Belarus - Беларусь

Belarus is my homeland. It is the place where I was born. Officially it is called the Republic of Belarus, a sovereign independent state with its own government, constitution, state emblem, flag and anthem. Belarus is a member-state of the CIS (Commonwealth of Independent States) and one of the UN (United Nations) founder-members.

Belarus is situated nearly in the centre of Europe in the extreme western part of the East-European Plain within the basins of the Dnieper, the Western Dvina and the Upper Neman. It borders on Poland in the west, the Baltic States — Lithuania and Latvia — in the north-west, on Russia in the north and east, on the Ukraine in the south.

Belarus stretches for 560 kilometres from south to north and for 650 kilometres from east to west. It occupies the territory of 207.6 thousand square kilometres. It is much larger than such countries as Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Greece, Hungary, Portugal, Czechia and Slovakia. Its present-day population is about 10.3 mln people: 78% of Belarusians, 12% of Russians, 4% of Poles and 2% of Ukrainians. 68% of the population live in towns and cities. The largest of which are Minsk, Gomel, Vitebsk, Mogilev, Grodno and Brest.

Belarus is situated on a rolling plain rising to hills, the highest of which is Mt.Dzerzhinskaya reaching 350 metres above sea level.

There are more than 3,000 rivers in Belarus. Seven of them are more than 500 kilometres long each. They are the Dnieper, Neman, Western Dvina, Prypiat, Berezina, Sozh and Vilia.

Belarus is a lake-country. There are about 10,800 lakes here. The lakes are particularly numerous in the north. The largest is Lake Naroch— 80 square kilometres. The lakes are noted for their great depth, transparent water and beautiful scenery.

A third of Belarus is under forest. The largest forests are called pushchas. The Byelovezhskaya Pushcha is famous for its aurochs (European bisons). Fauna is rich and diverse there: one can see elks and deer, wild boars and wolves, bears and foxes, beavers and lynxes, not mentioning myriads of birds.

Forests, pine woods, mighty oak groves, birch groves and all sorts of other mixed forest formations are the charm, wealth and pride of our homeland.

Belarus is situated in the Temperate Zone of 200—500 kilometres away from the Baltic Sea. The climate of Belarus varies from maritime to continental due, to a strong influence of the maritime air of the Atlantic. This results in temperate and mild climate.

The territory of Belarus is divided into 6 regions: Brest, Vitebsk, Gomel, Grodno, Minsk, and Mogilev. The capital of Belarus is Minsk with a population of over 1.5 mln people.

By the way, Belarus is the country with unique history and rich cultural heritage. It is an interesting region from the tourist point of view.