Holidays and events in Belarus
There are a number of public holidays that do not have a fixed date, but are based on the time of Easter. Easter falls on the first Sunday following the first full moon after the beginning of spring. Lent, which lasts 46 days, begins on Ash Wednesday and ends on Holy Saturday. Pentecost is 50 days after Easter. The Corpus Christi festival is celebrated on the 2nd Thursday after Pentecost. All Saints’ Day is celebrated for Orthodox Christians on the 1st Sunday after Pentecost, but for Catholic Christians the date is fixed on November 1st.
On October 31, Protestants celebrate Reformation Day. The Halloween festival also takes place on this day.
|January 1||New Year|
|January 7||Russian Orthodox Christmas|
|8th of March||women’s Day|
|March, 15||Constitution Day|
|March April||Catholic Easter|
|March April||Russian Orthodox Easter|
|1st of May||Labor Day|
|May 9||Victory Day (World War 2)|
|10th of May||Radauniza (Orthodox Remembrance Day)|
|3rd of July||Independence DayOn July 3, 1944, Minsk was liberated from Nazi Germany|
|11. -12. September||Day of Minsk|
|November 7||October Revolution Day|
|25 December||Catholic Christmas|
Source: Countryaah – Belarus Holidays
The festivals of the Russian Orthodox Church are calculated according to the old Julian calendar, which is currently 13 days behind the otherwise commonly used Gregorian calendar.
Therefore, Christmas Eve is not celebrated until the night of January 6th to 7th. The most important Orthodox church festival is Easter. Before the feast, the faithful renounce meat and dairy products for 40 days.
Annually there are several music festivals and other cultural events in Belarus, including in April the “Minsk Spring”, in June the Poetry Festival on Lake Svityaz, in July the International Art Festival “Slavic Bazaar” in Vitebsk and the International Folklore Festival in Bobruisk and in November “Belarusian Autumn Music” in Minsk.
Belarus has a temperate continental climate. Winters are cold, summers warm.
The cheapest travel time for Belarus is between May and October. But there is also the opinion that the country is most beautiful in autumn because of its many forests.
- Abbreviationfinder.org: Presents the way that BY stands for the nation of Belarus as a two-letter acronym.
UNESCO World Heritage Sites
Architectural and cultural heritage of the Radziwill noble family in Nieswiez
The architectural and cultural heritage of the noble family was added to the UNESCO World Heritage List in 2005
National Park The national park was added to the UNESCO World Heritage List in 1979 and expanded in 1992.
The castle was added to the UNESCO World Heritage List in 2000. Struve Arch The Struve Arch is a cross-border scientific monument with a length of 2,821 km and has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 2005.
Academy of Sciences in Minsk
The tall building was built in 1939, but burned down during the Second World War. It was rebuilt in 1949 and since then has impressed above all with the column colonnade in the entrance area.
Memorial in honor of the Soviet Army
20 kilometers from Minsk rises a 70-meter high memorial that can be seen from afar. A simple mound of earth with four 35 meter high obelisks, to which two long concrete stairs lead up, is intended to commemorate the Soviet soldiers of the Second World War.
Fortress in Brest
The building, which was defended against the German troops even during World War II, is now a museum.
Palace ensemble of the Radziwiłłs in Njaswisch
The architectural heritage of the noble family includes the residential palace and the Corpus Christi church with its paintings. The buildings from the 16th century were declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Pistschalowski Castle in Minsk
The building, which was built in 1825, looks like a Gothic castle from the outside, but has always had a different function. Since its construction, the city prison has been located behind thick walls, guarded by high towers.
City Hall of Minsk
When the Minsk region was annexed to Tsarist Russia, the old city hall was demolished. It was not until 2002 that the construction of the new town hall began on the historic site. The construction project was completed in just two years. Since then, the building has been shining again in its old classicist style, as it was in the 18th century. It is located on Freedom Square.
Ruins of the fortress Lida
The building was built from 1323 to 1325 by Prince Gedimin on an artificial island specially raised for this purpose at the confluence of the Kamenka and Lideja rivers. For centuries it was one of the most powerful citadels in Belarus Up to 3 meters thick and 12 meters high, southern outer wall made of field stones. However, the facility is currently being restored.
Castle in Mir
The castle, originally built in the Gothic style towards the end of the 15th century, was initially rebuilt during the Renaissance and Baroque periods, then fell into disrepair and was rebuilt at the end of the 19th century. Today it is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Special places and parks
Chelyuskinites Park in Minsk
The 78 hectare park was established between 1928 and 1932. It borders the Minsk Botanical Garden. There is an amusement park in part of the park. One of its attractions is the children’s railway, which is run entirely by young people. The park can be reached via the Park Chalyuskintsau metro station.
Janka Kupala Park in Minsk
The park stretches along the banks of the Svislatsch and is very popular with the people of Minsk. A memorial to the poet Janka Kupala has been erected in it since 1972, and a spring rises at his feet. Ferns grow next to her, the sight of which is believed to bring happiness to the people. Several fountains beautify the park, which also houses the Janka Kupala Literature Museum.
Independence Square (Lenin Square) in Minsk
The central square is larger than the Red Square in Moscow or the Place de Concorde in Paris. The Belarusian government building rises to his side. The monumental, symmetrical building, which consists of several parts of different sizes, was built in 1934. It served as a model for Belarusian-Soviet architecture. In front of the building, a seven-meter-high bronze statue of Lenin rises above the square. The post office is on Independence Square, with four large reliefs on the facade. They deal with the topics of the October Revolution, defense of the homeland, industrialization of the country and collectivization of agriculture. Other buildings on the square are the university, the pedagogical college, the administration of the Minsk Metro and the Saint Simeon and Elena Church.
Museums and memorials
Open-air museum Dudutki
Here visitors can get an insight into the traditional rural way of life in this region, including a blacksmith’s workshop, a pottery and a cheese factory.
Birthplace of the artist Marc Chagall in Vitebsk
The museum in the artist’s former parents’ house shows the original furniture and utensils from the turn of the century, personal testimonies and photographs as well as illustrations by Chagall from his Vitebsk period.
About 54 kilometers from Minsk there has been a memorial since July 5, 1969, the 25th anniversary of Belarus’ liberation from German occupation. In a massacre at this point, an entire village was destroyed by the Wehrmacht and all residents except for the village blacksmith and his three children were killed. Today only the remaining chimneys of the destroyed houses remind of this crime. A “village cemetery” commemorates all of the villages destroyed in Belarus and their murdered residents. Every fourth Belarusian was killed by the Second World War and the cruel German occupation.
Museum of History and Archeology of Brest
Here, among other things, exhibits on the city’s history, which dates back to the 13th century, are on display.
Marc Chagall Art Center in Vitebsk
The museum, founded in 1992, shows lithographs, etchings, woodcuts and aquatints by the artist, including parts of the 1923-1925 illustration series for Nikolaj Gogol’s poem “The Dead Souls” and the color lithograph series “The Bible” (1956-1960) and the color lithograph cycle “The 12 Tribes of Israel” from 1960.
Museum of the History of the Great Patriotic War in Minsk
The museum displays an extensive collection of documents from the Second World War. The focus is on the struggle of the Soviet Army and the partisans in Belarus.
Museum of Folk Architecture and Lifestyle of Belarus
About 12 kilometers southwest of Minsk there has been an open-air museum since 1976, which offers an insight into the traditional Belarusian way of life and construction. Settlement structures from six regions of the country have been recreated in a typical way on over 200 hectares. Even if the different regions are characterized by differences in the way the buildings are constructed, what they have in common is the almost exclusive use of wood.
National Museum of History and Natural History in Minsk
In several permanent exhibitions exhibits on the history and nature of Belarus are on display. In one part of the museum changing exhibitions are shown regularly.
National Art Museum
A collection of old icons, paintings and graphic works is shown in a clearly arranged permanent exhibition. In addition to the permanent exhibition, there are regular special exhibitions on various topics.
Churches and monasteries
Resurrection Monastery in the village of Shirovitsa.
The main building dates from the 15th century, the convent and theological seminar were opened in the 17th and 18th centuries. Century built.
Church in Njaswisch The construction of what is probably the world’s oldest Jesuit church was built by the Italian architect Bernardoni and contains frescoes that are well worth seeing.
Carmelite monastery in Glubokoe
Particularly worth seeing is the associated baroque monastery church of the “Birth of the Mother of God” from the middle of the 17th century.
Cathedral of the Blessed Virgin Mary in Minsk
Svabody Square 9 The three-nave basilica was built between 1700 and 1710 as a monastery church of a Jesuit monastery. Two towers frame the main facade, which is adorned with pediments decorated with columns and figures. The church was partially damaged during the Second World War and was used as a sports hall after 1945. It was reconstructed in the early 1990s.
Peter and Paul Church in Minsk
Astrauska 4 The orthodox church is one of the oldest preserved buildings in the city. The baroque church was built between 1611 and 1613. With its thick walls and high windows, the church could also be used as a fortress during the wars of religion. At the time of the Soviet Union there was an archive inside. The church has been extensively reconstructed since 1990.
St. Sophia Cathedral in Polotsk
The 11th century church was destroyed several times in the past, the current reconstruction was based on the 12th century design.
Beresina Biosphere Reserve
Between the source of the Beresina and the Palik lake lie primeval forests, wetlands and deep rivers with their rich flora and fauna. The rare dwarf birches grow here, there are beavers, minks and otters as well as specimens of the now rare black storks. Moose and bears live in the forests.
Braslauer Seenplatte in the north and northwest of the country
The more than 30 larger and smaller lakes with their many islets are embedded in a forest landscape and are connected by numerous canals.
Protected landscape area Beloweschskaja Puschta on the border with Poland
The original forests are still home to rare wild animals such as bison, lynx, bears and wolves. There are giant trees up to 500 years old and there are 216 species of birds, including capercaillie, hazel grouse, woodcock and quail. Black storks can also still be observed. The reserve is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
At around 80 km², the largest lake in the country reaches a depth of up to 25 m. It is surrounded by pine forests and its clear water is home to around 24 species of fish.
Pripyat Landscape and Water Protected Area
The largest oak forest in the world is located in the middle of swamp and moorland, which is home to numerous and sometimes rare animal species. However, the region is probably contaminated as a result of the Chernobyl disaster (Ukraine) in 1986.
UNESCO World Heritage Sites
Architectural and cultural heritage of the Radziwill family in Nieswiez
Mikołaj Czarny Radziwiłł was born in Lithuania in 1515 and died in Nieśwież in 1565.
He was raised to the rank of imperial prince by Charles V () in 1547. He became a Calvinist and published a Bible written in Polish.
The family later returned to Catholicism. The Radziwill family influenced the science, culture and art of the country from Nieswiez and also gave a number of impulses to architecture in Europe.
The family possessions included the residential palace and the Corpus Christi Church.
The family’s pictures are also part of the legacy.
The architectural and cultural heritage of the noble family was added to the UNESCO World Heritage List in 2005
Belovezhskaya Pushcha/Bialowieza National Park
The entire park is cross-border and is also located in Poland. In Belarus it is about 70 km north of Brest.
The national park covers an area of 876 km² – the entire biosphere reserve, of which it is a part, covers an area of around 1,771 km² in Belarus.
The area is particularly rich in endemic animals and endemic plants.
Numerous species of birds live here, such as cranes, black storks, white-tailed eagles, pygmy owls, jays, eagle owls, white storks as well as little eagles and short-toed eagles.
The mammal species include numerous bat species, elk, foxes, ermines, lynxes, otters and beavers, roe deer and deer, weasels, wild boars, bison and even wolves.
Many species of amphibians and reptiles also live here. For mushroom pickers it should be noted that over 500 species of mushrooms are native here.
In earlier times the Russian tsar used the jungle area for hunting. Between 1915 and 1929 the forest was cut down indiscriminately and the animal population was drastically reduced. From 1929 onwards, Poland began to reforest the area and animals were bought from various zoos and released there.
The national park was added to the UNESCO World Heritage List in 1979 and expanded in 1992 and 2014.
Mir Castle dates from the 16th century and is located near the city of Mir.
With its Gothic, Renaissance and Baroque architectural elements, the castle is an example of so-called magnate architecture from the time of Polish-Lithuanian rule.
The appearance of the castle is characterized by its five brick towers. In 1568 the castle became the property of Prince Radziwiłł, who had the complex expanded into a noble residence. The external impression is much more reminiscent of a fortress than a castle.
The castle was added to the UNESCO World Heritage List in 2000.
The Struve Arch is a cross-border scientific monument with a length of 2,821 km and has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 2005.
This geodetic survey sheet covers ten countries.
It starts in Hammerfest in Norway and then continues through Sweden, Finland, Russia, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Belarus, Moldova and ends in Ukraine. There is a chain of geodetic measuring stations on the Struve Arch. It was used to measure parts of the earth’s surface and had its origins in the Tartu observatory in Estonia, of which Struve was director from 1820-1839. More details under Struve arches.