Eastern European Belarus or Belarus was once part of the Polish-Lithuanian aristocratic republic and is now a state that borders Russia, Ukraine, Poland, Latvia and Lithuania. The landscape of Belarus is characterized by chains of hills, broad rivers and forests, which cover almost a third of the country’s area. In addition, the Palessje marshes in the south and various lakes belong to the natural area – especially within the Wroclaw Lake District with its over 30 lakes of different sizes, each with small islands. The largest lake in the country is located in its northern region, on the border with Lithuania: Lake Narach. In Belarus, nature can also be explored in the Beresina Biosphere Reserve or in the Belovezhskaya Pushcha National Park, which is on the UNESCO World Heritage List – on 876 square kilometers, which hold a particularly rich flora and fauna. The Struvebogen, the cross-border scientific monument that goes through Eastern European and Scandinavian countries and has a total length of 2,821 km, is also integrated into the Belarusian landscape. But the country also has a number of sights – both cultural and historical. In the western part of the country, for example, you can visit several impressive castles and baroque churches. Mir Castle with elements from Gothic, Renaissance and Baroque – like the Radziwill family residence in Nyasvish – was even declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site. There are also many places of interest in Minsk, the capital, whose history goes back a long way and in which, above all, the Independence Boulevard, the National Museum of History and Natural History, the National Gallery, the Opera House and the ruins of the medieval cathedral are worth a visit. Vitebsk, Polotsk or Nyaswisch are other cities worth seeing in Belarus. But Belarus is also culturally interesting outside of its cities due to the population mix of more than 100 nationalities.
National Library of Belarus
According to Youremailverifier, the National Library of Belarus in Minsk is one of the most unusual buildings in the world. Anyone visiting Belarus should not miss this architectural and cultural gem.
The National Library of Belarus – an architectural diamond
The shape of the building, which is surrounded by green spaces and watercourses, is reminiscent of a huge, multi-faceted diamond. During the day, the glass fronts of the Minsk National Library reflect the sunlight. With their sparkle, they reinforce the impression of standing in front of the most powerful gemstone in the world. At night, however, 4646 LED spotlights are used to impressively illuminate this futuristic landmark of the city of Minsk. At the top of the building, at a height of 73.6 m, there is a viewing platform that can be reached with a panorama lift. Once at the top, the visitor has an unforgettable view over Minsk.
Place of knowledge and human encounters in Minsk
Through the main entrance, which has the shape of an open book, the visitor enters a cultural knowledge repository, which today houses the largest media inventory in Belarus. Around eight million media are stored here and made available to the user after ordering in less than 30 minutes. 19 reading rooms with a total of 2060 seats, spread over 23 floors, several cafes, a restaurant and an art gallery make the National Library of Belarus a place where you can spend many hours without getting bored. Many rest and relaxation zones, a sports complex with a sauna, a playroom for children and numerous events complete the library, which is the socio-cultural center of Minsk.
Vizebsk – the birthplace of the world-famous painter Marc Chagall
Vizebsk or Vitebsk, as it is also spelled, is an industrial city in northern Belarus. The cultural city, which is close to the border with Russia and Latvia, has a population of around 350,000. Vizebsk is particularly associated with the artist Marc Chagall, who was born and grew up here in 1887. Throughout his life he painted his beloved hometown again and again and told poetically with paints and brushes about the village life of that time. In 1896 the first private art school in Belarus was founded in Vizebsk. Today the city is known for the Festival of Slavic Arts, Music and Choreography.
Sights in the area
The industrial city of Vizebsk presents itself to visitors in a very western atmosphere. An interesting walk takes you past the town hall, which was built in the 16th century. Today it houses a viewing platform and a regional museum. The former governor’s palace in Vizebsk is now the official seat of a state agency. In front of the historic building there are some statues and heroes’ graves, as well as an obelisk, which is reminiscent of World War II. One of the oldest churches in Belarus is the Church of the Annunciation, built in the 12th century. The lavishly restored Church of the Resurrection of the Virgin Mary also offers tourists a wonderful view of the flowing river Daugava.
The former summer house of the famous painter Ilja Repin is just as beautiful on the Daugava River and just outside the city. Many of his works were created here and the three-story structure can now be viewed as a fascinating museum.
Life and food in Vizebsk
If you want to eat well after an eventful day in Vizebsk, you should know that Babka is a special dish made from potatoes, Draniki is a tasty potato pancake and Bliny is round pancakes. The Belarusian specialty Syrok, which you should definitely try, is a quark bar covered with chocolate.
Castle of Mir
Mir Castle is one of the most popular sights in Belarus. It is part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Anyone traveling to Belarus should pay a visit to the Mir settlement in the east of the country. There is the Mir Castle, which was built in the 16th century. Even on a study trip, a detour to the castle is worthwhile, as it is full of history.
The Mir Palace – a monument to history
The Mir Castle can be found in the Grodnenskaja Oblast in the immediate vicinity of the city of the same name. It has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 2000. This sight is of particular interest due to its diverse architecture.
The history of the castle
Mir Castle was built between 1506 and 1510 on a burned down feudal wooden castle. Because the castle was also to serve as a defense against invading enemies, Duke Yuri Ilyinich had it built as a fortress. When the Ilyinich family died out, the castle fell to the Polish-Lithuanian Count Mikolaj Krzysztof Radziwilli, who had parts of the building redesigned in the Renaissance style. So in the late 16th century an additional covering was created.
Over the centuries, Mir Castle changed hands several times. From 1895 it was restored by the Russian general Nikolai Swjatopolk-Mirski, which made it much more homely. The results can still be admired today on the outside facade and inside the building. A reconstruction of the castle took place in 1980.
What is particularly worth seeing about Mir Castle is its unique architecture, which ranges from the Gothic to the Renaissance. In addition, it includes different epochs of Belarusian history.
The National Art Museum of Belarus is also housed in the castle. In the southwest area, visitors can find out more about the history of the historic building in a small museum.
The wonderful park around the castle is also worth seeing. Behind the idyllic pond is the chapel of Prince Swjatopolk-Mirski, which was decorated with an artistic mosaic by the Petersburg architect Robert Marfeld.