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Belarus: vast forests and marshy plains

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Belarus or White Russia is a presidential republic born after the dissolution of the USSR. The country borders Ukraine to the south, Poland to the west, Latvia and Lithuania to the north-west, Russia to the north and east. Administratively Belarus is divided into 6 regions (voblasci) and the territory of the capital, Minsk.


Belarus is a completely flat country, full of lakes and swamps. Only in the central and north-western area are there low hills, called the White Russia Highlands, which, near the capital Minsk, reach their maximum height with the Dzjaržynskaja hill (346 meters).

The Belarusian plains are crossed by numerous rivers among which the most important rivers are the Dnieper and its tributary Pripjat. The country is covered for just under half of its surface by forests and woods. The Belarusian territory is also dotted with numerous lakes and marshes, which are particularly frequent in the so-called Polesia, a marshy territory in the south of the country on the border with Ukraine. The country has no access to the sea.

Belarus is relatively rich in forest resources, while mineral resources (peat, chalk, natural gas and oil) are scarce. Agriculture due to the harsh climate is not of great importance. The country produces flax, beets and potatoes. Important is breeding. The mechanical, chemical, electronic, IT, wood and textile sectors are important in the industry.

Until the 20th century, the territory of present day Belarus was subject to control by neighboring countries, including the Grand Duchy of Lithuania, Poland, and Russia. With the birth of the Soviet Union, Belarus became a republic within the Soviet Union. In 1991 the country became independent.

  • Area: 207,600 sq km
  • Population: 9,700,000: Belarusians (81%), Russians (11%), Poles (4%), Ukrainians (2%)
  • State Capital: Minsk
  • Official Languages: The official languages are Belarusian, the first language for 37% of the population, and Russian, the first language for 63% of the population.
  • Religion: Orthodox Christians (80%), Catholics (10%).
  • Currency: Belarusian ruble (BYR)
  • Time: UTC+2, Summer Daylight Saving Time UTC+3.



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