Anyone familiar with World War II history might've heard of the region known as White Russia, or Belorussia. Today that area is the country of Belarus, a land of forests, lakes, and a very welcoming people.
If you're lucky enough to come to Belarus, and only get to see one thing make sure it is the wildlife. The Belavezha Wood is full of hiking trails where you can see everything from bison to bears and wolves. The entire Wood is a UNESCO Biosphere, and a real treat.
The outdoors don't end there, the Baslav Lake District (bordering Latvia and Lithuania) has some 30 lakes--find one you like and stick around for a picnic.
Museum lovers will want to head to the capital city of Minsk, where you'll find the the National Museum and National Arts Museum, just to name a few.
The Museum of History and Archaeology is found in Brest, as well as a medieval fortress and Puppet Theater. There's another castle (11th century) over in Grodno, and a 14th century one in Novogrudok. However, it is the 15th century Mir Castle that's earned a UNESCO designation.
In between museum and castle visits, try some locally made beer and vodka. You can get it anytime, day or night. And if you're really adventurous, try the Beloveszhskaya Bitters.
As flavorful as the drinks are, the food is too. Try some Borschch, a soup made with beetroot, or Dracheny, a potato and mushroom dish.
Just make sure you don't go picking any of your own veggies found within the forests. There is still a high level of radiation from Chernobyl, so exercise caution.
You'll be too busy shopping for handicrafts and Matreshka Dolls to go mushroom picking anyway. Or, heading to one of Minsk's discos, bars, or nightclubs for that matter. Don't rule out an Opera or Ballet performance, either.
Belarus might be covered a third by forest, but the rest of White Russia, is stunning and historical. You better hope you don't have to choose only one thing to see.
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