|General background: Belarus has been described
as a flat, dull piece of land straddling the shortest
route between Moscow and the Polish border. It's flat,
alright, but dull is a little strong. Wide stretches
of unbroken birch groves, vast forested marshlands and
wooden villages amid rolling green and black fields
give Belarus a haunting beauty.
Population: 10.4 million
Ethnic groups: Belarusian (78%), Russian (13%),
Ukrainian (4%), Polish (4%)
Religions: Eastern Orthodox Christianity,
Language: Belarusian, Russian
Places of interest: There's more to see in
Belarus than you might suspect. Minsk is a cosmopolitan
centre and a shining testament to Soviet urban planning.
Brest is lively and hectic, Hrodna a cocktail of historical
legacies and Polatsk a sleepy dowager reclining on
the chaise longue of its former glories. All this,
and not a tourist in sight.