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Tuesday 22nd August
Belarus Information - Page 1
Geography
The Republic of Belarus is in Eastern Europe, bordered by Poland, Lithuania, Latvia, Russia and Ukraine.

Minsk is the capital city. Other cities include Brest, Gomel, Grodno, Mogilev and Vitebsk.

The country's terrain is mostly low-lying with some hills. Mount Dzyarzhynskaya is Belarus' highest point. Rivers include the Dniepr, the Dvina, the Neman and the Pripyat.

The climate of Belarus is moderately continental. Winters are cold and summers are warm.

Environment
Around one third of Belarus is covered with forest.

The Belovezhskaya Pushcha, shared with Poland, is one of the oldest forests in Europe. Trees in the forest are alder, ash, aspen, elm, lime, maple, oak, pine and spruce. The Belovezhskaya Pushcha is a World Heritage site and a UNESCO MAB Biosphere Reserve.

Other protected areas include Braslav Lakes National Park, Narochanski National Park, and Pripyatsky National Park.

A number of wetlands, including Pripyat Marshes and Lake Osveia, are on the Ramsar List of Wetlands of International Importance.

Many species of birds and animals live in the protected areas. Animals include the lynx, otter, wild boar, wolf and European bison.

Architecture
Perhaps the most well known building in Belarus is Mir Castle, a World Heritage site. Built at the end of the fifteenth century, Mir Castle displays a number of architectural styles: Gothic, Baroque and Renaissance.

Destruction of cities during the Second World War led to extensive reconstruction. In the capital, Minsk, the old city centre has been restored. Modern buildings include high-rise apartments, office blocks and hotels

Population
The population of Belarus was estimated at 9,648,533 in 2009.

Languages
Belarusian is the official language.

Religion
The main religion in Belarus is Eastern Orthodox.

Food
Belarus is well known for numerous recipes for potatoes, especially, draniki, a potato pancake. Bread, particularly rye bread, is another staple food.

Traditional cuisine includes soups such as borscht, stews, sausages and pies. Beef, chicken, pork and fish dishes are eaten with vegetables: cabbage, carrots, onions, mushrooms, peas, sauerkraut and tomatoes. Dairy products such as eggs and cottage cheese are part of the Belarusian diet.

Favourite desserts are cakes, apple and berry fruit pies, and ice cream. Fruit is boiled and made into compote.

Mineral water is in abundant supply. A traditional drink is birch juice. Herb teas and coffee are drunk. Alcoholic drinks are beer, kvas and vodka.

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