Top 10 things to do in Belarus

Belarus

With four UNESCO world heritage sights, including the Mir Castle Complex and the Nesvizh Castle there are enough things to explore here.

Belarus is a country.

Belarus (i/bɛləˈruːs/ bel-ə-ROOSS; Belarusian: Белару́сь Bielarus’ pronounced [bʲɛlaˈrusʲ]; Russian: Белару́сь, tr. Belarus’; IPA: [bʲɪlɐˈrusʲ]), officially the Republic of Belarus, is a landlocked country in Eastern Europe bordered by Russia to the northeast, Ukraine to the south, Poland to the west, and Lithuania and Latvia to the northwest. Its capital is Minsk; other major cities include Brest, Hrodna (Grodno), Homiel (Gomel), Mahilyow (Mogilev) and Vitsebsk (Vitebsk). Over 40% of its 207,600 square kilometres (80,200 sq mi) is forested, and its strongest economic sectors are service industries and manufacturing.

Until the 20th century, the lands of modern-day Belarus belonged to several countries, including the Principality of Polotsk, the Grand Duchy of Lithuania, the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth, and the Russian Empire. In the aftermath of the Russian Revolution, Belarus declared independence as the Belarusian People's Republic, succeeded by the Socialist Soviet Republic of Byelorussia, which became a founding constituent republic of the Soviet Union and was renamed as the Byelorussian Soviet Socialist Republic (BSSR). Belarus lost almost half of its territory to Poland after the Polish-Soviet war. Much of the borders of Belarus took their modern shape in 1939 when some lands of the Second Polish Republic were reintegrated into it after the Soviet invasion of Poland and were finalized after World War II. The nation and its territory were devastated in World War II, during which Belarus lost about a third of its population and more than half of its economic resources. The republic was redeveloped in the post-war years. In 1945, Belarus became a founding member of the United Nations, along with the Soviet Union and the Ukrainian SSR.

The parliament of the republic declared the sovereignty of Belarus on 27 July 1990, and during the dissolution of the Soviet Union, Belarus declared independence on 25 August 1991. Alexander Lukashenko has been the country's president since 1994. Lukashenko continued a number of Soviet-era policies, such as state ownership of large sections of the economy. According to many countries and organizations, elections under Alexander Lukashenko have been widely criticized as being unfair, and that political opposition has been violently suppressed. In 2000, Belarus and Russia signed a treaty for greater cooperation, with some hints of forming a Union State. Belarus' Democracy Index rating continuously ranks the lowest in Europe, the country is labelled as "Not Free" by Freedom House, "Repressed" in the Index of Economic Freedom, and is rated as by far the worst country for press freedom in Europe in the 2013-14 Press Freedom Index published by Reporters Without Borders, where Belarus is ranked 157th out of an overall total of 180 nations.

Over 70% of Belarus's population of 9.49 million resides in urban areas. More than 80% of the population is ethnic Belarusian, with sizable minorities of Russians, Poles and Ukrainians. Since a referendum in 1995, the country has had two official languages: Belarusian and Russian. The Constitution of Belarus does not declare any official religion, although the primary religion in the country is Eastern Orthodox Christianity. The second most popular, Roman Catholicism, has a much smaller following, although both Orthodox and Catholic versions of Christmas and Easter are celebrated as national holidays.

Overall rating: 4.2
Country
Typical length of visit: 4 days

Top 10 things to do in Belarus

Mogilev

Mogilev
Mogilev is a city in eastern Belarus, about 76 kilometres from the border with Russia's Smolensk Oblast and 105 km from the border with Russia's Bryansk Oblast. As of 2011, its ...

Babruysk

Babruysk
Babrujsk, Babruysk, Bobruysk, or Bobruisk is a city in the Mogilev Region of eastern Belarus on the Berezina river. It is a large city in Belarus. As of 2009, its ...

Minsk

Minsk
Minsk is the capital and largest city of Belarus, situated on the Svislach and Nyamiha rivers. It is the administrative centre of the Commonwealth of Independent States . As the ...

Vitebsk

Vitebsk
Vitebsk or Vitsebsk , is a city in Belarus. The capital of the Vitebsk Region, in 2004 it had 342,381 inhabitants, making it the country's fourth largest city. It is ...

Gomel

Gomel
Gomel is the administrative center of Gomel Voblast and the second-largest city in Belarus. It has a population of 515,325 and its area is 121 km2.History

Polotsk

Polotsk
Polotsk is a historical city in Belarus, situated on the Dvina River. It is the center of the Polatsk Raion in Vitsebsk Voblast. Its population is more than 80,000 people. ...

Brest

Brest
Brest may refer to:PlacesBrest, France, a city and harbourBrest Castle, the Château de Brest Brest, Germany, a municipalityBrest-Aspe, a railway station Brest, Ig, a village in Slovenia

Lake Narach

Lake Narach
Lake Narach is a lake in north-western Belarus , located in the basin of the Viliya river. It is the largest lake in Belarus .Narach is a part of the ...

Grodno

Grodno
Grodno or Hrodna , Гародня , Горадня ; Russian: Гродно ; Latin: Grodna, Grodnae; Lithuanian: Gardinas; Polish: Grodno; Yiddish: גראָדנע; Hebrew: הורדנה‎ is a city in Belarus. It is located ...

Silichy

Silichy
Silichy or Silichi is a ski resort situated in Lahojsk , Belarus, located 30 km away from Minsk.Silichy was officially opened on January 29, 2005. The length of 3 routes ...

Orsha

Orsha
Orsha is a city in Belarus in Vitebsk Region on the fork of the Dnieper and Arshytsa rivers.FactsLocation: 54°28′14″N 30°19′05″E / 54.47056°N 30.31806°E / 54.47056; 30.31806Population: 125,000 ...

Church of Saints Simon and Helena

Church of Saints Simon and Helena
Church of Saints Simon and Helen also known as the Red Church is a Roman Catholic church on Independence Square in Minsk, Belarus.This neo-Romanesque church was designed by polish architects ...

Baranovichi

Baranovichi
Baranovichi , is a city in the Brest Region of western Belarus with a population of 173,000. It is a significant railway junction and home to a state university. It ...

Gorky Park

Gorky Park
Gorky Park may refer to:ParksIn the former USSR named after Maxim Gorky:Gorky Park Gorky Park Park of Maxim Gorky Gorky Park ...

Belarusian Great Patriotic War Museum

Belarusian Great Patriotic War Museum
The Belarusian Great Patriotic War Museum is a museum in Minsk, Belarus.The conception of a museum commemorating the German-Soviet War after the end of Nazi occupation sprung up even before ...

Maladzyechna

Maladzyechna
Maladzyechna , is a city in the Minsk Voblast of Belarus, an administrative centre of the Maladzyechna district . It has 98,514 inhabitants and is located 72 km northwest of Minsk. ...

Kobryn

Kobryn
Kobryn or Kobrin is a city in the Brest voblast of Belarus and the center of the Kobryn Raion. The city is located in the southwestern corner of Belarus where ...

National Academic Big Opera and Ballet Theatre

National Academic Big Opera and Ballet Theatre
The National Academic Bolshoi Opera and Ballet Theatre of the Republic of Belarus is located in a park in the Trinity Banlieu of the city of Minsk. Local people call ...

Salihorsk

Salihorsk
Salihorsk is a city in Belarus. In 2010 its population was 102,335.HistoryThe city it is one of the country's newest settlements, with its construction begun in 1958.By ...

Minsk Zoo

Minsk Zoo
Minsk Zoo is located in a southeast part of Minsk near Svislach River.LocationMinsk Zoo is situated in the south-east part of Minsk in floodplain of the river ...

Žlobin

Žlobin
Žlobin is a city in the Žlobinski Raion of Gomel Voblast of Belarus, on the Dnieper river. As of 2012, the population is 80.200.The city is notable for being the ...

Cathedral of Saint Virgin Mary

Cathedral of Saint Virgin Mary
Cathedral of the Holy Name of Mary is a Roman Catholic baroque cathedral in Minsk. It is the seat of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Minsk-Mohilev.It was built under the ...

Barysaw

Barysaw
Barysaw is a city in Belarus situated near the Berezina River in the Minsk Voblast.HistoryBarysaw is first mentioned in the Laurentian Codex as being founded in 1102 ...

Belarusian National Arts Museum

Belarusian National Arts Museum
Belarusian National Arts Museum is a museum in Minsk, Belarus. It is the largest museum in the country. More than twenty seven thousand works of art – creating twenty miscellaneous collections ...

Lake Strusta

Lake Strusta
Lake Strusta is a freshwater lake of Vitebsk Province, Belarus, the third largest among the Braslau Lakes and the sixteenth largest in Belarus.Lake Strusta is fed by several rivulets running ...

Chizhovka-Arena

Chizhovka-Arena
Chyzhouka-Arena is a multi-use indoor arena in Minsk, Belarus. It is intended mostly for concerts, ice hockey and other indoor sporting events. The arena has a capacity of ~9,500 people. ...

Zhodzina

Zhodzina
Zhodzina , is a city in Belarus, located in the Minsk Region, 50 km to north-east from Minsk. The city covers an area of 19 km² and has a population of 61,800 ...

Pishchalauski Castle

Pishchalauski Castle
Pishchalauski Castle , also spelled Pischalauski Castle, is a castle in Minsk, Belarus. The castle is also sometimes called the Belarusian Bastille. It is a registered state architectural monument.The castle ...

Pruzhany

Pruzhany
Pruzhany is a town in Brest Voblast, Belarus. Pruzhany is the center of a district in Brest Region, Belarus. Its population is about 20.000 people. The town is located at ...

Yanka Kupala Park

Yanka Kupala Park
Yanka Kupala Park is a park in Minsk, Belarus located along Svislach river. This park is named after Yanka Kupala, one of the classics of Belarusian literature of early 20th ...

Mir

Mir
Mir was a space station that operated in low Earth orbit from 1986 to 2001, owned by the Soviet Union and later by Russia. Mir was the first modular space ...

Dinamo Stadium

Dinamo Stadium
Dynamo Stadium or Dinamo Stadium is a stadium that often associated with the Dynamo .It may also refer to:RussiaDynamo Stadium Dynamo Stadium Dynamo Stadium Dynamo Stadium Dynamo ...

Pinsk

Pinsk
Pinsk is a city in Belarus, in the Polesia region, traversed by the river Pina, at the confluence of the Strumen and Pripyat rivers. The region was known as the ...

Belarusian National History Museum

Belarusian National History Museum
Belarusian National History and Culture Museum is a museum in Minsk, Belarus.The leading Museum of the historic profile of the Republic of Belarus is the biggest collection of the monuments ...

Maryina Horka

Maryina Horka
Maryina Horka is a town in Minsk Voblast, Belarus, the capital of the Pukhavichy Raion. As of 2009 its population was 22,500.Maryina Horka is located 60 km south of Minsk. It ...

Botanical Garden

Botanical Garden
A botanical garden is a garden dedicated to the collection, cultivation and display of a wide range of plants labelled with their botanical names. It may contain specialist plant collections ...

Lida

Lida
Lida is a city in western Belarus in Hrodna Voblast, situated 160 kilometres west of Minsk. It is the fourteenth largest city in Belarus.EtymologyThe name Lida is ...

Pripyatskiy National Park

Pripyatskiy National Park
Pripyatsky National Park or Pripyat National Park in a natural reserve in Gomel Region, Belarus. It was founded in 1996 for preservation of natural lanscapes around the Pripyat River from ...

Navahrudak

Navahrudak
Navahrudak is a city in the Grodno Region of Belarus. In 14th century it was an episcopal see of the Metropolitanate of Lithuania. It is a possible first capital of ...

Lahoysk

Lahoysk
Lahoysk is a city in the Minsk Region of Belarus and the administrative center of the Lahoysk Raion. First chronicled in 1078, Lahoysk was the center of a small 12th-century ...

Mazyr

Mazyr
Mazyr is a city in the Gomel Region of Belarus on the Pripyat River about 210 kilometres east of Pinsk and 100 kilometres northwest of Chernobyl and is located at ...

Pastavy

Pastavy
Pastavy is a city in the Vitebsk Region of Belarus, an administrative center of Pastavy Raion.LocationPastavy is located on the river Myadelki.AmenitiesPastavy has a ...

Zaslawye

Zaslawye
Zaslawye or Zaslaŭje is a historic town in Minsk Province of Belarus, 20 kilometres northwest of Minsk. In 2009 its population was 14,400.HistoryAccording to chronicles, Zaslawye was ...

Vawkavysk

Vawkavysk
Vawkavysk is one of the oldest towns in southwestern Belarus and the capital of the Vawkavysk raion. It is located on the Wołkowyja River, roughly 98 kilometres from Grodno and ...

Slonim

Slonim
Slonim is a city in Grodno Region, Belarus, capital of the Slonim district. It is located at the junction of the Shchara and Isa rivers, 143 km southeast of Grodno. The ...

Lepiel

Lepiel
Lepel is a town located in the center of the Lepiel Raion in the Vitebsk Province of Belarus near Lepiel Lake. Lepiel is situated at about and its population in ...

Navapolatsk

Navapolatsk
Navapolatsk is a city in Vitsebsk Province, Belarus, with a population of 107,458. Founded in 1958, it is located close to the city of Polatsk and the name literally means ...

Slutsk

Slutsk
This article is about the town in Belarus. For the town near Saint Petersburg known as Slutsk 1918-1944, see Pavlovsk, Saint Petersburg. Slutsk is a town in Belarus, located on ...

Nesvizh

Nesvizh
Nesvizh is a city in Belarus. It is the administrative center of the Nesvizh District of Minsk Province and location of the Nesvizh Castle World Heritage Site. Its 2009 population ...

Ruzhany

Ruzhany
Ruzhany is a small town located in Pruzhany Raion of Brest Region, Belarus.GeographyRuzhany is situated on the river Ruzhanka and surrounded by picturesque hills. It is 140 ...

Braslaw

Braslaw
Braslaw or Braslau is a town in the Vitsebsk Voblast of Belarus, an administrative center of the Braslaw Raion.HistoryThe town was first mentioned in 1065 as a ...

Smarhon’

Smarhon’
Smarhon’ or Smorgon is a city in the Grodno Region of Belarus. It was the site of Smarhon’ air base, now mostly abandoned. Smarhon’ is located 107 km from the capital, ...

Byaroza

Byaroza
Byaroza is a town of 31 000 inhabitants in Western Belarus in Brest Region and the administrative center of the Byaroza Raion.HistoryThe village of Byaroza was first ...

Ashmyany

Ashmyany
Ashmyany is a town in Grodno Region, Belarus, capital of the Ašmiany raion located 25 km from Vilnius. It lies in the basin of the Oshmianka River. It is also known ...

Kamyanyets

Kamyanyets
Kamyanyets is a town in the Brest Region of Belarus and the center of the Kamyanetski Rajon. The town is located in the northwestern corner of Brest Region on the ...

Svietlahorsk

Svietlahorsk
Svietlahorsk is a town in the Svietlahorski Rajon of Gomel Region of Belarus, the administrative center of the rajon . It is located by the river Biarezina and has 69,900 ...

Stowbtsy

Stowbtsy
Stowbtsy or Stolbtsy is a town in Minsk Region, Belarus, the administrative center of the Stowbtsy Raion . It is located at the Neman River. The population is approximately 15,400.

Rahachow

Rahachow
Rahachow is a town in the Gomel Region of Belarus. It is center of Rahachow District. Rahachow is located at , between the Drut and Dnieper rivers. The population is ...

Ivatsevichy

Ivatsevichy
Ivacevičy is a city in the Brest Province of Belarus, an administrative center of the Ivacevičy district.World War IIBefore the Nazi-Soviet invasion of Poland, Iwacewicze was a ...

Rečyca

Rečyca
Rečyca is a city in the Gomel Region of Belarus. It is center of Rečyca Raion. The city is situated at the mouth of Rečyca River, flowing into the Dnieper. ...

Stolin

Stolin
Stolin is a town in the Brest Voblast of Belarus. It is the centre of the largest district in Brest voblast. The population is 10,491 people . The Belarusian-Ukrainian border ...

National Library of Belarus

National Library of Belarus
The National Library of Belarus , founded on 15 September 1922, is a copyright library of the Republic of Belarus. It houses the largest collection of Belarusian printed materials and ...

Białowieski Park Narodowy

Białowieski Park Narodowy
HistoryFeatures ...