Capital: Minsk

Population: 9,503,807 (2009 estimate)

Location: Eastern Europe

Belarus is situated in the Eastern Europe. The total land area of Belarus is more than 207,000 square kilometers.
Minsk, the capital of Belarus, is located in the centre of the country. Minsk today is a modern international city. The first recorded mention of the city goes back to 1067. Over the course of its chequered history, Minsk has been destroyed and rebuilt numerous times, most recently after World War 2, when it was almost completely destroyed.
Belarus has a moderate continental climate, with cool humid winters and warm summers. Average temperatures vary across Belarus. In January, temperatures average from -4.5°C to -8°C. In July the average temperature is +17°C to +18.5°C.
Belarus’ unique natural environment is host to a fascinating selection of rare plant and animal species, plus several National Parks and a range of significant conservation projects. Belarus is a very green landscape. Natural vegetation covers 93.1% of the land, and 1/3 of all green landscape is forest.
Belovezhskaya Pushcha is the largest ancient forest in Europe. Antique historian Herodotus (fifth century B.C.) wrote about the forest. It was also mentioned in the Hypatian Chronicle (in 983). In the late fourteenth century, Duke Yagailo of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania declared the forest a protected area and prohibited hunting there. The ancient forest has been protected for almost 600 years. There are nearly 2,000 giant trees in the Belovezhskaya Pushcha, some of them pre-dating Columbus' discovery of America. The Belovezhskaya Pushcha has since been added into the UNESCO World Heritage List.
Belarus enjoys a rich cultural and artistic heritage that dates back many centuries, taking in several significant schools of art and architecture and producing many unique musical and literary works.
All surviving masterpieces are now officially protected by the state, and showcased for all to enjoy in museum collections and libraries. Classic works of Belarusian music and drama are regularly staged in concert halls and theatres across the country.
Chernobyl: what are the risks?
The Chernobyl disaster in neighbouring Ukraine in 1986 was the world’s worst nuclear accident. More than 60% of the fallout from the plant affected Belarusian territory.
The worst affected region of Belarus was the Gomel region in the south-east of the country. While travellers to Gomel or Belarus may understandably have some concerns about radiation, it is now scientifically accepted that the danger to health for visitors to Belarus is minimal.