Your comprehensive travel guide to Belarus - All in one place!
Belarus is famous for its unique cultural, architectural, and historical heritage. Many Belarusian towns and cities have preserved ancient temples, cloisters, palaces, castles, and parks that bring history alive. The oldest monuments include the Sophia Cathedral in Polotsk with unique frescos dating back to the 11th century, the Kolozha Church in Grodno (12th century), as well as castles in Nesvizh, Mir, and Krevo. Belarusian church buildings do not only reflect the nation's history but also show tolerance of the Belarusian people through a variety of religions that existed simultaneously in the territory of Belarus. Numerous World War 2 memorials including Brest Fortress, Khatyn Memorial, Mound of Glory, and Museum of the Great Patriotic War in Minsk hold a special place in the Belarusian historical legacy because they commemorate the heroic struggle of Belarusian people against the Nazi invasion.
Belarus, a generally flat country without natural borders, occupies an area of 207,600 square kilometers, or slightly smaller than the state of Kansas. Its neighbors are Russia to the east and northeast, Latvia to the north, Lithuania to the northwest, Poland to the west, and Ukraine to the south. Belarus's mostly level terrain is broken up by the Belarusian Range, a swath of elevated territory, composed of individual highlands, that runs diagonally through the country from west-southwest to east-northeast. Its highest point is the 346-meter Mount Dzyarzhynskaya, named for Feliks Dzerzhinskiy, head of Russia's security apparatus under Stalin. Northern Belarus has a picturesque, hilly landscape with many lakes and gently sloping ridges created by glacial debris. In the south, about one-third of the republic's territory around the Prypyats' River is taken up by the low-lying swampy plain of the Belarusian Woodland, or Palyessye.
Belarus’s rich and complex history has led to a unique and distinct culture that is neither wholly Polish, nor Russian. Theatre, language, dance and literature are developed art forms and make up an important part of the culture. Belarus has four World Heritage Sites, with two of them being shared between Belarus and its neighboring countries.
Government-sponsored annual cultural festivals such as Slavianski Bazaar in Vitebsk; Minsk Spring; Slavonic Theatrical Meetings; International Jazz Festival; National Harvesting Festival; Arts for Children and Youth; and the National Festival of the Belarusian Song and Poetry provide a platform for performers, musicians, poets and dancers.
Belarus, a Eurasian country bordered by Russia, Poland, Ukraine, Latvia, and Lithuania, has an estimated 2019 population of 9.45 million. This makes Belarus the 95th most populated country in the world. Minsk is the largest city in Belarus and is also its capital. The population of Minsk is 1.8 million people. Ethnic Belarusians constitute approximately 84% of the total population of Belarus. Russians are the next largest ethnic group at 8% of the population, followed by Poles (3%) and Ukrainians (1.5%). While Russian is the official and main language of the country, Belarusian is also widely spoken. Yiddish, Polish, and Ukrainian are also spoken.