Belarus is a European, Slavic country that lays directly west of Russia. This flat country, with its mild temperatures, is home to some of the world’s lushest forests, most notably the Bialowieza Forest, which was designated a UNESCO world heritage site in 2014. After history’s numerous threats against the land, Belarus has made great efforts to protect it. Much of the forest is currently protected under national park laws.
Due to former Soviet rule, most residents speak Russian to this day and identify with Russian culture. However, the millennial generation has been reviving Belarusian pride and the country’s percentage of Russian speakers has been declining. Art is significant in Belarusian culture. Traditionally, weaving and glassblowing have been respected, popular crafts in the country, but the most celebrated art form in the country is dance. The ballet houses of Belarus are revered venues frequented by residents and foreigners alike seeking a traditional, cultural experience.
- It is very common for Belarus to be referred to as ‘White Russia,’ because of the ‘Rus’ portion of its name.
- Belarus contains the Belovezhskaya Pushcha National Park, which is what is left of Europe’s primeval forest. It is classified as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
- The country is segmented into six regions, which are called voblasts. Each region has its own capital, from which its name is derived.
- Food is slow-cooked or stewed and it is common for the people of Belarus to eat a light breakfast and two other, larger meals.
- Belarus was established as a country in 1919, but was then called the Belorussian Soviet Socialist Republic (SSR). Later, in 1922, Belarus became one of four republics integrated into the USSR.
- Belarus depends on Russia for most of its energy. Unlike most former Soviet territories, Belarus continues close relations with Russia.
- Despite having an indigenous, lively language called Belarusian, three-quarters of the nation choose to speak Russian over their mother tongue.
- On Belarusian Independence Day, there is a large, austere military parade to acknowledge the lives lost and efforts that were required to achieve freedom.
- There is a curfew forbidding minors under the age of 16 to be outdoors after 11 p.m. without their parents.
- The capital city of Minsk has been demolished by invaders and reconstructed eight times in its history.