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Official Name Republika Belarus (Republic of Belarus)
Capital Minsk
Population 10.1 million
Area 207,600 sq km or 80,154 sq mi
Currency Ruble ($1=1,475)
Religion Christianity
Literacy 98%
Languages Belorussian, Russian
Major Cities Gomel, Vitebsk
Climate Temperate continental climate

A former Soviet Republic, Belarus gained independence in December 1991. A landlocked country, Belarus is also known for its numerous lakes, around thousands of them, the largest being Lake Narach in the northwest.

Belarus Map
Physical Map of Belarus
The country of Belarus consists of flat terrain which is filled with many forests, lakes, and marshes. The geographical regions of Belarus can be divided into four parts: the firs part in the north consists of lakes, hills, and forests; the second part in the west consists of agricultural region with mixed-conifer forests; the third part in the east consists of a broad elevated plain; and the fourth part in the south consists of Poles'ye, a lowland of rivers and swamps that extends into Ukraine. The highest mountain of Belarus, Mount Dzyarzhynskaya (1,135 ft), is located in the southwest of Minsk. Known of its rivers and lakes, the largest river to run through Belarus is the Dnieper, which flows southward, almost the entire length of the country in the east, passing through the city of Mahilyow.

Location of Belarus
Belarus is bordered by Russia towards the east, Ukraine towards the south, Poland towards the west, and the Baltic republics of Latvia and Lithuania towards the northwest.

Climate of Belarus
The climate of Belarus is temperate and continental in nature. The weather is cool but suffers high humidity. Precipitation occurs in every two days, in the form of either rain or snow. Sometimes, the north experiences extreme weather, where the temperature can plummet to -40°C or below.

Flag of Belarus

The flag of Belarus consists of a red horizontal band at the top and a green horizontal band, one-half the width of the red band at the bottom. A white vertical stripe on the hoist side bears a Belarusian national ornament, red in colour.

Flora And Fauna of Belarus
Belarus has extensive forests including Coniferous forests having pine as the principal tree, spruce, oak, birch, alder, and ash trees. The country also has the oldest existing European forest and the sanctuary of the virtually extinct European bison called the Belovezhskaya Pushcha Reserve to boast about. Coming to the country's fauna, Belarus has more than 70 species of mammals, including deer, fox, wild pig, wolves, and the common squirrel; 280 species of birds, including doves, kestrels, wrens, bullfinches, and woodpeckers. The forests of Belarus are home to snakes and vipers, while rivers are the habitat of fur-bearing animals such as mink and otter.

The people of Belarus were greatly influenced by the Soviet rule, the traces of which can be still found among them - like over 90 percent of the population speak only Russian, while the native Belarusian language remains confined to the rural areas alone. The Belarusians can be broadly divided into five ethnic groups- the people of original Belarusian descent, Russians, Poles, Ukrainians and Jews.

Known for their strong family ties, the people of Belarus are also great sports lovers and excel in gymnastics and rowing. Other popular sports include Soccer, basketball, and ice hockey.

Arts, Culture and Music of Belarus
Belarus is famous for its opera and ballet, which always have the audience asking for more. There are theatres like the Opera and Ballet Theater in Minsk, which holds regular and well-attended performances. Belarus is also famous for musical comedy, which is held at the popular Theater of Musical Comedy Minsk. Besides this, their love for music has many orchestra groups performing every now and then. Drama also plays a central role in the culture of Belarus, with the leading drama theater being the Yanka Kupala Beslarusian State Academic Theater, located in Minsk. Other major theaters include the Gorky Russian Theater in Babruysk, and the Yakub Kolas Belarusian State Academic Theater in Minsk. Apart from all this, there is another theater at Minsk known as Vol'naya Stsena, which focuses on Belarusian drama and classics.

Economy of Belarus
The economy of Belarus has the contribution of approximately 5.3 million people, which make up for the labor force, out of which 35 percent are employed in industry; 21 percent in agriculture and forestry; and 40 percent in services such as trade and ransportation. The years between 1991 and 1996 saw high average annual rates of inflation, which severely caused hindrance in the economic growth of the country, which in turn drove up prices for food and services. In the same period, annual output fell in almost all the sectors of the economy.

Most of the industries, including farming and manufacturing, are owned by the government and the year 1996 saw the private sector's share of the country's gross domestic product (GDP) being estimated at 15 percent, the lowest of all Eastern European countries. In 2001, the GDP was an estimated $12.2 billion in which trade and other services accounted for 50 percent of GDP; industry, including mining and manufacturing, 39 percent; and agriculture and forestry, 11 percent.