The Republic of Belarus is situated in the centre of Europe. It borders on Latvia, Lithuania, Belarus, the Ukraine, Russia and Poland. Its present population is about 12 million people.
Belarus is a land of vast plains and picturesque hills, thick forests and green meadows, deep blue lakes and flowing rivers. Forests cover 2/5 of Belarus, they are scattered all over the country.
There are a lot of rivers and lakes are in our country. The Dnieper, Pripyat, Beresins, Sozh, Zapadnaya Dvina, Neman are the biggest rivers with more then 500 kilometers in length.
The largest lake in Belarus is lake Naroch which stretches 13 kilometers from West to East. It is very popular recreation aria in our country.
To most of the world Belarus is relatively known, a new country in the central Europe. To its people it's an ancient land. The history of Belarus goes back to ancient times beginning with the Polotsk Principality in the 10th century. From the 13th century till the 16th century the territory of present-day Belarus was the core of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania in which Belarussian was the official language.
The 16th century is considered to be the Golden Age of Belarussion history. In this period there was a wide growth of old and the foundation of many new cities and towns. There occurred significant processes in culture and economy of Belarussian people.
As Belarus is situated in the centre of Europe many wars took place in its territory. One of the greatest wars was in 1812 when the emperor Napoleon attacked Russia. And Belarussian lands became the arena, of military actions. A great number of Belarussians took part in this war against Napoleon.
The Great Patriotic War of 1941-1945 is one of the most heroic and tragic periods in the history of the century. For three years the territory of Belarus was occupied by the Nazi. The country lost more than 3 million people (every third citizen felt in the fight against fascism), many towns and villages were ruined.
Today Belarus is a developed industrial state. Industry makes up 70% of the Gross National Product. The main industries are engineering, chemical industry, wood-working industry, light and food industries. The major industrial centres in Belarus are Minsk, Gomel, Vitebsk, Mogilev, Soligorsk, Zhodino, Brest and others.
Belarussian goods are exported to many countries and known, all over the world. Agriculture of Belarus specializes in milk and meet production, flax, vegetables (especially potatoes) and-fruit (especially apples).
The Republic of Belarus has well-developed science and educational system. The Academy of Sciences found in 1929 is one of the largest centres of science in our country. Its research-institutes work on various important problems in such fields as mathematics, optics, genetics, biology, etc. The demand for higher education remains high. State institutions are the centres both for education and scientific research. Nowadays in Belarus there are 43 universities, academies and institutes which provide training in various spheres of science and humanities.