Still a largely rural economy, Belarus is a land of picturesque villages, wide plains, forests, lakes and national parks where bison, bears and wolves can be found. It may not be the most talked about of countries, but it does have its place in history. Polotsk, the oldest city in the country, boasts an ancient cathedral, fortress and convent, Brest, enjoys WWII Hero City status, 20th century artist Marc Chagall was born in Vitebak and Russia signed the agreement which declared the dissolution of the Soviet Union in Viskuli.
Despite the capital’s lack of sights from the pre-war years, travellers can still find many reminders of the Soviet period in Minsk. Communist-era buildings and statues of Lenin are now mixed in with a generous helping of fi e restaurants, trendy cafés, art galleries and sophisticated shops.
Travel outside of the capital to discover the beautiful 16th century fairytale castle in Mir, and the former palace home of the Radzivili family in the historic settlement of Njasvizh, both listed as UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
Chernobyl Heart is a UK-based charity raising funds to buy equipment for Gomel Children’s Hospital in southeast Belarus, many of whose young patients are suffering the long-term after-effects of the 1986 nuclear disaster. Visit the website at www.chernobylheart.org.uk to find out more and make your donation securely online.
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