Belarusian People

Monday, December 4, 2017 - 16:00

Have you ever wondered who the Belarusian People are and how they live? I cannot fully answer this question, but I can give a small insight into the fascinating world of Belarus.

Belarus is one of the few countries I’ve ever been to, that loves potatoes even more than I do. Seriously, the Belarusian people have a thing for potatoes that I am a bit envious over. Whether you’re in the mood for breakfast, lunch, dinner, you name it. 300 recipes have been structured around the almighty potato, and I don’t think anyone is complaining about that (maybe there are some complaints about how that’s not enough?).

Despite the obsession with potatoes, Belarus has long been considered an outcast among European nations. They can only blame themselves for sticking to their stubborn roots, but integration into the rest of our continent is not what this country is about. The last dictatorship in Europe is about simplicity, following rules, assuring the streets are clutter and debris-free, and that the zubr (European bison—endangered) are always thriving. It’s a peaceful country at its core, covered in fields of cornflowers and dense forests. Corruption does run ramped here, but that never tarnishes the character of its friendly and warm people.

Introducing the Belarusian People

Belarusian People in the metro of Minsk
Belarusian People in the metro of Minsk

For a country that is tarnished by corruption and lack of rights (Belarusian love their President, last dictator of Europe) it would be completely understandable to assume that the Belarusian people are just cruel savages out to do or take whatever they want. However, you’ll be pleasantly surprised that couldn’t be further from the truth. Sure, they are over-obedient (breaking a rule here almost felt like a death sentence; only European nation with the death penalty too!) to the point it could be deemed robotic, but the Belarusian people simply do not fit into their own country.

The people here incredibly good-humored, kind beyond measure, and friendly to everyone they encounter. They’re a patient people who have strong emotional ties towards nature, drinking and sleeping. Belarusian people are some of the most devote sleepers around—this peaceful nature though doesn’t imply that they are lazy one bit. To the contrary. Belarusian people are fiercely hard workers who have generated every growing profession within the IT sector. This boom in the field of IT can be credited to the high quality of education devoted to its people (have a literate rate of 99.6%). As a result, they have lowered their unemployment rate to well under 5%, even briefly reaching a sub 1% result in recent years.

Trees as Far as the Eye Can See!

The title may be a bit deceiving, but in truth, it’s not too far off. Belarus is incredibly flat—despite this lack of elevation it makes up for it with have plenty of wonderful sights. Over 40% of Belarus is covered in forest, and when you throw in its 11,000 lakes and 28,000 rivers, you’re left with a delicate balance of peacefulness and wonderment. Unfortunately, though, about 25% of the country remains uninhabitable from the Chernobyl disaster.

The land hasn’t changed over the course of time. Belarus is one of the few documented locations where scientists and historians can trace back human involvement back 35,000 years. Meaning people have been calling Belarus home long before there ever was a name for it. Hopefully, it wasn’t as corrupt then, but who knows what happened back them. Facebook’s timeline only goes back so far.

Food, Travel, and Everything Else

Belarusian farmer in front of the Mir Castle Complex
Belarusian farmer in front of the Mir Castle Complex

I found Belarus quite interesting and greatly pleasurable during my journey. Although, I did have to sternly argue with their Road Police who target foreigners by checking documents looking for bribes (corrupt or what?). One day, I did not have my passport on me, and it took me a lot of talking to get away without a fine or bribe. Besides that, awesome experience!

I was lucky enough to visit Minsk—one of the most clean and safe cities I have ever stepped foot in. I swear to you; there was not one scrap or litter anywhere on the streets, sidewalk, and buildings. Most people don’t know that Minsk was destroyed 8 times! Also, Minsk is one of the oldest cities around—even older than the capital city of Russian, Moscow. From its chic coffeehouses, extravagant Restaurants (you must order Draniki and Blini, trust me) and electronic nightclubs, Minsk will surely have something right up your alley, especially if you’re a connoisseur of museums or Soviet history (Stalin era). For myself, I also took in the Cipollini children’s ballet which had a wonderful story and was an elegant show from start to finish.

However, there is much more to Belarus than just Minsk. There’s also the breathtaking Belovezhskaya Pushcha National Park, Lake Suitiz, the ancient Stuve Degeits Arcs (8 out of the remaining 32 in world reside here), Nyasuich Castle, and the gorgeous modern city of Brest (the Brest Fortress is a straight out of medieval times).

In the End, Belarus is a treasure

Me at the unique Brest Fortress
Me at the unique Brest Fortress

Why not let your next adventure be Belarus? The Belarusian people are not only some of the most genuine and kind people you’re ever likely to meet, but it’s also the only place in Europe where if you do anything wrong you could get the Death Penalty. Where else could you get that excitement? But do not worry, as long as you are not conspiring against the ruling president, you have not that much to fear.

In all seriousness, Belarus is a tranquil country that has amazing people, magnificent forests with thousands of rivers and lakes, and truly some of the exciting cities in Minsk and Brest. A country that can open its arms to travelers and adventurers of all kinds is a place worth spending time in. Trust me.

 

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