Want to learn a little more about the countries of the world? Take a look at these fun facts about Belarus!
1. Where is Belarus?
Situated in Eastern Europe, Belarus consists of flat lowlands separated by low hills and uplands. Something for everyone!
2. Its name is pretty descriptive.
The meaning of Belarus is ‘White Russia’.
3. It’s surrounded by large neighbors.
Belarus lies nestled in the middle of Russia, Ukraine, Poland, Lithuania, and Latvia.
4. Belarus was badly affected by the Chernobyl disaster.
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.
5. Belarus is big on machinery.
Belarus specializes in heavy industry including metal-cutting, machine tools, earthmovers, trucks, and tractors.
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.
6. Belarus’ employment statistics are really impressive!
Belarus has an unemployment rate of only 0.5%, making it one of the lowest in the world.
7. Russian is widely spoken for a reason.
Russia is a next-door neighbor 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!
8. Very few people in Belarus are unable to read or write.
Belarus has a national literacy rate of 99.6%, making it one of the most literate countries in the world. Go Belarus!
9. TV isn’t a big deal in Belarus.
Belarus only has 4 state-run television channels, with Polish and Russian broadcasts available in some areas.
10. Belarus’ population is around half of Florida’s.
In 2018, the population of Belarus was 9.485 million.
11. What’s the capital of Belarus?
Its capital city is Minsk, and in 2013 the city had a population of 2,002,600.
12. Life goes on!
The life expectancy here is 74.13 years (2017).
13. The bison reigns supreme here!
The European Bison is the national animal of Belarus; it’s the heaviest surviving wild land mammal in Europe!
14. Special delivery!
The White Stork is considered to be the national bird of Belarus, appearing both on stamps and the 20 Ruble coin.
15. Better get those coins changed up.
The country’s currency is called the Belarusian Ruble (in case you hadn’t guessed).
16. Men and women of straw!
During the 17th and 18th centuries, straw weaving was a popular medium for Belarusian art. Have a Google, it’s pretty impressive!
17. It’s a fairly old country in terms of culture.
The oldest city of Belarus is Polotsk, which has been in existence since 862 AD.
18. Its buildings are old, too!
Built in the 11th Century by Prince Vseslav, St Sophia’s Cathedral in Polotsk is one of the oldest buildings in Belarus.
19. It’s a vampire country!
Any Twilight Saga fans amongst you will be interested to know that the Prince (who is buried there) is rumored to be a vampire!
20. Finance here is mainly state-run.
There are 31 banks in Belarus of which 30 are owned by the government and only 1 is privately owned. ‘Show me the money!’
21. Try some Belarusian birch sap!
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!).
FAQs about Belarus
What’s Belarus best-known for?
Belarus is, bizarrely, best known for being the land of tractors!
Do people speak English in Belarus?
English is spoken in Belarus by younger people - however, as you head into the villages surrounding the towns and cities, this tends to be less and less likely.
What’s the main religion followed in Belarus?
Belarus’ main religion, based on followers, is Orthodox Christianity.
Do you know any fun facts about Belarus? Share them in the comments below!