Geographically Belarus is located in the heart of Europe and shares borders with Poland in the west, Ukraine in the south, Russia in the east and north and the Baltic States in the north-west. Its central position allows one to visit Belarus regardless of the itinerary. On your way to Russia a visit to Belarus might be a good introduction to Eastern Europe, or you can make a short detour and catch a glimpse of the Slav world while in the Baltic States. Most visitors to Belarus would need a short-term tourist visa. Please, learn more about Belarus Visa rules in our Visa Support Section
Belarus is rich in rivers and lakes and can boast of unspoiled nature. There is a number of natural reserves with Berezinsky Biosphere Reserve or Belovezhskaya Puscha among the most prominent ones. A natural reserve can be an ideal escape from the noise and hustle of the cities offering stays at its motels and excursions or walks through picturesque countryside. The experience you will have from these walks is guaranteed to be one of a kind.
Belarusian and Russian are the State languages in Belarus and most people stick to the latter. Knowledge of the Cyrillic alphabet can prove useful since most highway and street plates and billboards are in Russian or Belarusian. Predominant religion is Christianity (Orthodox and Roman Catholic), but there are representatives of other religions. What is most important, people in Belarus are tolerant to visitors independent of their religion and nationality.
The most inviting factor that Belarus has to offer is the warmth of its welcome and the hospitality its people extend to its guests. Where else in the world can you see a greeting smile from everyone you meet in the street?
Each of six regional centers – Minsk, Brest, Grodno, Gomel, Mogilev and Vitebsk can be a ground from which the whole region can be explored.
- Minsk is a city with a thousand-year-long history. First mentioned in 11 century as a border town of Polotskoye Principality, Minsk today has become the capital of the Republic of Belarus, its economic and cultural center. For centuries Belarus has been an arena for wars and battles, and especially suffered form both World Wars. The WWII left 82 percent of Minsk flattened to the ground, but it was rebuilt from scratch. Today most of the visitors find it is surprisingly clean and calm.
- Brest is often referred to as the Western Gate to Belarus and many travelers coming through Poland enter it on their way to Minsk or Moscow. Since Belarus is known widely for its part in WWII more visitors are coming over to see memorials to the soldiers who fought with the Nazi occupants, Brest Fortress is one of them. The remains of the Fortress the defenders of which mounted heroic resistance to the Nazi troops in the first days of WWII now serve as an example of the courage and selflessness of the Soviet people.
- Grodno is a regional center that has survived the war more or less undamaged. Founded in the XI century, the city has still got an atmosphere of old times – the Old and New Castles, Borisoglebskaya and Nizhniaya Churches located on Zamkovaya Hill, a number of Roman Catholic Cathedrals will virtually bring you back to the 17th century. Mir Castle, a monument of medieval Belarusian architecture featured on UNESCO World Heritage List, can be found in the south of the region.
- Today Gomel is the second biggest city in the country, an industrial and transportation hub with well-developed infrastructure. The authorities are working on the renovation of the streets and historic building which among other benefits attracts tourists as well. Strolling along the streets of Gomel one will see a once magnificent palace and park complex of the Rumyantsev-Paskevich family, Peter and Paul’s Cathedral, Central Library (the work of Soviet Architecture) and some other buildings. Out-of-town sights include nature reserves and parks: Pripyatsky and Dneprosozhsky offering educational short tours and such activities as fishing and hunting.
- Vitebsk, the northern "cultural" capital of Belarus, is famous for hosting Slaviansky Bazaar – an international contest that is normally held in July. Vitebsk is a birthplace of many world-famous people, with Marc Chagall among them. Apart from Marc Chagall Museum, the Town Hall, St. Barbara Cathedral, the Palace of Governor other interesting sights can be seen in the city. Vitebsk Region is renowned for its beautiful clear lakes and old forests and has accommodation for farmstay-lovers as well as visitors fond of hunting.
- Mogilev region has a glorious history – its cities Mogilev, Krichev and Mstislavl date back to 12 century. The region, like the rest of Belarus has seen a lot of fierce battles – there are monuments near Lesnaya Village and Buynichskoye Field. The city itself was heavily destroyed, but a number of historic buildings remained.
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