Ryhor Baradulin: He was a poet and translator who wrote in both Belarusian and Russian. His works often dealt with themes of nature, love, and spirituality.