Belarus

Belarus – An Offbeat European Destination Rich with History, Natural Beauty and a lot more 

If you are someone who wants to explore an offbeat travel destination that gives you a chance to immerse yourself into fine European art, takes you back to the Soviet eras,  as well as have a pretty amazing nightlife, Belarus is a country you must visit. For a long time, this eastern European country barely made it on the wish-list of travellers, but since the visa restrictions have been relaxed Belarus achieved global attention for having some of the best art and music in Europe. It has risen to be one of the top most holiday destinations on tourist's check list. 

 

Belarus Tourism : A Quick Overview
Continent Europe
Capital Minsk
Official Language Belarusian, Russian
Dial Code +375
Population 9,491,800
Currency Belarusian Ruble 
Time Zone UTC + 3
Area 207,595 km²


Highlights Of Belarus:

Cities of Belarus:

The most popular city in Belarus and the country's capital, Minsk, is a city that offers a wonderful mixture of historical influences and modernisation. The Independence Square is one of the major attractions of the city along with the beautiful dancing fountains illuminated with pretty lights. A visit to the Gorky Central Children's Park allows you get take a brilliant view of the city from the giant observation wheel installed in the park. 

World War 2 aficionados will love a visit to the city of Brest, which is steeped in history thanks to the Brest Fortress being the site where Belarusian soldiers were able to defend the country from the invading German soldiers.

For people who love to visit majestic castles, Nesvizh is the city to visit. Nesvizh castle, Mir Castle and several others are present in this tiny city, located just 120 kms from Minsk. 

Another city that you absolutely must visit is Polotsk. The city used to be the capital of the country at one time, before being replaced by Minsk. However, while it lost the status of being the administrative capital, Polotsk is now considered to be the cultural capital of the country. The city is also known as the religious Mecca of Belarus, thanks to the presence of Polotsk Sophia Cathedral and several other popular churches. Polotsk also holds the distinction of being the absolute centre of Europe, and travellers visiting the city can boast of having been to the centre of Europe. 

Other cities that you must not miss when on a visit to Belarus are Pinsk, one of the oldest cities in the country, Vitebsk, also known as the small capital of Renaissance, Grodno, the most culturally varied city in Belarus and Lida, home to one of the best museums in the country, Spadchyna.

Popular Tourist Spots:

The Braslav Lake Area makes for a pretty postcard having been its pristine best. The area is home to around 300 magnificent lakes, which are together known as the Blue Necklace of Belarus. Another highlight of the area is what remains of an ancient glacier. For nature lovers, the Braslav lake area is an absolute paradise, with opportunities for bird watching, and the chance to see over 30 species of fish in the lakes and gigantic boulders sitting all over owing to the glacier which has gradually melted over the years.

Belarus is home to more than 8,000 memorial complexes dedicated to victims and heroes of the World War 2. The one complex that offers a reflection of all of them is Khatyn Memorial Complex. The Khatyn village was burned down by the Nazi soldiers on March 22, 1943, with only 2 children and one adult named Joseph surviving the massacre. The centre piece of this memorial complex depicts the scene of Joseph carrying the body of his son out of the ashes. 

Lying in a valley also referred to as the Belarusian Amazon thanks to the several expansive forests and swamps, this national park is home to a wide range of species of flora and fauna. It has over 51 species of mammals, including some rare animals like mink and lynx. Birders are sure to have an amazing time at the Pripyat River attracting more than 250 species of migrant birds every year. Photography safaris are extremely popular in this national park, as are the boat tours that take you around to explore the aquatic life present in this national park. 

The Brest Hero Fortress Memorial Complex was constructed on the site of the famous Brest Fortress where heroic soldiers defended the country against German invasion for more than 30 days. The memorial complex still houses some of the remains of the original fortress, along with several art installations placed as memorials to the great heroes. 

One of the most popular tourist destinations of Belarus is the Minsk Sea, which is in fact an artificially created reservoir that attracts both, local and foreign tourists in the summer months. On the edges of this artificial sea, one can enjoy white sandy beaches and little cafes, several restaurants serving the popular local dishes. A catamaran or a pedalo can be rented to explore the sea and the beautiful countryside surrounding it. 

Heritage Buildings:

The Nesvizh Castle belonged to the most powerful family in Belarus, the Radziwitt family, and remains one of the most important buildings in the country. Built in the 16th century, the castle is surrounded by an expansive moat and features a huge complex of rooms that have been gradually enhanced over the years. Even today, the castle is in excellent condition thanks to the restoration work and having been included in the list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites. A walk through the rooms gives you a glimpse into the wealth, opulence and power of the Radziwitt family. 

Though a national park, the Belovezhskaya Pushcha National Park is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site, sprawling across Belarus and Poland, the neighbouring country. The national park is famous for being one of the very few places in the world where the European Bison can be found in its natural habitat. Konik, a semi-wild horse species, wild boar and Eurasian elk are some of the other rare species of wildlife that can be found in this national park. During the winter months, tourists get to visit a special museum here that showcases the Belarusian version of Father Christmas. 

Another extremely popular castle and a UNESCO World Heritage Site in Belarus is the Mir Castle. Built in the 16th century, the castle showcases a beautiful combination of different architectural influences, the most prominent amongst them being Gothic, Renaissance and Baroque architectural styles. The glorious castle has been restored to its former glory, despite it suffering severe damages over the years due to canon fire in different wars. 

Cuisine of Belarus:

One of the biggest highlights of a trip to Belarus has to be the cuisine of the country. There are a number of dishes one can try in Belarus, with potato and meat taking centre stage in a lot of them. Draniki, or potato pancakes, is one of the biggest local favourites in the country. Mainly made with potatoes and onions, some recipes can also include mushrooms, cheese, bacon or meat. 

Borscht is another dish that has gained worldwide fame. The Belarusian version of the dish features beetroot as the main component, along with meats, cabbage, carrots, potatoes and onions. Also, the Belarus Borscht is a lot lighter and less fatty than its Ukranian and Polish counterparts. Other dishes that you must not miss on a visit to Belarus include, Tsibriki, Sashni, Kasha and Shkvarki. 

 

Interesting facts about Belarus:

  • Belarusians are among the world’s biggest sports enthusiasts, with over 23,000 sporting centres in the country.
  • Close to 40% of the landmass of Belarus is covered by forests.
  • Over 300 recipes of potato can be found in Belarus cuisine
  • The country is home to more than 20,000 rivers and 11,000 lakes.


Belarus Location: 

Belarus is a landlocked country in Eastern Europe and shares its borders with as many as 5 countries, namely Russia, Ukraine, Poland, Lithuania and Latvia. 

 

Best time to visit Belarus:

The best time to visit Belarus is between the middle of May and the end of September. Around March and April, the snow starts thawing, resulting in thick mud all over and making for an uncomfortable experience for travellers. There is a brief autumn period in September and October, before the harsher cold weather sets in by the time November comes around.

 

How to get to Belarus:

By Air: You can get direct flights to Minsk, the capital of Belarus, from Delhi and Mumbai. In case you don’t get a direct flight to Minsk, you can take flights to any of the major airports in Russia or Poland and reach Belarus from there. 

By Train: Belarus is well connected to all the major cities in Russia, Poland and Ukraine through rail routes.

By Road: Driving up from Moscow or Warsaw is possible for travellers. There are also bus routes that connect Minsk to cities in Italy, Latvia and Estonia. 

By Water: Despite being a landlocked country, it is possible to reach Belarus by water. Neighbouring countries are connected to Belarus through a network of rivers, with all the major cities in Belarus having river ports.  

 

History Of Belarus:

The area now known as Belarus is known to have been one of the earliest to be inhabited in Europe, with evidence of Old Stone Age and New Stone Age still found in the country. Thanks to a large network of rivers, known as ‘water roads’, the area gradually became a trading hub, with several trading establishments being developed. This attracted the eye of several different rules, with the country experiencing Lithuanian, Polish and Russian rules at different periods of its history. 

During the World War 1, an independent Belarusian Democratic Republic was created, but by the time the war ended, a Belorussian Soviet Socialist Republic was announced. Soon, the area was again under invasion from Poland, and the hostilities ended after the Treaty of Riga, which divided the Belarusian state between Poland and Russia. After years of turmoil and loss of life that was brought upon the country again by the Second World War, the Belorussian SSR was given a seat in the United Nations General Assembly with its formation in 1945, despite the Belorussian SSR still being a part of USSR. The country declared sovereignty in 1990 and independence from USSR in 1991, changing its name to Republic of Belarus. Pro-Russian candidate Alexander Lukashenko was elected president in the elections of 1994, and remains president till this day, with several allegations of unfair elections being aimed at the president during this time, and western opponents even describing the country as the ‘last dictatorship in Europe'. 

Can’t wait to pack your bags and jet-set to this beautiful country? Take a look at Thomas Cook’s travel packages for a smooth trip.

Language Spoken

Belarusian

Currency used:

Belarusian ruble

SEP-OCT 4 to 17oC
JUN-AUG 12 to 25oC
NOV-MAR -7 to 4oC
APR-MAY 3 to 19oC

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Best Belarus Tourism Guide

The scenic country of Belarus houses a number of picturesque sights and monuments, making it absolute delight for the tourists. Most Belarus tour packages include a visit to the popular monuments and historical sights. The eastern European country with active nightlife, cosmopolitan appeal and beautiful national parks has an appeal to enthrall all types of visitors. With its scenic landscapes comprising picturesque cornfields, forests and quaint picture perfect villages, this place is ideal for those looking for a relaxed vacation.

The historic country of Belarus is a sight to behold, with the country littered with amazing architectural feats. The Belarus tourism makes sure that all the monuments and historic sights are maintained and kept in prime condition for the tourist to visit. Being the home to four UNESCO World Heritage Sites, there are many places to visit in Belarus. Most Belarus tour packages include these sites as well. Mir Castle Complex is famous for its significance and architecture. Most interesting places to visit in Belarus are Minsk, Brest, Lida and many more. Most Belarus tours also include the Nesvizh Castle and even the iconic Struve Geodetic Arc.

Belarus is known for its unique traditions and customs. A number of Belarus tour packages provide the necessary services so that one can have the full Belarus experience. A simple Belarus tours can also be taken to enjoy the scenic sights. Although one does not need any special services for the purpose of sightseeing, it is always recommended to have the necessary arrangements in place and in advance. This is one of the reasons why the Belarus tour packages available can be customized according to the wishes of the tourist. The Belarusian cuisine is also something that is popular with the tourists, with Draniki, the national Belarusian dish, being one of the most popular amongst all.

Belarus tour packages are available exclusively on Thomas Cook. We provide tailored services that help our clients in selecting their desired services. One can opt for a simple Belarus tour as well. This not only helps the tourists in selecting their required service and destination, but also makes up for a better travel experience. We also provide reliable currency conversion services, like converting BYR to INR and even INR to BYR. As for our additional services, one can avail special flight booking services as well.

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