14 Fun Facts About Belarus’ Geography, History and Culture

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Belarus is one country speaks more Russian than Belarusian! Featuring more than 20,000 rivers, 11,000 lakes and plenty of forest escapes. As an avid hiker, that sounds like heaven to me!

I’ve become so acquainted with Belarus that I recently rounded up this list of fun facts. Be careful though, as you’ll probably add it to your bucket list!

1. Belarus Is A Breath Of Fresh Air

Need detox your lungs? Commonly known as The Lungs Of Europe, more than a third of Belarus is covered in forests. Its diverse woodlands provide habitat to many species of flora and fauna.

If you’re not so keen on heading into the wilderness, then The Central Botanical Garden in Minsk is the third-largest in Europe.

2. Minsk Is The Lionheart City Of Belarus

During WW2, Minsk, the capital city, saw absolute destruction with the biggest Soviet death tolls. Sadly, it was shattered many more times through ongoing conflicts, but today appears stronger than ever.

3. The World’s Largest Dump Truck Is In Belarus

The largest dump trucks used in mining operations can haul roughly 500 tonnes of material and was manufactured in Belarus.

It was primarily built to service the Russian mining sites.

4. Belarus Is The Las Vegas Of Eastern Europe!

Belarus is often called the Las Vegas of Eastern Europe as it operates many casinos. When gambling was banned in Russia, people simply jumped the border to nearby casinos in Belarus.

5. Lenin Street In Every City

Seeing Lenin Street in every city of Belarus is baffling. It’s named after the Russian politician and political theorist who was the head of the Soviet Union, with Belarus being one of the members.

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6. An Artificial Salt Mountain

In Soligorsk, a potash salt mountain has been created artificially by the waste generated by salt mining.

potash salt mountain in Belarus

While not safe to climb, its beauty is certainly captivating.

7. A Country With 2 Christmas Celebrations

Belarus is mostly Christian and is divided into two sects. The Orthodox follow the Julian calendar and the Roman Catholics follow the Gregorian calendar.

The first sect commemorates Christmas on 7th January and the other on 25th December, respectively. As a country, Belarusians get to enjoy Two Christmas holidays.

8. Belarus Has The Largest Ancient Forest In Europe

Belovezhskaya Pushcha is one of the four UNESCO World Heritage sites in Belarus. It is the most extensive primary forestland in Europe, featuring trees that are more than 500 years old.

Belovezhskaya Pushcha

It serves as a natural abode for the wildlife in Belarus, including the near-extinct European Bison.

9. Do You Like Potatoes? Belarusians Love Potatoes!

Belarusians have more than 300 recipes made with potatoes, the most relished being potato pancakes.

People here consume more potatoes per head than in most countries.

10. One Of The Largest Libraries In the World

The 22-floor National Library building in Minsk is pure bliss for those seeking knowledge when the hiking trails have been all done. I’ll put my hand up for that one too! With space for 2,000+ people, its not just famous for its size either.

National Library building in Minsk

The library is constructed as an art piece in a rhombicuboctahedron shape. If books aren’t your thing then many public shows and concerts are also featured here.

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11. Belarus Is Home To Europe’s Heaviest Land Mammal

The heaviest animal in Europe is the European Bison which struggled for numbers until a few decades ago. Today, Belarus has the world’s largest population of European Bison.

This majestic beast is the national animal of Belarus and in ancient times, it was worshipped as a symbol of power and strength.

12. Capital Punishment Is Prevalent In Belarus

People committing heinous crimes in Belarus can be executed to death. This is the only European country where the death penalty remains legal.

Many other European countries follow the European Convention of Human Rights who do not subscribe to capital punishment.

13. Belarus People LOVE Sports

Yes, while often cold outside, Belarusians are very keen when it comes to games and sports, with over 23,000 sports facilities across the country.

Football, ice hockey, handball and tennis are very popular. Belarus first competed in the 1994 Olympics as an independent nation and have won more than 80 medals since.

14. Hidden Treasures Were Found In Grodno!

Sounds like a tale, right? But it is true.

A box of jewelry and gold coins were found at a construction site in Grodno, Belarus. These were handed over to the history and archaeology museum who could best preserve them.

A land filled with history and many rulers may have a lot more hidden below the surface!

Joshua Smith

Joshua has visited 10 countries and has another 110 to go! He plans to sail around the world over 5 years, and then spend the next 5 years driving around the world in a 4×4. He prefers to explore the more remote places without the tourists, and yet, doesn’t mind the ritzy feel of business class at 10,000 feet either.

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