Belarus Travel Information

Photo After seven decades as a constituent republic of the USSR, Belarus attained its independence in 1991. It has retained closer political and economic ties to Russia than any of the other former Soviet republics. Belarus and Russia signed a treaty on a two-state union on 8 December 1999 envisioning greater political and economic integration. Although Belarus agreed to a framework to carry out the accord, serious implementation has yet to take place.

GEOGRAPHY
The territory of Belarus is 207.6 thousand square kilometers. It is a compact country. By the size of its territory, the Republic occupies the 13th place among the European countries and the 6th among the CIS countries (following Russia, Kazakhstan, Ukraine, Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan). On 1.1.2000, the population of Belarus constituted 10,018 thousand people. Belarus is 5th among the CIS countries by its population, following Russia, Ukraine, Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan. Representatives of more than 100 nationalities live in Belarus.

HISTORY
Belarus is a country with an ancient and rich history and unique culture. It has a significant number of historical towns and cities - Novogrudok, the first capital of the Great Principality of Lithuania, Russia and Jemoit; Polotsk - the historical capital of the Principality of Polotsk with its valuable architectural monuments like the Sofia's Cathedral and Saviour Transfiguration Church with unique frescoes of the 11th century; Turov and Grodno - centres of Slavic principalities of the 9th and 12th centuries. Many towns and cities have preserved ancient temples and cloisters, palaces and castles of magnates of Rzecz Pospolita and of the Russian Empire, as well as valuable architectural, historical and cultural monuments.

ECONOMY
As part of the former Soviet Union, Belarus had a relatively well developed industrial base; it retained this industrial base following the breakup of the U.S.S.R. The country also has a broad agricultural base and a high education level. Among the former republics of the Soviet Union, it had one of the highest standards of living.

Important: Travel to Belarus may require a travel visa. Whether a visa is required for travel depends on citizenship and purpose of journey. Please be sure to review Travisa's Belarus visa instructions for details. Visa instructions for other countries are available on our do I need a visa page.

Country Statistics

Full country name: Republic of Belarus
Capital city: Minsk
Area: 207,600 sq km
Population: 9,643,566
Ethnic groups: Belarusian 83.7%, Russian 8.3%, Polish 3.1%, Ukrainian 1.7%, other 3.2%
Languages: Belarusian
Religions: Eastern Orthodox 80%, other
Government: republic in name, although in fact a dictatorship
Chief of State: president Aleksandr LUKASHENKO
Head of Government: prime minister Mikhail MYASNIKOVICH
GDP: 141.8 billion
GDP per captia: 15,000
Annual growth rate: 5.3%
Inflation: 53.3%
Agriculture: grain, potatoes, vegetables, sugar beets, flax
Major industries: metal-cutting machine tools, tractors, trucks, earthmovers, motorcycles, televisions, synthetic fibers, fertilizer, textiles, radios, refrigerators
Natural resources: timber, peat deposits, small quantities of oil and natural gas, granite, dolomitic limestone, marl, chalk, sand, gravel, clay
Location: Eastern Europe, east of Poland
Trade Partners - exports: Russia 33.5%, Netherlands 15.1%, Ukraine 10.2%, Latvia 7.7%, Germany 4.5%
Trade Partners - imports: Russia 54.4%, Germany 5.6%, China 4.8%, Ukraine 4.4%