Belarus - At a glance

Belarus at a glance

Location Eastern Europe
Neighbouring countries Borders Russian Federation, Ukraine, Poland, Latvia and Lithuania. The country is completely landlocked.
Size Total state border length 2,969km; area 207,600km2; maximum width west to east 650km; length 560km north to south
Geography Lowland terrain, with a mean elevation above sea level of only 160m, the highest point being 345m. Natural vegetation over around 70% of area, of which 38% is forest. Also 20,000 rivers and streams and 11,000 lakes, with significant areas of marsh territory.
Climate Moderately continental, with cold winters and warm summers.
Average temperature January –6.7°C, July 17.8°C. Annual rainfall 550–750mm.
Status Republic
Population 9,345,000 (density 45/km2) (2014)
Life expectancy Male 66 years, female 77 years (2011 estimates)
Administrative divisions Six regions (oblasts), comprising 118 administrative districts
Capital city Minsk (population 1,921,000) (2014)
Other major cities Brest, Grodno, Vitebsk, Mogilev and Gomel
Economy Largely unchanged since Soviet times and currently around 80% state controlled
GDP US$63.3 billion in total, US$6,795 per capita (2012 estimates)
People Ethnic Belarusians (81%), Russians (11%), Poles (4%), Ukrainians (2%) and the remaining 2% comprising Jews, Lithuanians, Tatars, Azerbaijanis, Armenians, Latvians, Koreans, Germans, Georgians, Ossets, Moldavians and travelling people
Languages Belarusian and Russian have equal status as state languages
Religion Russian Orthodox, Roman Catholicism and Judaism
Currency Belarusian rouble (BYR) (for up-to-date exchange rates, go to
National airline/airport Belavia/Minsk-2 National
International dialling code +375
Time GMT +2
Electrical voltage 220–240 volts
Weights and measures Metric
Flag Two broad horizontal stripes of red and green, red being double the area of green, with traditional patterning of red on a white border down the left-hand side
National anthem ‘Mbl, Senapycbl’ (‘We Belarusians’)
National flower Flax
National bird/animal Black stork/European bison
National sport Ice hockey
Public holidays 1 January (New Year’s Day), 7 January (Orthodox Christmas), 8 March (Women’s Day), Orthodox Easter, Catholic Easter, Radaunista (Ancestors’ Remembrance Day) on the ninth day after Orthodox Easter, 1 May (Labour Day), 9 May (Victory Day, a glorious celebration of the end of the ‘Great Patriotic War’), 3 July (Independence Day), 7 November (October Revolution Day), 25 December (Catholic Christmas)

Back to the top

Belarus articles

View all

The world’s most bizarre buildings

From UFO towers to churches made of icing, these are our favourite bizarre but beautiful buildings from around the globe. 


13 European national parks that you’ve probably never heard of

There are many national parks in Europe that remain fairly unknown. Here you can discover 13 of the best. Why miss out on visiting somewhere spectacular? 


On the border

Author Nigel Roberts had an interesing experience at the Belarus–Ukraine border...


Related guides and other books

View all