Welcome to Belarus
Belarus. White Russia….. a gentle and a poetic name, the mostly appropriate to characterize the country. White means bright, clean, innocent. Belarus is a country of modest, one might even say, intelligent natural beauty. The amazing thing: it seems that here in the heart of Europe, time suddenly noticeably slowed his pace around. The raging XXI century civilization is moving forward by leaps and bounds. Though a genuine nature remains in Belarus, people are human, and values are forever!
Republic of Belarus is an independent sovereign state appeared on the recent map in 1991, and so far many things are still a kind of terra incognita, although located substantially in the center of the European continent. This is the land of blue lakes and green forests, meadows and sun spacious fields, among which there is a quiet calm water of the river. On the map of our small country, located in the heart of Europe, you can find many interesting places. People of Belarus have been famous for their tranquility and tolerance, diligence, benevolence and hospitality.
Geographical location and territory
Geographically the territory of the Republic of Belarus is situated in the heart of Europe and is bordered by five countries: the Republic of Poland, the Republic of Ukraine, Lithuania, the Russian Federation, the Republic of Latvia. The area is 207,500 square kilometers. Our
country does not have direct access to the sea, but it is considered to be a leading transport and trade corridor between the CIS and Europe.The Republic of Belarus is divided into territorial units - six areas with certain administrative centers: Gomel, Brest, Grodno, Minsk, Vitebsk and Mogilev regions. The capital of the Republic of Belarus is Minsk.
Over the years, Minsk was destroyed and rebuilt a hundred times. It mostly suffered during the Second World War, when it had been destroyed completely. At the present stage Minsk is the country's largest city, home of about 2 million people. In the capital there are underground metro, railway station, international airport and many bus stations.
On the territory of the Republic of Belarus it is a temperate continental climate, which is influenced by air masses from the Atlantic Ocean. It is characterized by moderately rainy cool summer, winter with frequent thaws and changeable weather in autumn and spring.
Air temperature varies depending on the region. The July average temperature is from +19 ° C in the north and up to +20 ° C in the south. As for the air temperature in January, it ranges from -4,5 ° C in the southwest, and in the northeast reaches -8 ° C.
Annual precipitation is 600-700 mm, but 70% of the precipitation falls in the rain that mostly appears in April and October.
Language and religion
State languages of Belarus are Belarusian and Russian, as well as you can often hear the Polish, the Ukrainian. A small part of the population, mainly young people, can speak English.
The main religion is Christianity. Our country welcomes the freedom of religion and tolerance.
In Belarus the freedom of religion is guaranteed by the Constitution. Annually In the country the number of believers grows, as well as the number of churches. The network of educational institutions in which representatives of various faiths can receive religious education is constantly evolving.
Linked with a rich historical past the territory of the Republic of Belarus is a home to various ethnic groups, some of them have been existing for several generations:
Russians (8.2%), large influx registered after the Second World War.
Poles (3.1%) lived in the western part of the country for centuries
Ukrainians (1.7%) - the largest influx registered in XVIII-XIX centuries
Tatars, Roma, Lithuanians and Latvians also live in Belarus.
History of Belarusian culture and art
stic culture of Belarus has evolved over centuries. The original architectural and art schools existed there to create a unique
musical and literary works.
All survived Belarusian art masterpieces are under state protection. They are stored in the collections of major Belarusian museums. Classic of Belarusian music and drama is shown in theaters and concert halls.
Modern cultural life in Belarus is dynamic and diverse. There are many art exhibitions, music, theater and cinema festivals.
All of this is interesting, and it is available for both Belarusians and for visitors of the country.
Art of Belarus is diverse in styles, trends and genres. The most interesting works of Belarusian painting and sculpture from different ages can be seen in art museums of the country.
The largest collection of works of art is exposed by the National Art Museum of Belarus. The state actively promotes the national art. There are regularly held exhibitions of Belarusian artists.
Interesting collection of Belarusian art one can find at Vitebsk Art Museum, Mogilev Regional Art Museum, the Art Gallery of Polotsk.
In many regional centers of Belarus there are art galleries, where you can see works of local artists.
Music in Belarus
Contemporary musical art of Belarus seeks to preserve national traditions while developing popular in the world styles and trends. Works of Belarusian composers, world classical and pop music are performed by both professional and amateur musicians.
The following leading musical groups of the country gained more popularity:
Presidential Orchestra of the Republic of Belarus
National Symphony and pop music running by M.Finberg
State Academic Symphony Orchestra
State Academic Choir of G.Shirmy
National Academic Folk Chorus of the Republic of Belarus named by G.I.Tsitovicha
vokal group "Clear Voice"
vocal-instrumental ensemble "Pesniary"
vocal-instrumental ensemble "Syabry"
Belarusian festivals take place annually, representing different musical trends and genres of art:
"Belarusian Musical Autumn"
"Muses of Nesvizh"
The symbol of the festival movement in Belarus is the International Arts Festival "Slavic Bazaar in Vitebsk", which is attended by popular artists from around the world.
Theatre in Belarus
Belarusian professional theater evolved from ancient folk rituals, creativity of wandering musicians, courtier troupes, Belarusian magnates activity, amateur groups of the XIX-XX centuries. Currently, the country has 28 state theaters, a large number of amateur folk groups, including:
The most famous theater of the Republic is the National Academic Bolshoi Opera and Ballet Theatre of Belarus. Its performances have
won great success at local and foreign audiences.
Theatrical life of Belarus saturated bright festival events. Prestigious theater festivals with bands coming from all over the world have gained a big popularity in the country. Among the most famous forums are:
• International theater festival "White Tower" (Brest)
• International theater festival "Panorama" (Minsk)
• International Festival of Student Theatre "Theater Kufar" (Minsk)
• International Youth Theatre Forum "M @ art. Contact" (Mogilev)
• International Forum theater arts "TEART" (Minsk)
• Belarusian International Puppet Festival (Minsk).
The major international musical competition is an Art Festival "Slavic Bazaar in Vitebsk". This forum gathers every year thousands of visitors from around the world and it has earned a reputation among serious artists and musicians.
Public holidays and memorable holidays, celebrated in the state are:
Constitution Day - March 15, 1994;
Day of Unity of Peoples of Belarus and Russia - April 2, 1997;
Day of the National Flag of the Republic of Belarus and the State Emblem of the Republic of Belarus - 2nd Sunday in May;
Victory Day - May 9;
Independence Day - July 3, 1994.
New Year - January 1;
Christmas - January 7;
Day of Fatherland Defenders and Armed Forces of Belarus - 23 February;
Women's Day - March 8;
Labor Day - May 1;
October Revolution Day - November 7;
Christmas - December 25th.
Chernobyl tragedy Day - April 26;
All Souls' Day (Radunitsa) - 9th day after Orthodox Easter;
Informal ancient folk festivals remain popular in Belarus, one of them is Midsummer. It is celebrated on the night of 6 to 7 July. The celebration is accompanied by folk rites, songs and dances. Required attributes of the holiday is jumping over the fire ritual and bathing.
Nature in Belarus is unique. Here you can find many rare species of plants and animals. The country implemented major environmental projects, created national parks and wildlife sanctuaries.
Diverse vegetation occupies 93.1% of the country. Forests make up to 1/3ird of the green cover of the country.
North of Belarus is the land of lakes. In the south of the river Pripyat there is a moorland - the famous Belarusian Polessie.
In those areas of Belarus, with unique landscapes, rare species of plants and animals, national parks have been created.
28 species of trees and 70 species of shrubs grow in Belarusian forests. The most common species of trees are birch (nationwide), pine (nationwide), spruce (northern areas), oak (southern areas).
In Belarus you can find a huge number of wild animals and birds, including many rare species.
There are 76 species of mammals, the most common of which are:
Elk, deer, wild boar, wolf, beaver
In the republic there are about 300 species of birds.
For the protection of rare and endangered species of plants and animals Red Book of the Republic of Belarus was created. It includes 17 species of mammals, 72 species of birds, 4 species of amphibians, 10 species of fish, 72 species of insects. They are under state protection. On the territory of the Republic of Belarus there are five protected areas guarded by the state and supported by UNESCO. This list includes the National Park "Belovezhskaya Pushcha" , Berezina Biosphere Reserve, National Park "Braslav Lakes" , National Park "Narochanskiy", National Park "Pripyat".
Belarusian cooking traditions have evolved for centuries, using various kinds of products for unusual ways of cooking. Guests are attracted by vintage Belarusian cuisine.
Exquisite dishes of the past, served to magnate residences Belarus, are considered to be the unique offer of Belarusian cuisine.
You can try the national cuisine at the agrofarms. They often use a unique way of cooking and products, common only at one place.
Here they bake bread according to ancient recipes and techniques, preparing homemade daily meats, cheeses made from cow's or goat's milk, served with honey, sweets, apples, cranberries.
Belarusian national dishes are also popular in the home kitchen . Among the most loved dishes are machanka Vereshchaka, homemade sausage, pancakes, sorcerers, dumplings, potato pancakes, friedge sorrel, mushroom soup ...
Former Belarusian cuisine
Belarusian cuisine was formed under the influence of two main factors:
active farming and the use of local products
the influence of neighboring countries .
Since the times of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania Slavic, Baltic, Jewish and partly German roots are closely intertwined in the national cuisine.
Therefore Belarusian cuisine is one of the most diverse in the continent. It is similar to Russian, Lithuanian, Ukrainian, Polish, Jewish, but it is unique, extremely generous and tasty.
Each society class had the old gastronomic traditions, so in Belarusian cuisine there were whole areas: peasant and petty bourgeois, and aristocratic magnate cuisine.
In Belarusian dishes they widely used local products:
herbs and vegetables (cabbage, turnips, beets, carrots, turnips, parsnips, squash, potatoes, cucumbers, onions and garlic, sorrel, nettles, quinoa, cabbage roots cleft)
legumes (beans, peas, lentils, beans)
cereals (rye, barley, oats, buckwheat)
mushrooms (salted, dried, powdered)
fruits and berries (apples, pears, plums, cherries, currants, blueberries, blueberries, cranberries, raspberries, mountain ash, cranberry, rose)
spices and seasonings (cumin, coriander, flaxseed, horseradish, sweet flag, mustard, juniper, cherry and oak leaves)
Potatoes deserve a special attention: it appeared in Belarus in the XVIII century, it enriched the national cuisine and became the basis of many Belarusian dishes.
This famous pancakes, sorcerers, pyzy, potato sausage, dumplings, Grandma ...
Many centuries Belarusians consumed limited amounts of meat, usually in the festive dishes in the form of salt and dried foods. But over time, the meat diet became most popular:
Pork, lamb, beef, poultry (chickens, ducks, geese, turkeys), game (elk, deer, wild boar, beaver).
The national menu is a huge variety of dishes of meat and poultry (pyachysta, kumpyachok, machanka, verashchaka, tushanka, smazhanka), all possible home-made sausages, salty bacon, offal dishes (vantrabyanka, scars - pork stomach stuffed with meat and buckwheat) , smoked meat ...
In Belarusian cuisine there are a lot of fish dishes, usually river ones (tench, sturgeon, pike, burbot, bream, eel, trout, perch, carp). Yushku brewed from it, making dumplings, salted fish, smoked fish. And today in restaurants the famous "Pike-Radziwill" is served.
The most common out of dairy products is curd cheese (cow and goat), sour cream, butter. Milk is included in many recipes of Belarusian dishes such as "Zabelok", "Shaded" and "volog" .
Soups, porridge, mochanka.
Dishes of Belarusian villagers were hearty, relatively simple to prepare (mainly in the oven), but always freshly cooked: chilled or heated food was not served!
Magnate kitchen had more aristocratic refinement, with variety of foods and spices, including exotic, and, of course, had a complex technology of preparation. On the prince table you could see elk lips under sweetened vinegar, stuffed with snake fish, ucha from the cock ...
Features of the national cuisine
Characteristic features of isolated Belarusian cuisine culinary give a special color and charm and place Belorussian cuisine apart among other countries.
For example, the Belarusian cuisine is rather complex and lengthy in processing products. Stewing, vexation, baking, boiling, blanching, roasting - these techniques can be interleaved in a single recipe.
Various types of flour such as oatmeal, buckwheat, pea, rye, and their mixtures are used in many national dishes.
And Flour is not just the main ingredient (tortillas Perepech specific Belarusian pancakes from several types of flour, pea pancakes, etc.), but also a thickener ("stabbed" for soups). The dough is kneaded in Belarus since ancient times without yeast.
In Belarusian cuisine recipes there is a huge variety of vegetable dishes. Many of them, despite the Slavic foundation, are unique.
For example, soup journal (meatless, milk or meat) on the basis of oatmeal broth, watering (thin soup of vegetables and cereals), Morkva (carrot soup), gryzhanka (rutabaga soup) garbuzok (pumpkin soup) ...
A special pride of the national cuisine is a traditional Belarusian bread that is baked from rye flour without yeast. For a healthy diet it is a very useful product.
Belarusian bread weights heavier, with a pleasant flavor of "sourness". In the old recipes they used different additives: cumin seed, linseed, sunflower seeds. They often baked bread on the “pillow” of birch leaves, oak ...
Belarusian cuisine today
Modern kitchen of Belarus is becoming eclectic. It saved and revived old national recipes and at the same time it involves popular dishes from around the world.
Today restaurants offer a modern interpretation of the Belarusian dishes where chefs embodied the original ideas and principles of haute cuisine to reflect the diversity of products, the change of seasons, etc.
In the twentieth century - in Soviet times - Belarusians recipes and culinary traditions of other nationalities became popular: Russian, Ukrainian, Caucasian, Central Asian cuisine. In the menu of restaurants at that time there was a lot of Western dishes of meat.
The main changes that have occurred in the Belarusian cuisine throughout the twentieth century, were:
Wide spread of wheat flour and its products (for many centuries Belarusians used predominantly rye flour) and the emergence of salads.
Today you will find restaurant menus of Belarusian cuisine as well as various European and Oriental cuisine of modern cooking directions (wellness, fusion). But being in Belarus, certainly try the national cuisine . Only here these dishes can be truly Belarusian.
You will learn how tasty, interesting and sometimes quite exclusive the Belarusian cuisine is!
The main spirits in our country is Vodka (garelka wine Goreloye). It appeared in the late fifteenth century and gradually became the main type of alcohol. Vodka is consumed on holidays and other occasions.
Belarus is a country pleased to welcome everybody. This attitude is felt by hearts of foreign tourists. Mostly come to Belarus the citizens of Russia, Ukraine, Poland, USA, Latvia, Germany and the UK. Visitors from more than 60 countries are regularly visiting the country, and their number is constantly growing.
The location of the country in the heart of Europe, its rich historical, cultural and natural heritage identifies the interest in Belarus by foreign visitors.
On the whole territory of Belarus there are about five thousand tourist sites, four of which are included in the UNESCO World Heritage List. It is Mir and Nesvizh palace and castle complexes, Bialowieza Forest and segmented Struve Arc. The city of Polotsk - the capital of the Principality of Polotsk, one of the oldest states in Eastern Europe, as well as Nowogródek - the first capital of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania, are located of the ground of Belarus. Ancient Belarusian cities preserved medieval building with unique architectural monuments, including - St. Sophia Cathedral and Transfiguration Church with unique frescoes of the 11th century in Polotsk, locks in Novogrudok, Krevo, Nyasvizh, Mir and many other objects.
We can offer you several options for interesting excursions, where you can enjoy and feel the history and nature of our country, as well as get acquainted with its generous and decent people.