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Travel Directory / Europe / Belarus

Belarus Travel Guide

Belarus was once known as Belorussia or "white Russia" and was only known by its name now when it gained its independence from the Soviet Union by the eradication of USSR in 1991. The country's close link to Russia has thrown the nation in isolation with the international community. Foreign businesses are hard to establish because of unfriendly business laws. It does not help either that the country's human rights record has not been great since 1994.

The political and business scenes might not be as ideal, but it does not take away from what Belarus can offer those who intend to visit and tour this country. Scenic landscapes, wide stretches of birch groves, ancient castles and monasteries, wooden villages in rolling green and black fields give it a poignant beauty. The country's diverse fauna of elks, deer, wild boars, lynx, bear and many more is something that will interest wildlife lovers.

Minsk, the capital of Belarus, houses a diverse collection of museums such as the National Museum, Museum of Old Belarusian Culture, the National Arts Museum, the Museum of History of the Great Patriotic War and other interesting museums dedicated to major Belarusian writers. The Cathedral of the Holy Spirit, the Maryinski Cathedral and the Cathedral of St. Peter and Paul features Baroque architecture and were restored to their former glory also draws interest from tourists. One should not miss a visit to the Troitskoye Predmestye which gives you a view of how Minsk once looked like in the olden days.

Beyond the capital lies the village of Zhirovitsa with its well known 15th century Monastery of the Assumption which also houses a convent and theological seminary. The town of Mir is where the Mir Castle is found, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. One of the most beautiful palaces in Belarus is the former residence of the Radzivil Family which is surrounded by elaborately manicured gardens and lakes.

Other towns worth the visit are Vitebsk where the famous painter Marc Chagall was born. Polotsk is one of the oldest Belarusian cities where an 11th century Church of Sophia and two nearby castles can be seen. Brest Fortress is a historic site used to repel the German army during the Second World War. Inside this fortress is a museum which chronicles the history of the place since the 13th century. Then there is the village of Viskouli is where the leaders of Belarus, Ukraine and Russia signed the agreement to dissolve the USSR.

The famous puppet theatre in Brest should not be missed as well as the Belaya Vehza (White Tower) also known by the name Kamenets Tower, which is a magnificent structure on its own. In Grodno major tourist attractions are the Old Town center, the Kalozh Church and Castle which were both built in the 11th century. The Nature Reserve of Berezinsky is dominated by deep rivers, primitive forests, dense marshlands and a diverse collection of flora and fauna which makes it a UNESCO protected biosphere. Truly Belarus is a country of quiet charm and haunting natural beauty.