Country - Belarus
Belarus Country Information
Belarus is also identified by its former names of Byelorussia or Belorussia. Its official name is Republic of Belarus. Its capital city is Minsk which is the most populated in the country. Consequent to the Great Russian Revolution of 1917, Belarus announced independence for itself as the Belorusian People’s Republic which was vanquished by Soviet Russia and came to be known as the Soviet Socialist Republic of Byelorussia in 1922. As one of the sliver constituents of Soviet Union, it got rechristened as Byelorussian Soviet Socialist Republic. Belarus bore the chief brunt in the World War II when about one third of its population was killed and more than half of its resources were ruined. The Second World War lasted precisely six years and one day commencing from September 1, 1939. The Soviet invasion of Poland resulted in annexation of some territories from the Second Polish Republic which had confiscated more than half Belarusian lands between 1919 and 1921 during the Polish-Soviet war. After the total ceasefire of WWII, Belarus began showing the signs of development and joined the group of the founding members of United Nations which formed on October 24, 1945.
However, Belarus claimed independence and got delineated during the disintegration of USSR in 1990 and it became officially free republic on August 25, 1991. Unfortunately, Belarus could not fully embrace the non-socialist policies after independence and has been criticized as continuing to reel under dictatorial style of governance by Alexander Lukashenko. Capital punishment or death penalty is still practised as a way of implementing verdict on proven culprits.
Belarus is surrounded all sides by five countries and is land-locked. Ukraine lies to the south of Belarus, Russia to the west, Latvia to the northwest. Lithuania and Poland share its western border. The official languages are Belarusian and Russian. Though there is no official religion in the nation, Eastern Orthodox Christianity is predominantly followed while it is not too rare to find Roman Catholics who are in minority.
In spite of leeway in economic progress, Belarus does not lag behind in international tourism. Belarus is predominantly occupied by forest land by 40 per cent of the entire country. There are plethora of 19000 rivers and 11000 lakes that keep the land fertile for jungle vegetation. The natural water reservoirs are replete with water during summer when ice-land masses melt down allowing aquatic life to thrive on comfortably. Fishing becomes a busy activity with the onset of summer. Tourists are more pulled towards rafting, kayaking and boating with the swell of water bodies galore. Water-based activities would be on the rise during summer for the locals as well as outsiders.
For those who are not very much interested in high-energy activities and who wish to pamper themselves indolently, Belarus is up with the concept called “agro-tourism” which is marked by ultra-modern farm houses to relax/bathe in saunas/devour the traditional delicacies, wide landscapes of grasslands to trot on, a variety of flora to pacify the tired eyes. Having the body rolfed by Belarusian masseurs in the spas will eliminate the physical fatigue through proper realignment of muscles/nerves and escalate the blissful feel.
The capital city of Minsk itself keeps you engaged for weeks if you want to watch various iconic monuments of heritage. The statues of communist philosophers and prominent leaders, some of them standing elegantly and some seated majestically in jumbo chairs adorn the interiors of the award-winning Zair Azgur Memorial Museum. The skillful fixation of mural tiles in Palaces of People depict the partly hidden images of churches and buildings on the marble walls. The vertical stone-pillar prodding into the sky stands alone amid the encircling stone-slab acclivities at its base is a very rare sight that attracts tourists instantaneously. The Afghan Memorial on the Island of Tears is a sad reminder of the dead where the statues of nuns stand silently facing outwards in melancholy surrounding the base of the monument. The golden lustre reflecting from the domes of All Saints’ Orthodox Church is an eye-catching sight and the church is considered as one of the most beautiful edifices in Minsk.
The Russian architectural beauty can be seen at its peak at the Church of Saints Simon and Helena, or simply called the Red Church. The robust masculine statue posing as if to pierce a big fish-like creature with a long spear mounted in the open place before the church is the signature structure of the church. A few yards from there, the circular construction around a water-fountain has in its middle part three cranes trying to fly away from the glass dome they are mounted on. The silent statues speak a lot to the visitors mutely.
Belarusians seem to realize that the core philosophy of Karl Marx and Vladimir Lenin is still valid if implemented properly and the disintegration of USSR was a mere fallout of erroneous measures adopted at the apex level of the government in the beginning of 1990s. This is evident from the undamaged and well-maintained giant statues of the communist thinkers/luminaries at public places and their portraits in the interiors of various museums and official buildings, though the communist era has come to an end in the once Russian ruled states nearly three decades ago.
Tourists can enjoy the stage-shows exhibiting the traditional art and culture at the National Academic Bolshoi Opera and Ballet Theatre. Belarus too can mirror the age-old heritage eloquently well to the outside world.