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Belarus – a Beautiful Country!

by sjmck

Belarus – a Beautiful Country!

Belarus is a land with an ancient history. The first settlements appeared on the territory of modern Belarus in the Sixth and Seventh Centuries. In the Ninth and Tenth Centuries, they became the part of the Kievan Rus. Belarus changed patrons so many times such as the Great Princedom of Lithuania, Rech Pospolita, and the Russian Empire. Then it became one of the republics of the USSR. In July 1990, The Head Council of the republic passed the Declaration of Independence.

Today the President is the Head of the State in Belarus. The main legislative body is the National Assembly which consists of two houses: the Council of the Republic and the House of Representatives.

Due to being part of the USSR, Belarus became one of the founders of the UNO. Since 1996 (already on its own) it is the Member of the European Council.

Being situated in the Eastern part of Europe, Belarus borders upon Russia, Ukraine, Poland, Lithuania, and Latvia. Belarus occupies a strategically important territory through which pass numerous lines of communication. The distance from Minsk to Warsaw (Poland) equals to 500 kilometers, to Moscow (Russia) – 700 km, to Berlin (Germany) – 1,060 km, to Vienna (Austria) – 1,300 km.

Minsk is the capital of Belarus. It’s located in the same latitude with Hamburg, Germany and Dublin, Ireland and is positioned in central European time zone (GMT+2). When it’s midday in Belarus, it is 11 a.m. in Paris, 10 a.m. in London, 5 a.m. in New York, 2 a.m. in Los-Angeles and 1 p.m. in Moscow.

The Republic occupies 207,000 square kilometers – more than Austria, Ireland, Portugal or Greece. The population of Belarus is about 10 million people – 70% of whom live in big cities. One fifth of the population lives in the capital of the Republic. The climate of Belarus is temperate: mild humid winter and warm humid summer. The average temperature in January is -6C (21F), in July – +18C (64.5F).

Want to measure the country by crossing it on foot? You’ll have a lot of walking to do: the length of Belarus from the North to the South equals to 560km, the width from the East to the West – 650km. It’s quite pleasant to fly over the country in a plane observing its beauty – vast fields of golden wheat, blossoming flax fields, and green potato plantations. Heads of the century-old pines of Belovezhskaya Puscha reserve are reaching up to the sky. The symbol of the country – the bison (a huge bull weighing up to a ton) – lives in Puscha. Traveling by air you will definitely notice the Belarusian swamplands that are so huge that Napoleon used to call them the “fifth element”.

How does the country earn its money? Forty-four percent of the national income is brought by the following industries: manufacturing enterprises, engineering, chemical, and petrochemical plants. The pride of Belarusian technicians is the huge rock handlers made by the BelAZ Company. Thirty percent of the national income comes from agriculture. More than a half of the territory is occupied by farmlands. The most popular crop is wheat.

Secondary education is obligatory and totally free of charge in Belarus (just like in Russia and Ukraine). Qualified specialists are prepared by 32 institutions of higher educations including 3 universities and a conservatory. More than 17,000 people study at the Minsk University. The country is bilingual: both Belarusian and Russian are official languages.

To bring Belarus a little closer to you, you’ll notice that the parents of Hollywood star, Kirk Douglas, used to live right here – not far away from Minsk. :)

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