Places to Visit in Belarus

Sunday, January 21, 2018

Belarus is an Eastern Europe country with a lot of history and legends. Its name means White Rus or White Russia and there are several stories that explain the “white” part: a distinction between Christianized Slavs and pagan Balts, a preference for white clothes, a relation to lands not conquered by Mongols or Tatars. For long parts of history, Belarus was included in the Grand Duchy of Lithuania, the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, the Russian Empire, and Soviet Russia. Since 1991, Belarus has been an independent country.

Belarus is a green country, over 40% of its surface is covered with forests. Its lands were desired and conquered, but the country didn't lose its identity. Belarus has built modern cities and preserve ancient sites. This is a list of beautiful places to visit in Belarus.

Minsk, the capital of Belarus

Minsk by night

It is natural to start the list of place to visit in Belarus with its capital. Minsk is a new city, rebuilt almost entirely in the 1950s. The Soviet influence of that time is still present in the architecture of the town, but modern offices and apartments are in full development. Visit the Belarus National Museum of History and Culture and National Art Museum of the Republic of Belarus to have an idea about the history and the culture of this place.

Further Read: Want to Know More About Belarusian People?

Belarus is an Orthodox country. Don't miss its Russian style churches, like St Mary Magdeline Church, St Peter and St Paul Church, and St. Elizabeth monastery.  St Peter and St Paul Church is the oldest church in Minsk, built in 1613. It is called Yellow Church and has a very long and interesting history.  St Mary Magdeline Church is built in 1847 and is simply a beauty, with green round domes and white walls. Take a look inside, too, you won't be disappointed.

Mir Castle, a mixture of European traditions

Places to visit in Belarus

A UNESCO World Heritage site is on the list of places to visit in Belarus. It is called Mir Castle and awaits you near the village of Mir, 90 km away from Minsk. The castle was built by Duke Juryj Ivanavič Illinič at the end of the 15th century. It is an example of Belarus Gothic style later mixed with Renaissance style. After battles, injuries, and reconstructions, the castle is now a museum and hosts events. It is surrounded by a beautiful landscape, with a lake and gardens, like the Italian Renaissance Park and the English Park.

Nesvizh Castle, a truly romantic place

Nesvizh Castle

Nesvizh Castle is considered by the people of Belarus the most beautiful palace in the country. It is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site and it is not far away from Mir Castle (just 60 km away). Its diverse architecture and parks make Nesvish Castle a very popular place to visit in Belarus. The castle was built in the 16th century. It has a mixed style due to frequent reconstructions. If you are a fan of architecture you can recognize features from Renaissance, Baroque, Rococo, Classicism, Neo-gothic, and Modernism. The gardens are well maintained by landscape artists, preserving the original English style. Ornamental lakes are the delight of the gardens.

Nesvizh Castle is a great destination for a day trip. Its romantic air, rich history, and beautiful landscapes are enough reasons.

Belovezhskaya Putscha, home of Europe’s last bison

Belovezhskaya Pushcha

A national park in a country covered in forests is not a surprise. Belovezhskaya Pushcha National Park is one of the last virgin forests in Europe. You can hike here without a visa if you enter the country at Pererov-Białowieża border crossing. The old forest is shared with Poland; the border is right in the middle.

Take a bike and a backpack and get lost in the wild. Belovezhskaya is home to bison and for many European animals. A natural science museum will teach you everything you need to know about the animals here. The forest is well preserved and cared and it is a blessing for nature lovers. Even a cousin of Santa Claus lives here. It is called Frost Father and his Estate can be visited.

Narach Lake, a blue marvel in Belarus

Narach Lake

Narach Lake was formed 10, 000 years ago. It is a natural lake, home for many species of fish and a popular tourist resort. The landscape is stunning. Rivers, connected lakes, mineral water springs, perfect colors, and serenity. Over 1, 400 species of plants can be found here, including an orchid of Belarus called lady's slipper.

A huge health center is active here. Based on mineral waters, the center developed 11 sanatoria. But at Narach Lake health comes naturally. Trekking routes, hiking, biking and water trips, diving and fishing are just a few activities that will keep you busy out here.

Grodno, a religious center of Belarus

Grodno

Not far away from Poland and Lithuania, there is another good place to visit in Belarus. Grodno is the center of Roman Catholics from Belarus. A long time ago, the town was a fortress and had a major role in the history of Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth. Visit the Old Grodno Castle, an 11th-century establishment, a place from where battles and peace were dictated.

Grodno has preserved its medieval architecture and you can still see some Black Ruthenian features in the Kalozha Church. There are also Baroque buildings, Orthodox Churches, and an amazing mixed style of a little town with a rich history.

Places to visit in Belarus that will surprise you

Belarus is a colorful country with a lot of great places to visit. If you like history, it will overwhelm you with Polish-Lithuanian-Russian-Ruthenian stories. If you like nature, some stunning landscapes await your camera. If you just want peace and quiet, get lost in a little medieval town or in an ancient forest and enjoy it.

Monica Radulescu a freelance writer for aSabbatical.com
Travelling is a joy. It's a way to become a better and wiser person. Mountain paths and road trips are my favourites.