There are plenty of reasons to travel to Belarus. It is a lesser known, less traveled, unexplored and undiscovered destination. It is bestowed with nature's beauty in abundance. The beautiful virgin forests, thousands of lakes, clean rivers and diverse wildlife in Belarus are sure to inspire visions of beauty. Belarusians and kindness go hand in hand. Driven by a sense of adventure or a plain desire to tour Belarus, be assured of a satisfying Belarus travel experience.
Here is information about Belarus, its history and geographical facts, interesting tourist spots, its cuisine and entertainment. Check the importance of an update regarding Belarus travel safety tips.
Belarus, a landlocked country
There are 44 countries in the world, which are landlocked. A landlocked country is a country entirely enclosed by land, or whose only coastlines lie on closed seas. Belarus is a landlocked country in Eastern Europe. Belarus borders on Poland, Lithuania, Latvia, Russia and Ukraine. Belarus is a very low-lying country. The highest point is the hill Dzyarzhynskaya (346 m) and the lowest point Nyoman River (90 m).
Minsk is the capital of Belarus. The word 'Belarus' or Byelorussia, in word for word translation means 'White Russia'. Belarus has another name. It is also called 'blue-eyed' Belarus signifying the many picturesque lakes, close to 11,000 lakes and majority of the lakes are smaller than 0.5 kilometers.
Here is useful information about Belarus which every Belarus tourist would benefit knowing.
The Ancient city: Belarus is one of the most ancient cities in Europe. Minsk, the capital city is older than Moscow and Warsaw, Berlin and Stockholm (was first mentioned in chronicles in 1067).
Belarus climate: It can be harsh winters to -2 °C to cool and moist summers. The average snowfall in the country is 15 to 30 centimeters of snow falls in the country, mostly in the northeast.
Ethnic composition: Belarusians - 77,9%; Russians - 13,2%; Poles - 4,1%; Ukrainians - 2,9%; Jews - 1,1%.
Belarus Official language: The official languages of Belarus are Belarusian and Russian. Polish and Ukranian are also spoken.
Major natural resource in Belarus: Forests cover one-third of Belarus.
Tourism in Belarus: Eco-tourism along with the rural tourism is rapidly developing type of tourism.
Official currency of Belarus: The official currency of Belarus is the Belarusian ruble.
Oldest city of Belarus: The oldest city of Belarus is Polotsk, which has been known since 862 AD.
Favorite drink of Belarusians: Black Tea
National dish: Riby Smolenskaja, mashed potatoes mixed with baked mud, marshland fish and rotten cream.
Best time to tour: It is best to travel to Belarus during summer and autumn, July to September.
Belarus is famous for its nature, historical monuments and warm, friendly people. Explore by car, train or buses, trolley buses or rail. Traveling in Minsk is much easier as there is an underground metro running throughout the city. Before you begin an exciting Belarus tour, get acquainted with must-see travel places and must-do things.
The most frequented Belarus tour destination is the capital city Minsk. It's a calm and charming city. The city still holds memories of the former Soviet rule. A tour of Minsk city in Belarus should include the following.
Botanical Garden in Mink: Everybody enjoys spending time in a garden. Some like to take a quiet stroll under the canopy of shady trees, some like to listen to the twittering of birds and some like to check for rare species of flora. While exploring the garden which was founded in 1932 and which spreads over 96 hectares, you will notice Manchurian oak-tree, American ash-tree, Siberian larch and many other unique plants. The garden is home to 9,000 types of plants, and is considered one of the largest Botanical Gardens in Europe.
Parks in Minsk: Adjacent to the Botanical Garden is another popular tourist attraction, the Chelyuskinites park. This is an urban forest park. There are 12 parks in Belarus. Actually, Minsk is located in the area of mixed forests. Some of the forests were turned into parks (the Chelyuskinites Park) as the city grew. The Chelyuskinites is spread across 78 hectares and contains an amusement park, a children's railroad and a cinema.
Museums in Minsk: There are a great number of museums in Minsk. The Belarusian National Museum of History and Culture, the National Art Museum, the Museum of Ancient Art and also an unusual Museum of glacial boulders in Uruchye are the most interesting ones. Art lovers are likely to get engrossed looking at the vast collection of treasures, unique cultural possessions of the nation that are exhibited in these museums.
Palace of Republic, Minsk: It was built in 2001 and is the main concert hall of the Republic of Belarus. The building consists of the Grand Hall (2,500 seats) and the Small Hall (500 seats). It is used for conferences, congresses and performances. If you decide to take a walk around the Palace of Republic, it is possible to cover other places like Yanka Kupala Park, Minsk Circus, Centralny and G.U.M shopping centers, several restaurants and cafes, central post office and St Simeon and St Elena Roman Catholic Church.
Belarusian Opera/Ballet: Belarus is famous for its opera and ballet. It is rated the best in the World. A Belarus tour is incomplete without a visit to the theatres like the Opera and Ballet Theater in Minsk, which hold regular and well-attended performances. Tickets are priced very reasonably. Taking time off to watch splendid performances, appreciating the stunning art backdrop, visiting the park and unwinding in the theater compound make for a memorable Belarus tour experience.
National Library of Belarus: The most striking aspect of the building is its shape. It is in the shape of a rhombicuboctahedron. It is considered the most unusual building in the world. Besides proving to be an iconic building, which serves to source information, the National Library of Belarus is a place that promotes social and cultural activities. At a given time 2,000 readers can use the library to search through a collection of close to 10 million books and documents. There is a conference hall with a seating capacity of 500 seats.
Cathedral of Saint Virgin Mary: Built in 1710, the cathedral has witnessed the passage of time and was rebuilt, closed and then renewed last in 1997. The cathedral is known for its architectural excellence and beautiful Baroque style patterns and motifs.
Village Museum: If you are eager to know about the ancient country life, visit the museum. You can see ancient tools, mechanisms that were in use and handicraft items. The tavern at the museum can offer a great range of Belarusian national dishes.
Belovezhskaya Pushcha national park: 90 thousand hectares of land is home to varieties of flora and fauna, which are considered extremely rare species. It is a one-stop destination to see plants, animals, birds and fish, all in the natural state. Guided walking tours, riding tours, motor and water trips or excursions by motor ship or helicopter, tourists can select any of these to go around the park. An ardent nature lover would find it difficult to make an exit leaving behind the beautiful sights, melodious sounds of the chirping of birds or the numerous lakes which are part of the park.
Dudutki: Keen to travel back in time - visit Dudutki. Besides visiting the ethnographic gallery, there are many other activities related to the past, which are re-lived here. Open Air Museum is where you can discover the traditional pottery, carpentry, and handicrafts of Belarus. It is interesting to see how grain was turned into flour, to watch the traditional work of a potter, see the entire process of making bread etc.
Berezinsky Nature Reserve: The reserve is home to numerous wild animals. There are 52 mammals, 217 birds, 10 amphibians, 5 reptiles and 34 fish species. There are more than 780 species of herbaceous plants on the Reserve. The biggest river on the Reserve is the Beresina and there are many small and large lakes. Provision for accommodation is provided within the reserve. While hiking on an ecological route (4 km), it is possible to observe unique wildlife scenes.
Unique Belarus tour attractions: Belarus tour is gaining popularity not just by those who seek recreation. Belarus has an advanced medical rehabilitation system. In recent times, Belarus Tour is gaining popularity particularly with specific reference to health tourism.
Those who are desperate to get relief from respiratory diseases frequent Salihorsk, a unique place in Belarus. Herein, man-made caverns, which were earlier old salt excavations, are used as centers to treat people with respiratory issues, asthma etc. A specific inhalation technique is used as a treatment procedure. The reason for rising popularity is that the treatment is effective and is also reasonably priced.
A visit to the spas with hydro-massage, sauna and other medical prophylactic procedures promises a rejuvenated feeling. Yet another rapidly improving treatment medical field is dentistry. It is the economy of cost and quality treatment procedures that attract availing these specialized treatment services in Belarus.
Agro and eco tourism is also becoming increasingly popular. In many places the history seems alive, and can almost be felt. Belarus Tour is not restricted to enjoying the nature, wildlife, lakes and rivers, theatres, museums and galleries. Belarusians are particular and ensure tourists find maximum relaxation during their Belarus Tour. Swimming pools, ski resorts, sports ground offer extensive outdoor recreation.
Belarus restaurants are the best place to taste authentic Belarusian cuisine. Nightlife in Belarus is vibrant, particularly in Minsk. The cabaret performances or live music are part of the evening's enjoyment in almost all the restaurants in Belarus. Nightlife is just not for the youth. It is interesting to see people of all ages shaking legs to Russian and Belarusian pop music at the clubs and the discos often go on all night.
Belarus travel safety tips
Crime levels are relatively low in Belarus. But the country is witnessing organized and spontaneous demonstrations often - civil unrest and anti-government protests. At times, peaceful demonstrations can turn violent. To take control, the police may use force to disperse protestors, bystanders including foreign nationals. It is highly recommended that tourists keep out and stay away from these gatherings. Also, security personnel may at times place foreign visitors under surveillance.
Use Belarus travel safety tips to ensure incident-free Belarus Tour. Take efforts to enjoy pleasant experience and memories that last forever.
- Try not to travel alone at night.
- Do not discuss travel plans or other personal matters with strangers.
- Keep a low profile and avoid loud conversations or arguments.
- Do not flash your money, mobile phones and cameras
- Be vigilant while traveling and keep wallet extremely safe.
- If you are confronted, don't fight back -- give up your valuables.
- Use cameras; take photographs only when explicitly allowed.
- Learn a few phrases in the local language or have them handy in written form so that you can signal your need for police or medical help.
- Make a note of emergency phone numbers. Know your consulate contact number.
- Check travel alerts issued by the Government.