Country Info Belarus

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Belarus or, as it is called officially, the Republic of Belarus, is a post-Soviet country in Eastern Europe with the capital in Minsk. The country borders Russia, Ukraine, Poland, Latvia and Lithuania. Belarus is the biggest country in Europe that does not have access to any seas. Belarus has a population of 9.49 million people and 70% of the population reside in urban areas.

Most of the population speaks two languages – Belarusian and Russian. Younger people who have been exposes to the Western culture may also speak English and other languages, such as German and French.

Climate

The climate in Belarus is greatly affected by the air flow from the Atlantic ocean. The average temperature in the summer is around 19C. Most of the precipitation falls out in the winter as snow, summers are usually dry and are the best time to visit the country.

Cuisine

When it come to Belarusian cuisine, you can’t really say that it has radical differences from culinary practices common to the neighboring Russia and Ukraine. Traditional Belarusian dishes consist mostly of vegetables, breads and meat. Just like in Ukraine, pork is the meat of choice for most people. Rye bread is much more common than wheat due to fact that harsh conditions make it harder to grow wheat.

Although there are plenty of restaurants and small bistros available in any large city, don’t expect to see a menu in English as the restaurants are mostly tailored to catering to the local population. Larger restaurants usually have staff members who speak English, but if you are visiting a small town, you may wish to hire a translator or tour guide who can provide translation services to you.

Dating

Just like most post-Soviet countries, Belarus has more females than males. Women in Belarus have a literacy rate of 99.5%, most of them achieving higher education, as it was customary in the Soviet Union.

Belarus women are just as beautiful as their Russian and Ukrainian counterparts. The majority of Slavic women are family oriented and most girls get married before they turn 25.

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Entertainment

Everyone can find something to their liking in Belarus, no matter their interests. All large cities, such as Minsk or Gomel, have an active nightlife with a large selection of restaurants and night clubs. Most of the restaurants are open till midnight, while pubs and night clubs are open all night long.

Belarus is also great for skiing. The country is covered in snow 4 months a year and cross country skiing can be done virtually anywhere. Some of the skiing resorts also offer the option of mountain skiing.

Nature lovers will find that the country is great for hiking, being covered in forests and having many wild life reserves.

Nature

Belarus is well known for its national parks. Belovezhskaya Pushcha, an ancient woodland is the largest remaining part of the primeval forest that used to cover the European plain. The forest is a UNIESCO world heritage site and is home to a population of 800 wisent, also known as a European bison.

Wisents were over-hunted during the middle ages and their population was close to extinction. At some point, wisents could only be found in private reserves, the wild population being utterly wiped out. Since then, conservationalists have re-introduced species into the wild and the population of wisents is slowly being rebuilt.

A visit to Belovezhskaya Pushcha may be interesting for those who want to experience the aura of an ancient forest. The site that is open for public also features a small museum, snack bar, restaurant and a small hotel.

Religion

Most of the Belarusians are Orthodox, however there are small communities that practice Catholicism, Protestantism, Judaism and Islam. The state and the church are separate and religious affairs do not interfere with the state. Belarusians are very tolerant to those who practice other doctrines and the country is safe to visit regardless of your religion.

Official State Holidays

The following is the official list of public holidays in Belarus. Note that most of the government agencies, museums and places of interest are closed on these days, you may need to adjust your plans accordingly.

  • 1 January – The New Years Eve
  • 7 January – Orthodox Christmas
  • 8 March – International Woman’s Day
  • 15 March – Constitution Day
  • 1 May – Labor Day
  • 9 May – Victory Day
  • 14 May – Radonitsa
  • 3 July – Independence Day
  • 2 November – Dziady
  • 7 November – Anniversary of The October Revolution
  • 25 December – Catholic Christmas

2 Responses to Country Info Belarus

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