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Summary: Belarus lies in eastern Europe, east of Poland, and is generally flat and contains much marshland. Belarus remains self-isolated from the West and its open-market economies.

Capital: Minsk
Time Zone: DST +0300 UTC
Population: 10,310,520
Languages: Belarusian, Russian
Power: 220 V, 50 Hz
Currency: Belarusian Ruble - Currently 1 BYR = 0.0005 USD $
Climate: Belarus has cold winters, cool and moist summers. Overall, a transitional climate between continental and maritime conditions.


Minsk: Despite being thrust with a tactical role during World War II which ruined many of the older buildings, its renovation was done with a European feel which helps the remaining architecture stand out. Famous for ballet and puppet theater, Minsk offers a 12th century cathedral, the 1847 St. Mary Magdeline Church, the 19th century section of town called Troetskoe Predmestye, and antique lovers will love the shops along Scarina Avenue.

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Brest: On the border with Poland, Brest can be a busy city with shoppers often going both ways and rail shipments transporting goods, although it still offers great places to see. The Brest Fortress holds a museum with treasures from the 13th century, the Bereste Archaeological Museum, built on top of 13th century ruins, and the main drag, Vulitsa Savetskaja and the riverfront against the Mukhavets are two popular choices for strolls.



Be Smart: Don't show off money, and behave fairly with local authorities. It is better to take a train around than drive, avoiding any unnecessary interactions with the law.

Local Culture: With influences from 100 different sources, Belarusians tend to be very accepting and also still hold respect for their local folk traditions.

When To Visit: Spring or late summer are the best times to visit, avoiding the cold of winter and the rain of summer. The Expolingua, held in Minsk in April, is an international language festival and can be an interesting time to visit.

Food: Hearty foods such as bread, potatoes, cabbage and pork are traditional, including kotleta po krestyansky, pork cutlets served in mushroom sauce, and shtchi, made from potatoes, onions and sauerkraut.

Phrases: Do you speak English? - Govorite li vy po angliyski?

Tipping: Standard tipping of 10% - 15% applies if the service charge is not already included in the bill.
 
 



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