Belarus: A Country of 10,000 Lakes
The Republic of Belarus is a landlocked country in Eastern Europe bordered by Russia, Latvia, Poland, Lithuania and Ukraine. Lying on the Eastern European plains, it is relatively flat with an average altitude of 160 m and contains large tracts of marshy land. It is a multi-ethnic country with more than 100 ethnic groups. Belarusians account for 83.7 percent of the total population, Russians 8.3 percent and Poles 3.1 percent. Most people live in or near big cities such as Minsk, which is its captial.
Belarus is famous for its beautiful natural scenery, such as rivers, lakes and dense forests. It is cool in the summer, golden in the autumn and snowy in the winter. There are over 20,000 rivers in Belarus, including the Dnieper, Pripyat, West Dvina and Neman, with a total length of more than 90,000 km. More than 10,000 lakes dot the landscape, earning Belarus the moniker “Country of 10,000 Lakes.” Belarus also has nearly 8 million ha of forest, mainly of coniferous trees, with a coverage rate of 39 percent. They are composed mainly of pines, spruces, birches and oaks. Belarus' Belovezhskaya Nature Reserve is also well known in Europe.
“Welcome to Belarus!” Two young men from the Belarusian Embassy in China, wearing traditional Belarusian costumes, warmly greeted a reporter. Belarusian traditional clothing was originally influenced by the style of the Kievan Rus period. Men wear white linen embroidered shirts with vests and white knee-length trousers with white leggings. Women wear white embroidered shirts, a long white skirt with a striped or square pattern, a woolen apron over the skirt and a brightly-patterned, beautiful headscarf.
The country is an increasingly popular tourist destination because of its cultural riches and natural attractions. Eastern and Western architectural styles, and traditional and modern architectural features coexist beautifully in its cities. The country's cultural diversity is unique. Ethnic traditions and international elements mix well together. Belarus is home to well- conserved historical sites, supplemented by emerging street pop culture. The virgin forests and pristine lakes are ideal destinations for photographers. Visitors can travel to birch forests where they can learn about the real lives of residents and experience the forests' unique charm. Belarus's countryside is an ideal place for people to relax and get close to nature, and escape from the urban hustle and bustle. Visitors who leave the cities can feel inspired, communicate with nature and find themselves again. Pure mineral water, underground salt mine therapy, fresh air and medical mud are other products from the country's natural environment and are much sought after in Europe. Belarussian cosmetics made from natural ingredients are becoming increasingly famous as well.
At the event, hospitable staff members presented handicrafts featuring Belarusian national characteristics, including hand-woven dolls in traditional national costumes, badges and postcards printed with images of famous tourist attractions. “This is so beautiful, what animal is it?”asked one passer-by. Staff patiently answered visitors' questions and explained common patterns on the wooden handicrafts. “This is the black stork,” said one staffer. “It is the national bird of our Belarus.”
Chinese people could also get a deeper understanding of the country through “100 Things to Do in Belarus'' brochure, which was being offered at the booth. In addition to providing tourist information, it explains the new agreement between the Chinese and Belarusian governments on exempting visa requirements for regular passport holders. According to the agreement, which took effect on August 10, 2018, citizens of Belarus and China can stay without a visa for no longer than 30 days, or a total of 90 days in a calendar year, in each other's country. This system includes tourism and business-related travel. Belarus became one of the first European countries to establish a mutual visa-free system with China. A young person working at the country's booth: “Welcome to Belarus. As a country along the Belt and Road, we welcome Chinese people to come to our country and experience our culture. I hope more Chinese people will come to Belarus and have a look.”