Belarus, which officially goes by the name Republic of Belarus and is located in the eastern part of Europe, has for many been an unknown and closed country. Belarus borders Poland, Lithuania, Latvia, Russia and Ukraine. In Belarus you will find stately UNESCO-listed castles, mighty Stalinist architecture in Minsk, eventful and dramatic history in the city of Brest and breathtakingly beautiful nature in the Belovezhskaya Pushcha National Park, which offers both primeval forest and bison. In Belarus you will also be met by a very hospitable population.
Residents: 9.5 million
Language: Belarusian and Russian
The KGB was founded in Minsk?
in the Belovezhskaya Pushcha National Park there are oak trees, which are more than 500 years old?
The nature of Belarus
According to top-medical-schools, Belarus is a low-lying country. The highest point is 346 meters above sea level, and the landscape consists mainly of hilly terrain. The country has a nice and untouched nature with large wetlands, and here is also the last piece of the primeval forest that once covered the whole of Europe. The forest covers more than a third of the country’s area.
History of Belarus
Today’s Belarus was populated by the Slavs during the great migrations in Central Europe around 4-500 AD. After Mongol invasions in the 13th century, Belarus became part of the Lithuanian duchy, which later merged with Poland. The Polish-Lithuanian Empire was at war with its surroundings for several hundred years, before it was divided by its neighbors in the late 18th century. Most of Belarus then became part of the Russian Tsarist Empire. After the Russian October Revolution of 1917, Belarus declared independence, but after only two years, the country became part of the Soviet Union. World War II was a disaster for Belarus. Stalin’s terror was replaced by German executions and deportations, and as much as 90% of the city of Brest was razed to the ground. In 1944, the Soviet army recaptured the country. Stalin repopulated, among others, Minsk,
Belarus became independent on December 25, 1991, when the Belarussian Socialist Soviet Republic declared independence after the fall of the Soviet Union. But the 70 years when the country was part of the Soviet Union have not been forgotten. Many streets and squares still have names from the Soviet period. Economically, only small changes have taken place since the Soviet era. Large state-owned enterprises dominate business, and there are only a few privately owned companies.
Minsk is the capital of Belarus and has about 1.9 million inhabitants. The city has been on the brink of ruin several times, and after World War II, 80% of the city was destroyed. Half of the city’s population perished, including most of the city’s 50,000 Jews. After the war, Minsk was recaptured by the Soviet army, and reconstruction of the city began. Architecturally, the city is a Stalinist masterpiece, with wide parade boulevards, stately buildings and oversized statues. Also part of the city’s street names are reminiscent of the Soviet era, with names such as Leningatan, Marxgatan and Engelsgatan.
Today there is an international atmosphere over Minsk. It is a modern city with nice cafes, exciting restaurants and lively nightclubs – and the city is seen by many as one of the cleanest cities in the world.
Here you will find practical information in connection with trips to Belarus. Read more about, among other things, tips, internet and customs and usages.
- Language: Belarusian and Russian
- Capital: Minsk
- Residents: 9, 5 million
- Religion: Russian Orthodox
- Currency: Belarusian ruble
- Surface: 207 600 km2
The difference between Sweden and Belarus varies depending on whether Sweden has summer or winter time.
Summer time: + 1 hour
Winter time: + 2 hours
Transport in Belarus
The buses we use in Belarus are of a good standard and similar to the ones we have in Sweden.
The price level in Belarus is lower than in Sweden. A meal at a middle-class restaurant costs around SEK 200, but there are of course restaurants in all price ranges.
Currency and credit cards
The currency in Belarus is the Belarusian ruble (BYR). Visa and MasterCard can be used in hotels, restaurants and shops in the big cities, there are also ATMs to withdraw cash.
In restaurants and cafés, you usually round up the bill or give 5-10% in tips. Hotel staff and taxi drivers value getting tips for their service.
In Belarus you use 220 V. The sockets can vary, so bring an adapter for safety.
Telephone and internet
The international country code for Belarus is + 375. Feel free to check with your mobile operator regarding coverage and call costs to and from Belarus, as well as the cost of internet use. In the larger cities there are internet cafes, and in most hotels there is wireless internet.
Drinking water and hygiene
The toilets in Belarus are mostly similar to the Swedish ones, but it can be a good idea to bring your own toilet paper and possibly hand sanitizer wipes. The water from the tap is of varying quality. We therefore recommend that you buy bottled drinking water.
In Belarus, smoking is allowed in special smoking areas.
Customs and traditions
Belarus is generally a modern society, and there are no specific rules or guidelines for dress or behavior. When visiting churches, for example, we recommend that your clothes cover your knees and shoulders.
Climate and weather in Belarus
Here you can read more about the weather in Minsk.
Belarus has a modern inland climate with humid, cold winters and hot humid summers.