Belarus is a country with about 10 million people in Eastern Europe. It is landlocked between Russia, Poland, Ukraine, Latvia, and Lithuania some 100 miles South-East of Baltic Sea.
Geography of the country
Belarus is a heavily forested, flat, low-lying country that includes the Polotsk Lowland (north) and the Dnieper Lowland (south). A few areas of rolling hills in the west blend into the lowlands. The extensive Pripyat marshes cover the southern reaches of the country. The country’s highest point, the Dzerzhinsky Hill, stands at 1,135 ft. (346m). Its lowest point is on the Neman River at 90 meters (295 ft).
Rivers and streams
The country has no outlet to the sea, but thanks to the geographical position Belarus is an important trade and transport corridor between Europe and the CIS countries. The territory of Belarus is water separate for basins of the Baltic and Black seas. Belarus’s 3,000 streams and 4,000 lakes are major features of the landscape and are used for floating timber, shipping, and power generation. Major rivers are the west-flowing Western Dvina and Nyoman rivers, and the south-flowing Dniapro River with its tributaries, the Berezina, Sozh, and Prypyat rivers.
In Belarus, there are 10,8 thousand lakes. The deepest, various on outlines and picturesque lakes are in the Belarusian Poozerye. The biggest lake Naroch occupies the space about 80 sq.km. Also, 136 artificial reservoirs the largest of which – Vileyskoye by the sizes (79,2 sq.km) is comparable to the lake Naroch are created a land since the period of Kievan Rus’.
Across the territory of the country pass the shortest transport ways connecting Western and Eastern Europe to the Central and East regions of Russia, on the one hand, of the coast of the Baltic and Black seas with another. The main of them are highways: Berlin-Brest-Minsk-Moscow, and also Helsinki-Sankt-St. Petersburg-Vitebsk-Gomel-Kyiv.
The total land area of Belarus is more than 207,000 square kilometers.
Nearly one-third of the country is covered with pushchairs, large unpopulated tracts of forests. Share of the area covered with forests ranges from 34% in the Brest and Hrodna regions to 45% in the Homiel region. Forests cover 36–37.5% of the Minsk, Mahilioŭ and Vitsebsk regions. Districts with the highest percentage of areas covered by forests are Rasony and Lielčycy, in the extreme northern and southern parts of Belarus respectively. The level of woodiness had declined during history – from 60% in 1600 AD to 22% in 1922 but started to increase in the middle of the 20th century. The Białowieża Forest, shared with Poland in the far west, is the oldest and most magnificent of the forests; a reservation here shelters animals and birds that became extinct elsewhere in the distant past.
Flora and fauna
In Belarus, nearly 1,500 species of vascular plants (including 1,422 flowering plants), 450 mosses, 2,000 algae, and 1,500 fungus species are known. In the north, conifers predominate in forests that also include birch and alder; farther south, other deciduous trees grow. Pines compose 50.2% of total forest area, spruces – 10%, black alder – 8.2%, oaks – 3.3%, gray alder – 2.3%, aspen – 2.1%.15.4% of Belarus is covered by meadows with one third being natural and the rest being specially cultivated. The most common plants on natural meadows are Deschampsia and several different sedges. Animals in Belarus are quite common to Central and Eastern Europe.
Because of the proximity of the Baltic Sea, the country has a temperate continental climate. Winters last between 105 and 145 days and summers last up to 150 days. The average temperature in January is −6 °C (21 °F), and the average temperature for July is about 18 °C (64 °F), with high humidity. Average temperature for July ranges from 17.5 °C (64 °F) in the north, 18.5–19 °C (66 °F) in the south. For January, it ranges from −4.5 °C (24 °F) in the southwest to −8 °C (18 °F) in the northeast. The average annual precipitation ranges from 550 to 700 millimeters (21.7 to 27.6 in) and is sometimes excessive.
The National Parks are a huge part of the country’s identity. The people of Belarus are particularly proud of their country’s national parks. Belovezhskaya Pushcha National Park is a preserved part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site Białowieża Forest in Belarus since 1992. Later, the Council of Europe stated that the park was one of the most conservation-conscious areas. Many animals can be found in these parks, i.e., red deer, wild boar, and elk.
Belarus has 6 areas with the centers in Minsk, Brest, Vitebsk, Gomel, Grodno, and Mogilev. Each area shares on areas, the cities, and other territorial and administrative units. In Belarus, more than 1000 cities, including 12 cities with a population of over 100 thousand people are located.