21 Brilliant Facts about Belarus
- Situated in Eastern Europe, Belarus consists of flat lowlands separated by low hills and uplands. Something for everyone!
- The meaning of Belarus is ‘White Russia’.
- Belarus lies in Eastern Europe, nestled in the middle of Russia, Ukraine, Poland, Lithuania and Latvia.
- A huge one third of Belarus was affected by the devastating 1986 nuclear disaster at Chernobyl; 70% of the radiation fell on its territory.
- A staggering 25% of the land is still considered uninhabitable because of this.
- Belarus specialises in heavy industry including metal-cutting, machine tools, earthmovers, trucks and tractors. A young boy’s dream by the sounds of it!
- It exports this machinery and metal along with mineral products, chemicals and textiles.
- Belarus’ agricultural industry focuses on grain, potato, vegetable, sugar beet and beef production.
- Belarus has an unemployment rate of only 0.5%, making it one of the lowest in the world.
Flag of Belarus
- Russia is a next-door neighbour but only 8.3% of the Belarusian population is Russian born. Despite this, a large 70.2% of the population speak Russian as their primary language with only 23.4% speaking Belarusian!
- Belarus has a national literacy rate of 99.6%, making it one of the most literate countries in the world. Go Belarus!
- Belarus only has 4 state run television channels, with Polish and Russian broadcasts available in some areas.
- The European Bison is the national animal of Belarus; it’s the heaviest surviving wild land mammal in Europe!
- The White Stork is considered to be the national bird of Belarus, appearing both on stamps and the 20 Ruble coin.
- The country’s currency is called the Belarusian Ruble (in case you hadn’t guessed).
- During the 17th and 18th centuries straw weaving was a popular medium for Belarusian art. Have a Google, it’s pretty impressive!
- The oldest city of Belarus is Polotsk, which has been in existence since 862 AD.
- Built in the 11th Century by Prince Vseslav, St Sophia’s Cathedral in Polotsk, is one of the oldest buildings in Belarus.
- Oh, and by the way, the Twilight Saga fans amongst you will be interested to know that the Prince (who is buried there) is rumored to be a vampire!
- There are 31 banks in Belarus of which 30 are owned by the government and only 1 is privately owned. ‘Show me the money!’
- Make sure you taste the birch sap on your next visit. The sap extracted from a birch tree every spring, is one of the favorite drinks of the Belarusians. It’s a slightly sweet, thin syrupy-watery liquid – delicious! The sap contains sugars (namely xylitol, just like you find in chewing gum), proteins, amino acids, and enzymes. Pretty healthy really, by the sounds of it. You can stock up too as it’s sold in packs and large glass jars – perfect as gifts when you get back instead of boring fridge magnets and the like (just make sure you check with customs first!).
Know any good facts about Belarus we’ve not mentioned? Let us know in the comments section below!
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