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Health resorts in Belarus


Health resorts in Belarus

Belarus has long gained popularity as a wonderful place for rest and recreation. Our country attracts guests from all over the world:

- mild climate
- amazingly beautiful nature and favorable ecology
- high-class equipped sanatoriums and health centers
- professional doctors and medical personnel
- highly effective complexes of medical procedures

Mineral waters, medicinal mud, healing air of pine and mixed forests, environmentally clean natural products are used for recovery of patients in Belarusian sanatoriums. And, of course, effective physical therapy procedures.

Belarusian sanatoriums are unique in many ways. For example, such sapropelic mud with a special composition, as in the famous sanatorium "Radon" is no longer found anywhere in Belarus and in the world, and radon water from local springs are not inferior to the healing properties of such resorts as Tskhaltubo, Matsesta. The mineral water of the "Porechye" sanatorium is identical to the healing springs of Druskininkai...

In Belarus, there is the only spelaria in the CIS, where you can take a course of treatment and recovery in an underground mine. Besides, many sanatoriums in Belarus have speleo-rooms, laid out in blocks with a rare combination of layers of red and white salt from the ancient Starobinskoye deposit.

The largest balneo-mud and climatic resort of the country is situated in the vicinity of the largest lake of Belarus Naroch. There is also the only resort village in Belarus - Naroch.

Belarusian health resorts are built in ecologically clean areas - in pine forests, on the banks of lakes and rivers. Many of them are situated in the immediate vicinity or in the territory of the protected natural areas, including the largest state nature reserves:

- Narochansky National Park (11 health and recreation facilities)
- Berezinskiy biosphere reserve (sanatoria "Borovoye", "Lesnoe").
- Belovezhskaya Pushcha National Park (Belaya Vezha sanatorium)
- National park "Braslav Lakes" (children's sanatorium "Rosinka")

In spite of the fact that Belarus has no sea coast where the resorts appeared in the first place, the sanatorium treatment in our country has centuries-long traditions.

Sanatorium treatment in Belarus

The history of health resort treatment in Belarus began in the mid ХІХ century, but the prototypes of sanatoriums existed before.

Already in the XVI century the springs of healing waters in Barkovshchina (now Ushachsky district, Vitebsk region) were indicated on the European maps. By 1830 there was a health resort, which took baths and drank mineral water. And in 1855 the doctor Nemirovsky created in this place a private sanatorium, where people from all over Europe came for treatment. Today there is a sanatorium "Forest Lakes" in the old spa area.

In 1892 the talented Belarusian physicist, physician and inventor Jakub Narkevich-Iodko opened the sanatorium "Nad Nyoman" in his estate (now Uzden district, Minsk region).

Here the most advanced methods of health improvement were practiced, including therapeutic baths, special exercises, mineral waters, and dietary nutrition. And most importantly - electrotherapy and electromassage, developed and patented by Narkevich-Iodko himself. In 1986 the sanatorium opened koumiss-therapy facility, where under the guidance of a doctor assistants from Bashkiria prepared healing koumiss for patients.

In the vicinity of the former estate Nadnyoman today operates the sanatorium "Podyelniki".

At the beginning of the twentieth century in Belarus there were summer health resorts in the village of Novinki (1904) and Smorgovka (1913) near Minsk. The first in the BSSR were opened sanatoriums in the tract Barkovshchina, Ushach district (1919), "Sosnovka" (1921) and "Chyonki" (1922).

In recent decades, built the majority of sanatoriums, which are constantly updated and accept those wishing to undergo recuperation and rest in Belarus.

Belarusian health resorts and spas today

In Belarus today work:

sanatoriums - 76
children's rehabilitation and recreation centers - 13
holiday centres, rest homes, boarding houses - 102
Health centers (complexes) - 22

The methods of treatment and recovery at sanatoriums of Belarus are developed taking into account the latest achievements of modern medicine. Here offer treatment of various diseases (medical profile):

- circulatory system
- digestive organs
- nervous system
- musculoskeletal system and connective tissue
- respiratory system
- female reproductive organs
- urogenital system
- cardiovascular system
- endocrine system
- musculoskeletal system
- skin
- visual organs
- metabolism
- general medicine

The calling card of Belarusian sanatoriums has long been balneotherapy. Water procedures - baths, showers, lavage, irrigation, inhalations, medicinal drinking - are carried out using natural mineral waters, as well as the purest fresh water with plant extracts, aroma oils...

Almost all Belarusian sanatoriums use water from their own mineral springs and underground wells, as well as sapropelic and peat mud for treatment.

Efficient physiotherapeutic procedures are performed with the help of modern equipment. Some sanatoria provide up to 200 kinds of medical services.

There are massage rooms, baths and saunas, cryosaunas, acupuncture, treatment with leeches, bees...

In 2017, a cooling tower was opened in the sanatorium "Priozerny" of Narochanskiy health resort. This first in the Belarusian resorts pavilion for evaporating sea salt is built of coniferous wood and birch branches, along which the saturated solution flows, turning the air around into an aerosol of trace elements. And now vacationers on the shore of a freshwater lake have the opportunity to undergo health improvement, including the healing sea microclimate.

Today Belarusian sanatoriums actively use different spa technologies. Certain types of procedures - Spa-capsules, wraps, baths - are available almost in all health resorts.

But more and more often modern spa centers and salons are opened in sanatoriums, where vacationers are offered whole Spa programs. They include baths with sea water and salt, dozens of massages (classical and oriental practices), mud treatment, algal applications, tonic wrappings, and stone therapy.

Such spa centers and salons work in sanatoriums Yunost, Priozerny, and Ozerny, as well as in Belarusian health resorts abroad. The remarkable spa center of sanatorium "Yunost" (Minsk region) - "Slavic SPA", created in the old Slavic style (design, special music, traditional smells, procedures, based on ancient recipes) - for the first time in Belarus awarded a certificate of European quality "EuropeSpa".

Some of the largest resorts in Belarus are Naroch, Zhdanovichi, Rogachev, Ushachi. Small resorts are also popular: Bobruisk, Lettsy, Chyonki.

There are 11 sanatoriums and health resorts in the most famous resort area of Naroch. Among them are sanatoriums "Naroch", "Sosny", "Belaya Rus", "Narochanskiy Bereg", "Priozerny", "Sputnik", "Zhuravushka", tourist complex "Naroch", National Children Educational and Health Center "Zubrenok", recreation base "Lesnaya Polyana", health camp "Rusalochka".

The State Program of Development of the Narochansky Health Resort in 2011-2015 gave a powerful impetus to further transformations. Sanatoriums and tourist infrastructure in the unique natural area are being modernized, new modern services appear, the entertainment industry develops, and original tourist routes open. Everything is being done to turn Narochansky Krai into a world-class resort.

And in recent years Naroch is really becoming more and more attractive holiday destination. The resort is one of the three most popular in the CIS along with lakes Borovoe (Burabay, Kazakhstan) and Issyk-Kul (Kyrgyzstan); the Caspian Sea resort Lenkoran (Azerbaijan) and Sevan (Armenia) are also in the top-5.

Within the joint project of the Ministry of Sports and Tourism of Belarus and the European Union "Support for sustainable development of tourism in Belarus" Naroch (Myadel region) has become one of the five actively promoted tourist destinations of the country. When developing the brand "Naroch: The Source of Health" ("Belarusian Health Capital") its main advantages are medical tourism and active recreation surrounded by rare natural beauty as well as rich historical and cultural heritage and famous places of religious pilgrimage.

Belarusian sanatoriums abroad

Belarus does not have its own access to the sea, but Belarusian sanatoriums have been working in the famous resort areas of the Black Sea and the Baltic Sea since the Soviet Union times.

Sanatorium "Belaya Rus" (Tuapse, Russia)
Sanatorium "Belarus" (Sochi, Russia)
Sanatorium "Belorussia" (Miskhor, Crimea)
Sanatorium "Belorussia" (Jurmala, Latvia)
Sanatorium "Belarus" (Druskininkai, Lithuania)

These wonderfully equipped health resorts are visited by holidaymakers from all over the world.
How much does it cost to stay in Belarusian health resorts?

Prices for stays in the Belarusian health resorts vary for citizens of Belarus and foreign countries.
The cost of a tour to the Belarusian sanatoriums depends on the season, the comfort of the room, the number of days of stay, a set of basic and additional therapeutic procedures. In this case the Belarusian sanatoriums use a flexible system of discounts, "last minute" offers.

Approximate prices in sanatoriums of Belarus for foreign citizens in summer season 2021 (July-August).

Accommodation in a 2-bed room "standard" with meals and procedures (per day for 1 person):

Sanatorium "Naroch" - 1992RUB/23€
Sanatorium "Belaya Rus" - 2520RUB/39€
Sanatorium "Radon" - 3190RUB/35€
Sanatorium "Krinitsa" - 78Br
Yunost" Sanatorium - 4800RUB/52€
Sanatorium "Priozerny" - 3990RUB/€45
Sanatorium "Primorsky" - 2750RUB/€40
Sanatorium "Belaya Vezha" - 2800RUB/€31
Sanatorium "Belarus" (Sochi) - 5300RUB
Sanatorium "Belarus" (Druskininkai) - 66€

Additional procedures of treatment in sanatoriums are available for extra charge.

Also on arrival at the resort you must pay the spa fee - 3-5% of the cost of tickets.

Recuperation in sanatoriums of Belarus can easily be combined with a rich program of excursions and entertainment. For vacationers organized trips, during which you can see the sights of Belarus, visit theaters, to visit the interesting and unusual festivals.

Lovers of outdoor activities can go on a hike, car or water walk in the protected areas, fishing or hunting.

A pleasant addition to health and recreation in sanatoriums of Belarus will be shopping, during which you can buy products of famous Belarusian brands and exclusive souvenirs.

Posted by ptizafenix 12:14 Archived in Belarus Comments (0)

Tourist visas for Belarus


Tourist visas for Belarus

Most foreign visitors need a visa to enter Belarus. Depending on the purpose of the visit and the duration of stay, it can be transit, short-term and long-term, as well as entry visas are divided into single, double and multiple entry visas.

Citizens of some countries of the world can come to Belarus without a visa, if such procedure is stipulated by international treaties.

Besides, there are several visa-free regimes in Belarus, established by the decision of the head of state - with the approved terms and conditions of stay. Thanks to this, foreigners who usually need a Belarusian visa may also visit the country under a simplified procedure:

up to 30 days - to visit anywhere in Belarus on condition of arrival and departure through the National airport of Minsk and airports of regional cities, except for flights from the Russian Federation;
up to 15 days - to visit the visa-free zone (it also applies to the largest cities in the west of the country - Grodno and Brest) if you have previously issued a document for individual or group visits to the zone.

Read more about how to visit Belarus without a visa and the citizens of what states can take advantage of this opportunity - here.

Citizens of Lithuania and Latvia are allowed visa-free entry to Belarus from April 15 to May 15, 2022

Visa-free entry to Belarus for citizens of Lithuania and Latvia is allowed until the end of 2022.

Belarus allowed visa-free entry for Polish citizens from July 1 to December 31, 2022.
Attention: Information Concerning the Pandemic Coronavirus Infection COVID-19 in Europe and the World

From April 3, 2022, previously imposed restrictions on crossing the border under COVID-19 conditions have been lifted in Belarus.

At present, entry and exit restrictions at land and air international border crossing points in the Republic of Belarus are not restricted

for citizens of Belarus;
for foreign nationals and stateless persons (if they have a visa or use visa-free entry options).

Since May 28, 2022 foreign citizens can enter Belarus without PCR-tests and documents confirming vaccination against coronavirus.

All details about peculiarities of crossing the state border of the Republic of Belarus and documents required at the checkpoint can be found on the official website of the State Border Committee of the Republic of Belarus.
Who needs Belarusian visa

The majority of foreigners visiting Belarus require obtaining visa, except for cases when tourist suits to conditions of visa-free regime.

According to international agreements of the Republic of Belarus visa is not necessary:

Azerbaijani citizens
nationals of Argentina - for stay up to 90 days
nationals of Armenia
citizens of Brazil - for stay up to 90 days
nationals of Venezuela - for a stay up to 90 days
citizens of Georgia - for Georgians
Israeli nationals - for stays of up to 90 days within each period of 180 days
Kazakh citizens
Qatar nationals - for stays of up to 30 days
Chinese citizens - for a stay lasting up to 30 days, but not exceeding 90 days per calendar year; * Citizens of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of China - up to 30 days per journey; * Citizens of the Macao Special Administrative Region of China - up to 30 days, but not exceeding 90 days per calendar year
Citizens of Cuba - up to 30 days for a stay
Citizens of Kyrgyzstan
Citizens of Macedonia - with an invitation or a tourist voucher
Moldovan citizens
Mongolian nationals - for stays of up to 90 days
citizens of United Arab Emirates - for a stay not exceeding 90 days from the date of entry, within 180 days
Russian citizens
Serbian citizens - for a stay up to 30 days
nationals of Tajikistan - nationals of Turkey
Turkish citizens - for a stay up to 30 days
Citizens of Uzbekistan
citizens of Ukraine
Citizens of Montenegro - for stays up to 30 days
Citizens of Ecuador - for a stay up to 30 days.

Without visas (up to 180 days) can enter investors and other persons on the lists drawn up by the administration of the industrial park "Great Stone". In addition, Decree № 8 "On the development of the digital economy" establishes a visa-free entry procedure for foreign nationals hired by residents of the High Technology Park, as well as for the founders of HTP residents.

Holders of diplomatic passports of a number of states are also an exception.

All other foreigners require visas to visit Belarus.

===How to choose a visa===

Short-term visas (C) are the most commonly used type of visa. They are issued for up to 90 days and are suitable for:

Entry on private business.

Short-term visas can be for single, double or multiple entries, depending on need.

Tourists normally receive group short-stay visas through a travel agent.

Long-term visas (D) are issued for more than 90 days, but no more than five years, and provide for multiple entries into Belarus. They are suitable for:

frequent business travelers
tourists, willing to stay longer.

Transit visa (B) is issued for up to one year and provides the right to stay in the territory of Belarus for two days from the calendar date of entry for each transit trip.

How to get a visa

Visas are issued by:

- Belarusian diplomatic missions
- Belarusian consular offices
- Department on Arrival of Foreigners of the Main Consular Department of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Belarus at the National Airport Minsk (DIA of the MFA)

To get a visa, you need the following documents:

- filled-in visa application form (original, signed in person)
- recent passport photo (size 35x45 mm, the face should occupy 70-80% of the vertical, the photo must not be older than 6 months)
- passport (original, valid passport - at least 90 days after the expiry of the visa, at least 2 blank pages for visas) or another document, replacing it
- documents of visa support (depending on the purpose of the trip; petition, application, invitation, reservation confirmation, court summons, work permit, etc.)
- contract of medical insurance signed with Belgosstrakh or Beleximgarant, or contract of medical insurance signed with any foreign insurance company (it should cover the territory of Belarus, the amount of insurance should not be less than 10 000 EUR)
- confirmation of the consular fee payment
- other documents that may be requested by the consular officer

Visa on arrival

Foreign nationals arriving in Belarus through Minsk National Airport can obtain an entry visa directly at the airport.

To do this, it is necessary in advance, that is, no later than 2 working days before the expected date of arrival, to submit documents of visa support (original application and a copy of it) to the Department on the entry of foreigners of the main consular department of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Belarus.

In the case of a serious illness or death of a close relative (family member), documents of visa support can be submitted at the time of application for a visa.

You can submit the documents yourself (at the information desk of the Foreign Ministry's Consular Department on the first floor of sector 1/2 of the airport complex) or by mail, taking into account the delivery time.

Important: On the copy of the submitted document of visa support an employee of Visa and Information Department of the MFA SC will put a mark (stamp) which confirms that the documents of visa support were accepted. Such stamp is necessary at registration for foreign citizens who have no valid visas of the Republic of Belarus.

Address: 220054, Minsk, territory of National airport Minsk, Foreigners' Entry Department of Consular Department of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Belarus
Contact phones: +375 17 279 20 58, +375 17 279 28 72

Visa issue period

In case of positive decision, visa is issued within maximum 5 working days from the moment of receiving the application (in case of urgency - within 2 working days).

Visa fee

Since January 1, 2017, the rate of consular fee for the issuance of visas to the Republic of Belarus is set at 60 euros for all types of visas with any number of entries. Foreigners under 14 years old are exempt from the fee.

In accordance with the Agreement between the Republic of Belarus and the European Union on visa facilitation from July 1, 2020 consular fee of 35 euros for all types of entry visas for citizens of Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxemburg, Malta, the Netherlands, Portugal, Poland, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden and Estonia. Stateless persons permanently residing in Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia are also subject to the EUR 35 fee. Foreigners under 12 years old are exempt from the EUR 35 fee.

Japanese citizens are exempt from the consular fee for the issuance of any type of visa.

Increased rates of consular fee for the issuance of the Belarusian visa for foreigners apply:

- when processing visa requests by Belarusian foreign institutions on an urgent basis (within 2 working days) - twice;
- At the National airport Minsk when considering visa requests of foreigners in the states of their citizenship or habitual residence of which there are no Belarusian foreign missions - by 50 per cent;
- at the National airport Minsk while considering visa requests of foreigners in the states of nationality or usual residence of which there are Belarusian foreign service agencies - by 200 percent.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Belarus provides a regularly updated list of consular fees.

Posted by ptizafenix 11:58 Archived in Belarus Comments (0)

Ecotourism in Belarus


Ecotourism in Belarus

Thanks to its unique nature with ancient forests and swamps, clean lakes and rivers, and an amazing variety of flora and fauna, Belarus is a special country for lovers of eco-tourism.

Already in the XVI century the Statute of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania fixed the environmental law norms, thanks to which the unique territories were preserved in inviolability. By the way, Grand Duke Jagiello declared Belovezhskaya Pushcha, the largest ancient forest in Europe, a wilderness area more than 600 years ago.

And in the XXI century nature is one of the main riches of Belarus. Eco-tourists can visit famous national parks and reserves, wildlife preserves of national and local importance, natural monuments and simply picturesque places all over the country. And the main thing is to see a lot of interesting and unusual things.

For example, in Belarus there are some of the largest and deepest lakes in Europe, appeared thanks to ancient glaciers. Belarusian bogs, many of which are absolutely unique, are deservedly considered "lungs" of the continent...

The country's symbol is the European bison, the heaviest and largest land mammal. And now Belarus ranks second in the world as for the number of the bison population. Since 1946 these majestic animals have been under state protection.

Ornithologists from all over the world come to Belarus to watch birds: in the Pripyatsky National Park and the Berezinski Biosphere Reserve at one time you can see thousands of diverse birds. By the way, Belarus is home to 60% of the world's population of the Vertypyatka reed warbler.

One of the most beloved and revered birds in our country is the white stork, a symbol of happiness, prosperity, health and spring rebirth. One can watch their beautiful flight in the sky, unhurried walks in the fields and touching care of the nestlings in the nest for hours...

Nature lovers will find a variety of recreation options in Belarus. You can walk, ride a bicycle or horse on the eco-trail, go on a mini-tour by ship or boat, take part in eco-safari with watching wild animals and birds in their natural habitat. Or you can just relax in silence, contemplating the beauty of nature.

Many agro-farms in Belarus offer a good ecological rest; they have made cosy cottages of eco-materials in secluded places, walks and entertainments in the nature, ecologically pure and fresh country products.
National Parks and Reserves

In Belarus, there are 4 national parks and 2 reserves, where unique landscapes are preserved and there are absolute wildlife reserves:

- National Park "Belovezhskaya Pushcha".
- Braslav Lakes National Park
- Pripyatski National Park
- Narochansky national park
- Berezinskiy biosphere reserve
- Polessky Radiation and Ecological Reserve

National parks and biosphere reserve invite guests to eco-travel, combining cognitive leisure and active entertainment.

For example, in the National Park "Narochansky", in addition to exploring the amazing landscapes, you can go scuba diving or take an air tour by helicopter. In the National Park "Pripyatsky" you can go on safari in the pristine "Belarusian Amazonia".

In Belovezhskaya Pushcha you can visit the "World of wildlife" at dawn or before sunset and take an exclusive walking route "Pushcha Robinsons". And in the vicinity of Braslav you can admire endlessly the "necklace" of big and tiny glacial lakes...

In addition to large national parks and reserves, Belarus has more than a thousand specially protected natural areas:

-85 wildlife sanctuaries of national and 248 of local importance;
-306 natural monuments of state and 576 of regional level.

Therefore, eco-tourism fans will find many interesting objects to explore and recreate. Among them, for example:

- Biological reserve "Sporovsky" - the first Ramsar site in Belarus (the national championship in manual haying of lowland bogs is held here);
- The landscape reserve "Olman bogs" - the largest whole forest-marsh complex in Europe, included in the Ramsar List (in autumn the cranberry festival is celebrated in the reserve);
- the biological preserve "Zvanets" - the largest lowland bog with mineral islands, where 125 bird species (21 from the Red Book) nest;
- Reserve "Yelnya" - one of the largest in Central and Western Europe arrays of ancient bogs and glacial lakes (its tourist brand - festival "Cranes and cranes of Miirsk region");
- Reserve "Middle Pripyat" (the floodplain of the famous Polissya river is often called the European Amazon).

By the way, 26 specially protected areas in Belarus have the international status of Ramsar Site protection: "Olman bogs", "Sporovsky", "Middle Pripyat", "Zvanets", "Prostyr", "Kotra", "Osveisky", "Yelnya", "Vydritsa", "Koziansky", "Vygonoshansky", "Morochno", "Stary Zhaden", "Duleby - Zaozerje", "Dnieper river floodplain", "The Polesian valley of the river Bug", "Servech", "Vilety - Adutishkis", "Iput", "Drozhbitka-Svina", "Dikoye", "Golubitska Pushcha", "Podvelikiy Moh", "Svisloch-Berezinsky", the Berezinsky biosphere reserve and the national park "Pripyatsky".
Eco trails and safari parks

There are dozens of interesting ecological trails and routs for tourists in Belarus, their length varying from 1 to 250 kilometers. Some of them can be hiked, others can be done by bicycle, horse or car, still others can be navigated by motor boat, rowboat or kayak.

In addition, popular combined routes, combining different types of travel, but above all - interesting attractions on the way tourists: the unique natural areas and objects, historical and architectural monuments, museums and ancestral estates of famous personalities.

Here are only some of the fascinating eco-routes of Belarus:

"Secrets of Uborg Polesye".
"Nature and history of Gomel region". (175 km)
"Water excursion on the river Ptich"
"Cherikovsky" (three-day eco-tour)
"The forest reserve path" and an unusual ecological-mythological route "In the land of myths" in the Berezinski biosphere reserve
"Zubropitenik" in the National Park "Pripyatsky" (4 km)
"Volozhinskiye guesthouses" (150 km)
Tourist route in the Apothecary Garden in the National park Narochansky
"Myths and legends of the Land of Life-giving Springs" (250 km)

Belarus is the country of woods, bogs and rivers with the rich fauna. It's interesting for the lovers of the safari and photo hunting. During one tour it is quite possible to see not only all the animals of the big "Belarusian five" (bison, wild boar, moose, red deer and wolf), but also many other representatives of the European fauna.

Exciting safari tours are conducted on the vast territories in the national parks "Belovezhskaya Pushcha" and "Pripyatsky. In the future they will appear in all national parks of Belarus. By the way, now within the state program a safari park is being created in the national park "Narochanski.

Not far from Minsk in the Center of ecological tourism "Stankovo" (Dzerzhinsky district) will also open a safari park: an area of more than 300 hectares will be inhabited by animals and birds, which can be seen from a very close distance.

An unusual safari park operates in Mogilev, where the only educational zoo in Belarus is located. The area of 120 hectares with fields and forests, glacial canyons and reservoirs is home to about 200 wild animals. There is a mini-railway through the park and an open walking train, from which you can watch the animals.

By the way, in 2015, the first in Belarus ecological spring water center "Blue Krynitsa" was opened in Mogilev region.
Environmental festivals and holidays

Environmental festivals, which combine the beauty of nature, rich historical heritage and original folk traditions, are becoming increasingly popular in Belarus. Among them:

Environmental Festival "Cranes and Cranes of the Miorsky Krai."

Every year at the end of September in late September in the Elnia bog in Miory district (Vitebsk region) - one of the largest in Europe - from 5 to 7 thousand gray cranes gather and fly to warm countries for wintering. Besides, the bog has long been famous for rich harvests of the healing cranberry berry. The guests of the festival "Cranes and cranes of Miorsky region" can observe the beautiful birds and take pictures, to learn a lot of interesting information about the nature and inhabitants of these places and to try unusual dishes with cranberry. In the visitor's center of Yelnya Reserve tourists can take advantage of binoculars and spyglasses, bicycles, skis, all-terrain vehicle, interactive stands and games. An eco-trail (1.5 km) is being created in the swamp, and an exclusive attraction - walking on snowshoes on the bog - is already available.

Festival "Myths in the swamp" in the Berezina Biosphere Reserve

Every November in one of the most famous places in Belarus - the Berezinski Nature Reserve - a festival takes place which surprises not only by the beauty and uniqueness of the local nature but also by the mysterious atmosphere of the Belarusian mythology. The visitors are welcomed by the Bolotnik himself - the symbol of the reserve - as well as other creatures and spirits like Tsmok, Pushchevik, Bagnik, Polovik, Arzhavennik, mermaids... The festival features exciting daytime and nighttime (!) tours, exhibitions, master classes in traditional crafts, folk festivals with mythological animation programs...

Wader Festival in Turov

The biological preserve "Turovsky meadow" (Zhitkovichsky district) is the unique place by the quantity and kinds of birds (including the rare ones from the Red Book) which nest or stop during the migration season on the Pripyat. There are especially a lot of waders on the local islands, in honor of which the festival was founded and a bronze monument in Turov.

Festival of rural tourism "Zaborski Fest".

Agroecotourism festival is the brand of the Rossony district of the Vitebsk region, where, according to statistics, there is one lake for every hundred inhabitants. There are presentations of homesteads, exhibitions of flowers and landscape design, excursions to the preserve "Krasny Bor", boat trips on local lakes, rafting.

Festival of ethnocultural traditions "Call of Polesie"

This original festival is held every two years in the agro-town Lyaskovichi in the area of the Pripyatsky National Park. Against the background of beautiful nature its participants present the original culture of the Belarusian Polesie to the guests. But in addition to concerts, the program of the festival includes fishing competitions, races on the river in traditional Polesye boats - bells, interesting exhibitions, including those in the Museum of Nature.

Posted by ptizafenix 11:54 Archived in Belarus Tagged belarus Comments (0)

Agritourism in Belarus


Agritourism in Belarus

Rural tourism is one of the most attractive vacation options in Belarus. Picturesque landscapes, favorable ecology and unique rustic flavor attract guests to the country's agritourist farmsteads. Belarus has twice ranked first among the best countries for agro-tourism according to National Geographic.

Coming for a big vacation or even a few weekends, you can:

- enjoy the beauty of Belarusian nature;
- go hunting or fishing, horseback riding, biking or hiking in the countryside
- get acquainted with the rural life, learn how the Belarusians used to live in the old times, visit ethnographic museums;
- get in touch with national cultural traditions (music, dances, folk games);
- make authentic Belarusian souvenirs;
- and, of course, try the old Belarusian dishes and drinks.

Farmsteads in Belarus

Today in Belarus, there are more than 2900 agro-farms. They are situated in the most picturesque places, decorated with national Belarusian coloring or in modern style.

Many rural houses for tourists are in or near the national parks "Belovezhskaya Pushcha", "Narochansky", "Pripyatsky".

Owners of agro-houses offer their guests various options of entertainment according to their specialization. It can be:

- active recreation (fishing and hunting, boating, "green" hikes, team games, acquaintance with the Belarusian cuisine, excursions to local sights);
- family recreation (walks in the woods, picking berries and mushrooms, swimming in the lake, entertainment for children and adults, eating organic village products, souvenir making);
- acquaintance with the unique Belarusian traditions and life of the villagers.

It is the Belarusian coloring which is the main zest of the national style farmsteads whose owners develop special cultural programs. You can hear the local legends and authentic songs, learn the Belarusian dancing and take part in the old folk rituals, such as for Kolyady, Shrovetide or Kupalye. You can even have the wedding in the Belarusian traditions.

If you are interested in the life of the Belarusian villagers and want to try the old ways, the hosts may offer you to go to the hayfield in the early morning (after the mowing you will have a fresh breakfast in the meadow), to feed the animals at the homestead, to check the honeycomb at the bee apiary or to bake the real Belarusian bread.

You'll visit the farmstead and take a steam bath with aromatic brooms, herbs, folk recipes and secrets of self-care.

Every year on the third Sunday of May the Open Day at the Belarusian homesteads takes place.

According to tradition, on this day the owners of the estates show their houses to those who wish, tell about the services offered, the sights, prepare refreshments. Many participants develop special programs with excursions and exclusive meals.

Agroecotourism in Belarus is becoming more and more popular. Today, owners of agrohouses, farmers, artisans, and representatives of tourist business unite into clusters, offering guests a wide range of services, creating unique tourist offers and their own brands.

Festivals in Belarus

Throughout the year, interesting festivals and celebrations take place in different parts of Belarus - the countryside and small towns - many of which have taken on an international format. Among the popular ones are:

- The rural tourism festival "Zaborski fest" (Rossony district, Vitebsk region)
- International festival of traditional culture "Braslavskіya zarnіtsі" (Braslav district, Vitebsk region)
- International culinary festival "Motalskiye pysmaky" (Ivanovo district, Brest region)
- Sporovsky Zharty" humor festival and "Sporovskie Sennosy" mower competition (Berezovsky District, Brest Region)
- The All-Belarusian folk humor festival "Autuky" (Kalinkovichi district, Gomel region)
- Alexandria Gathers Friends" Republican Holiday (Shklou District, Mogilyov Region)
- The international musical and sports festival "Big Bard-Fishing" (Bykhov district, Mogilyov region)
- The folk arts, crafts and trades festival "Dribinskie Torzhki" (Dribin, Mogilyov region)
- Festival of ethnocultural traditions "Call of the Polesye" (the agrotown of Lyaskovichi, the National Park "Pripyatski")
- The "Beraginya" Republican Festival of Folklore (Oktyabrsky, Gomel region)
- The forum of traditional crafts "Negliubski rushniki" (Vetky district, Gomel region)
- The folk arts holiday "The Augustow Canal Invites Friends" and the folk arts festival "The Augustow Canal in the Culture of Three Nations" (Grodno region)
- The "Annensky Kirmash" folk festival (Zelva District, Grodno Oblast)
- The folk arts festival "Singing of May Day" (Maryina Gorka, Minsk region)
- Folk art festival "Slutskie belts" (Minsk region)

Posted by ptizafenix 11:45 Archived in Belarus Tagged belarus Comments (0)

Golshan Castle


Golshan Castle

Built in the first half of the 17th century, the castle is reputed to be one of the most mysterious places in Belarus. It used to be the residence of the influential Sapieha family, and in the 20th century it inspired the famous detective novel "The Black Castle Olshansky" by the classic of the Belarusian literature Vladimir Korotkevich.

History of Holshan Castle

The castle, which survived, unfortunately, in a badly deteriorated condition, is located in the agro-town Golshany of Oshmyany district.

The settlement itself is mentioned in chronicles since XIII century. At that time on a hill above the river Korabel stood a wooden castle, built by Prince Golsha. His descendants - the Dukes Golshansky (or Olshansky) - owned these lands until the mid-16th century.

After the death of the last male representative of Golshanskie family - Semen Yurievich, the estate together with the castle as dowry went to the new owners - Princess Alena Golshanskaya and her husband Paul Stefan Sapieha, sub-chancellor of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania and cousin of the famous Chancellor Lev Sapieha. Already under the Sapieha family nest was located on the bank of the river Lusta (its other historical names - Zhigianka, Vishnevka, today - Olshanka or Golshanka).

The new stone castle was built in the first half of the XVII century. Compositionally it was similar to its "counterpart" in Mir and was a rectangular enclosed shape with sides of almost 100 m by 90 m. Unlike the Mir castle, however, the defence was based on towers, earth ramparts and water moats, which surrounded the castle. Thick walls were replaced by the facade of the residential buildings. The towers became less massive without losing their defensive value. In addition, the towers housed the living and household premises.

The entrance to the castle (brama) was in the center of the north-eastern facade. The walls of the castle had a shaped masonry with stucco and large windows. On the second floor of the north-eastern building there was an open gallery, which faced the courtyard.

Wealth and ambitions of Pavel Sapieha turned the Holshan castle into one of the best architectural and economic complexes of its time. Inside the palace was richly decorated: paintings on the walls, tiled stoves, stucco on the ceiling and fireplaces. The building had a unique heating system, water supply and sewerage.
Under the two floors there were six cellars, each of which had its own purpose - beer, honey and wine cellars. In the castle there was a malt house, a brower, and a kitchen with a bakery. There were also a bathhouse, a zeichhaus, a hut for guards and a governor, a prison and other facilities for independent life of the residence.

Near the castle were created three beautiful man-made lakes - there is even a version that the bottom of each of them was tiled, but it is impossible to confirm it today. Not far from his residence Pavel Sapieha ordered to build a church and a Franciscan monastery.

The castle has been destroyed and rebuilt many times over the years, affecting its appearance. As a result of archaeological research in 1981-83, scientists identified three stages of construction, which differed in the type of bricks used, lime mortar and masonry method.
After the death of Paul Sapieha at the end of the 17th century the Holshan Castle was given to new owners and changed owners several times over the centuries. In 1880 another owner decided that such a big castle was useless, so he demolished part of the towers and walls, and sold the bricks to build a tavern.

The masters lived in the castle until 1939, and after World War II the surviving rooms were taken to pieces for the construction of a culture center and pigsties for the local farm.

By the early XXI century only a skeleton remained of the once magnificent castle. Local residents dismantled the walls brick by brick to meet the construction needs. From this same stone "with fingerprints" - that is, with the handprint of the master - are built many houses in Golshany. By the way, the settlement itself, where the planning structure of the medieval town has been preserved, is perhaps the most colorful in Belarus.
Interestingly, the monastery with the church, built by the order of Paul Sapieha, survived. In the 2nd half of the XVIII century, they underwent significant changes compared to the original project, but since then they have survived almost in an authentic form.

We can hear a lot of mysterious stories about Golshan Castle, although, interestingly enough, they emerged only in the XIX-XX centuries. ...They say that in the ruins you can sometimes see the ghosts of the Black Friar and the White Lady. According to one legend, centuries ago there lived in the castle a beautiful princess, who fell in love with a young commoner. The feelings were mutual. The girl's father found out about the secret meetings of the lovers, and ordered them both to be bricked up in the castle walls. Since then, the lost souls of the Black Friar and the White Lady have roamed the ruins...
Representatives of the families of the Golshan owners occupied high positions in the state, and the beautiful ladies conquered the hearts of famous men. For example, Ulyana Golshanskaya was the wife of Prince Vitovt, and Sofia Golshanskaya became the wife of King Jagiello. The famous royal dynasty of the Jagiellons began with her.

In 2013, Belarus premiered its first national musical Sofia Golshanskaya to music by composer Vladimir Kondrusiewicz. And today this romantic melodrama can be seen on the stage of the Belarusian State Academic Musical Theater.

Golshan Castle today

For a long time, only remnants of the old walls and towers reminded of the former grandeur of the Sapieha residence. But in the 2010s they were mothballed, and in 2017 the restoration began. Golshan Castle is gradually being revived, and in 2021 it officially opened its doors to tourists.

The restored North Tower was opened to the public. There is a museum exhibition with valuable artifacts. Each level has its own concept. The basement floor is devoted to mystics and legends of the Oshmian region and literary mysteries of Golshan Castle. Another floor shows rarities found during archaeological research of the castle and its surroundings in different times. There have also been restored the household and the front hall with a fireplace.

On the upper tier of the tower there is an observation deck with a beautiful view of the Holsany. There is also a model of the castle, drawings of how it looked in different years and portraits of the owners.

Next to the castle is created the infrastructure necessary for tourists - visit center with a souvenir store, administrative and sanitary premises, parking.

Even before the restoration began, the Golshan Castle Medieval Culture Festival, held once a year, became a calling card of the ancient residence. And after the opening there are more events for tourists. Among them is the "Night of Museums at the walls of Holszanski Castle", the summer "Evenings at Sofia Holszańska".

In December 2021 for the first time in the castle opened the New Year's residence of Santa Claus, which invited guests to travel back in time centuries. In addition to the fairy tale ones, visitors were greeted by characters from the real past - King Jagiello and his wife Sophia Golshanska, as well as the mythical White Lady. As a souvenir the guests were given a Golshan cake, baked according to an ancient recipe. It is said that the castle's owner Pavel Sapieha used to make it for his guests. It is planned that the residence of Santa Claus will become a winter tradition of Golshan.

How to get to the Golshan Castle and where to stay

Golshany is located in the Oshmyany district of Grodno region. It is about 130 km by car from Minsk. The most convenient route lies along the highway M6, then by the village of Sharai you need to take the exit to the highway E28/M7. At the junction near the place Krevo, where the ruins of no less famous castle are located, turn left to the P95. A signpost will lead you to the Sapieha Golshan residence. Coordinates: 54.251389, 26.020278.

You can stay at the hotel with a catchy name "Castle". It is located in the building of the former malls in the center of Golshan.
Attractions near Golshan Castle

In northwestern Belarus, where Golshany is located, there are many interesting sights that have survived. For example, you can visit the ruins of the famous castle in Krevo and a former Basilian monastery in the village of Boruny on the way to the Sapieha residence.

Golshany itself is a colorful historical place. There are preserved buildings of old brick houses in the center, most of which date from the late XIX - early XX century. The rows of shops on the main square are also impressive. The iconic sights are the Church of St. John the Baptist and the ensemble of the former Franciscan monastery, built in the times of the Sapieha.

Interestingly, there is another version of the legend of the White Lady associated with the Franciscan Church. ...While erecting the temple some walls collapsed and, being afraid to make the owner angry, the workers decided: to stop the troubles they needed a sacrifice - the first woman to bring dinner to her husband. The bricklayer's young wife became that sacrifice and was walled up. Since then the ghost of the unhappy woman in white robes has wandered the neighborhood...

The Orthodox center of Golshan is St. George's Church, built in 1901. The parish itself in the village is known from the XIII century, but the ancient wooden churches, which dilapidated and replaced each other, have not survived.

On the way to the castle there is an interesting wooden building Golshan - an Art Nouveau building of 1928 with elements of Neoclassicism. Now it is a small hotel, where you can feel the spirit of antiquity.

Also not far from Golshan in the village of Traby there is a stone neo-Gothic Church of the Nativity of the Virgin Mary of the early twentieth century and the wonderfully preserved wooden Church of St. Peter and Paul of 1784.

Posted by ptizafenix 11:41 Archived in Belarus Tagged belarus Comments (0)

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