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Главная Пять причин посетить Беларусь (англ.)

FIVE REASONS TO VISIT BELARUS

1.                Architectural heritage

      The architectural heritage of Belarus is unique. Some of the oldest architectural monuments of Belarus date back to the 12th Century. Christianity and different art trends have played their part in shaping the architecture of Belarus, with fine examples of Roman and Gothic, Baroque and Classic, Modern and Eclectic styles to be found across the country. Here you can find Orthodox and Catholic churches and medieval castles side-by-side.

   The most popular monuments of architecture include:

  •  The Nesvizh Palace (16th century), a UNESCO World Heritage site;
  •  The Mir Castle (16th century), a UNESCO World Heritage site and an outstanding example of defensive architecture;
  •  The Saint Sofia Cathedral in Polotsk, (11th - 18th centuries), one of three Ancient Orthodox churches devoted to Saint Sofia. (The two others are located in Kiev, Ukraine and Novgorod, Russia); 
  • The Saint Euphrosyne Saviour Church in Polotsk, an example of Ancient Orthodox architecture (1152-1161). Unique ancient frescos are still visible on its walls and columns  The
  • Lida Castle (14th – 15th century); and,
  • The Simon and Elena Church (Red Church) in Minsk, a neo-Gothic construction with modernist features (1908-1910)

 
2.                Nature

Belarus has a very green landscape. Natural vegetation covers 93% of the land and a third of all green landscape is forest.

28 types of trees can be found in Belarusian forests. They include pine, spruce, birch, oak, aspen and poplar.  

There are more than 30 000 lakes and rivers in Belarus. The large Polesye marshland is to be found in the south of the country along the Pripyat River.

Several areas of Belarus which contain unique landscape, rare plants and animal species have been designated as National Parks and Reserves. 

The most well-known of these are:

  • The Belavezha Forest
    UNESCO has granted this National Park World Heritage Site status. Belavezha Forest is home to many ancient oak trees dating back more than 500 years, as well as venerable ash, pine and fir trees. There are also significant animal and bird populations here, including the world’s largest population of the European bison and the Greater Spotted Eagle;
  • Berezina Biosphere Reserve
    This Reserve forms part of UNESCO’s Biosphere Reserves World Network. It is made up of forests, bogs, reservoirs and meadows. More than half of the known species of Belarusian flora can be found here. The Berezina River which runs through the Reserve entered our and French history as the river on which Napoleon fought his last major battle on his retreat from Russia in November 1812; 
  • Narach National Park
    The park is a recreational zone, popular with anglers for its large, well-stocked lakes. It is also famous for its natural springs and has 18 health resorts;
  • Braslav Lakes National Park 
    This National Park is famous for its unusual landscapes and terrain which were formed by an ancient glacier. It contains about 300 lakes of various sizes, forms, depth, composition, water transparency, flora and fauna, which are known as “the blue necklace” of Belarus; and, 
  • Pripyat National Park
    Sometimes referred to as the “Belarusian Amazon”, this National Park functions as “lungs” for Europe and is a magnificent example of untouched nature and a paradise for wildlife photographers. The Park’s renowned Nature Museum vividly demonstrates landscapes of the Belarusian Polesye with its inhabitants at different times of the year. The museum has amassed rich collections of large hoofed animals, insects, reptiles and amphibians, and has a herbarium of rare Belarusian plants

Options for visitors to experience Belarusian nature at first hand include agro-tourism and hunting. 

Agro-tourism  
Today Belarus has over 2,000 farm estates which are available for tourist stays with accommodation provided by private owners. Most of these are located in picturesque localities, near National Parks. They usually reflect Belarusian traditions of the countryside life-style, but some are built in a modern eco-style idiom.

Hunting 
For the hunter-visitor, Belarus provides special areas for regulated hunting. The hunting of wild  boar, deer, elk, wolf, duck, goose, grouse and other forms of game, is possible.  There is also carefully regulated hunting for the European bison, the population of which has increased in recent years. 

 

3.                Military history

   Belarusian statehood goes back centuries to the early medieval Slavonic principalities of Polotsk and Turov which date from the 9th — 10th centuries. In the Middle Age today’s Belarus was known as the Grand Duchy of Lithuania. Its official language was Old Belarusian. In the 14th — 15th centuries the Grand Duchy of Lithuania became one of the largest States in Europe and was an important political player in the region.

  The name Belarus (formerly Byelorussia or White Russia) is comparatively recent. It came into common parlance after Belarusian territories were annexed by Tsarist Russia by the end of the 18th century.

  Belarus has endured many wars. One of the most devastating was the Second World War, which we know as The Great Patriotic War, when our country suffered the dreadful loss of a quarter of its population. There are many places across the country commemorating those who died in this war.

   The most well-known are:

  • The Great Patriotic War Museum of Belarus in Minsk which is the largest depository of historical documents and relics of 1941-1945 in Belarus;
  • The Khatyn Memorial, a poignant symbol of the tragedy of Belarusian people during the last war, which is to be found at the site of a small village 60 km from Minsk. The village of Khatyn was burnt down together with its inhabitants and was never restored. The memorial honours those who died in Khatyn and those who perished in the more than 400 other villages in Belarus which suffered the same appalling fate;
  • The “Brest Fortress” Memorial which is located 350 km from Minsk. The memorial was erected to commemorate the heroism of the fortress defenders who, in June-July 1941 in spite of the enemy’s advantage of surprise and overwhelming force at the start of “Operation Barbarossa”, held out for a month against all odds; and,  
  • The Obelisk on Victory Square in Minsk with its Eternal Flame honouring the sacrifices of war. 

4.                Arts and Culture

    Belarus has much to offer to those who are interested in culture and the arts. In Minsk itself highly recommended attractions include:

  • The National Art Museum 
    This Museum contains the largest and richest collection in Belarus of paintings, icons and works of decorative and applied arts; 
  • The National Opera and Ballet Theatre
    The National Bolshoi Opera and Ballet Theatre is famous for its talented performers and it is also an architectural landmark of Minsk.
    Outside the capital there are several places well worth a visit. These include:  
  • Marc Chagall Museum
    Marc Chagall, the world-famous artist, was born in Vitebsk, 250km from Minsk. The Museum which bears his name pays tribute to the genius of the city’s famous native son. The theme of his native city runs through all his paintings. Chagall along with other artists of renown was a founder of the world famous School of Paris;
  • Polotsk 
    Located 240km from Minsk, the city of Polotsk is known as the birthplace of Belarusian statehood and the Belarusian nation. The city is renowned for its old churches and monasteries. Organ music concerts are held in St. Sophia Cathedral. 
  • Vitebsk 
    The city of Vitebsk, 300 km from Minsk, comes alive in July each year with the Slavonic Bazaar in, the most popular song festival in Belarus. Performers from all over the world participate in this festival.   

5.               Belarusian national cuisine

   No visit to Belarus would be complete without sampling Belarusian cuisine. Belarus is an important agricultural producer known for the quality and naturalness of its food. Wholesomeness, authenticity and integrity are features of our national cuisine as it has evolved over the centuries.  

Belarusian cuisine today is based predominantly on meats (pork, poultry, veal, beef etc.) and various local vegetables typical of each of the regions in which they are grown.  Many national dishes require various kinds of flour made of rye, wheat, oats, buckwheat, peas and their combinations.  

Traditional Belarusian “black” bread baked from rye flour is regarded as one of the prides of our national cuisine.

Potatoes are a staple of our national cuisine, and this is reflected in the large number of potato dishes – more than 300! – which are known in Belarus.  

Belarusian cuisine makes extensive use of mushrooms and berries, local spices and dressings.  

To whet the appetites of our visitors, we offer many memorable dishes. Some of the tastiest are:

  •   Soups:

poliuka (thin soup made of cereals and mushrooms)

salyanka (based on broth. Pickles, olives, are the main components of any salyanka. There are meat and mushrooms salyankas)

haladnik (cold soup based on kefir with beetroot or dock broth, fresh cucumber, onion and dill, chopped boiled egg, sour cream) etc.

  •      Main courses:

draniki (fried pancakes made of grated potatoes)

machanka (meat and flour sauce with herbs, ribs and sausages served with pancakes)

kupaty (grilled sausage)

babka (baked grated potatoes)

bliny (pancakes) etc.

 

European and Asian cuisine is also to be found in Belarusian cafes and restaurants.

 

SOUVENIRS

As a memento of your visit, you will find unique Belarusian crafts, linen, foodstuffs and beverages. These include:

-          dolls made of straw and of linen fibre;

-          small wooden boxes inlayed with straw;

-          ceramics;

-          table linen and bedspreads;

-          many varieties of rye bread;

-          Belovezhskaya vodka; and,

-          many other beautiful and tasty souvenirs!

 

 

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