Be­larus: A Coun­try of 10,000 Lakes

Beijing (English) - - CONTENTS -

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.”

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