In Belarus more than anywhere else, the geography explains the country's history. At the heart of Europe, along the road of the great invasions and coveted by all, Belarus was continuously occupied and invaded.
39% of the 801,000 miČ that make up Belarus are covered in woods. The country is a vast plain that is one third covered by forests which are among Europe's last primary forests. Over 61,000 miles of rivers and 11,000 lakes complete the landscape, which is why Belarus is also called "blue-eyed Belarus". Belarus has one of the largest marsh regions in Europe; like the forests, it covers one third of the country.
The forests of Belarus, comprised of pine, fir, birch, elm and beech trees, are home to a particularly rich fauna.
Some fifty species of mammals, including wild boar, elk, lynx, wild horses, mink and bison, live on the Belarus territory. Many species were listed as endangered before the government of Belarus intervened and launched an intense campaign for their protection.
The Belovezhskaya Pushcha National Park is a beautiful example of this environmental protection policy and is famous for its European bison. Plus, the many lakes and rivers of Belarus are also home to a large diversity of animals.
Because of the numerous invasions the country has subdued throughout history, the Belarusans have become champions of identically rebuilding things. 80% of the countries largest cities and towns were destroyed during the Second World War. The city of Minsk was entirely rebuilt between 1944 and 1960.
The people of Belarus go out a lot and especially like going to the opera. It's true that music is one of the pillars of the country's culture. A long tradition of religious and folk music gave birth to several original musical trends, ranging from opera to folk rock. The yearly Vitebsk musical festival brings together Ukrainians, Poles, Serbs, Czechs and Georgians for ten or so days to celebrate Slavic music. However, Russia considers the festival to be a Pan-Slav coalition and is thus not a keen supporter of it.