Belarus does not make world’s headlines on a daily basis, but it turns out people abroad have various – and often curious – associations with the country.
Besides Alexander Lukashenko!
We have asked our readers to share what Belarus is known for in their countries.
And here’s what they said!
1. Part of Russia
In many cases Belarus is strongly associated with Russia – people actually believe the former to be part of the latter.
Also, sometimes they think of Belarus as an Asian country.
2. Potatoes and dishes cooked from them
That’s the second most popular answer.
Statistics say that an average Belarusian consumes 171 kg of potatoes yearly, which is one of the highest figures in the world.
Although potatoes are quite popular in the neighboring countries, Belarus has somehow managed to present itself as the most potato-loving nation in the world.
And, of course, our potato dishes are the best!
3. Women’s beauty
No comment here. Just come and see!
4. Low crime rate
It would be wrong not to say that there are some places where one is better not to show up alone after dark.
But it is not an exaggeration to say that most of the cities, including Minsk, are safe to walk even late at night!
5. Clean streets
Clean streets have almost become a signature mark of Minsk – every first-time visitor would mention that.
On the other hand, why not?
That’s the saddest association. The date is remembered every year.
Even 30 years after the disaster the Belarusian zone of radioactive contamination counts over 2000 settlements where people live surrounded by radionuclides.
7. Svetlana Alexievich
The only Belarusian – so far, we hope – to win the Nobel prize made the world Google what Belarus is in 2015.
Since then, the writer has been touring other countries telling people about “conflict and disaster all over the former Soviet Union” and “shedding light into the emotional lives of people she has met from Chernobyl to Kabul”.
8. Beating Sweden in hockey at the 2002 Winter Olympics
It was EPIC!
9. Many swamps
It might come as a surprise, but Belarus is famous among botanists for its large share of ecologically healthy swamps and marshlands.
In fact, tours of marshlands – Polesie, Yelnya reserve and others – are becoming increasingly popular and the necessary infrastructure is being developed as well.
Save the idea for your next trip!
10. Marc Chagall
Vitebsk, where the artist was born, was an inexhaustible source of inspiration for Chagall during his whole life.
The city’s spirit and architecture are perpetuated in his famous canvases, while the life of the city is forever linked with Chagall.
The memory about “the quintessential Jewish artist of the 20th century” becomes alive in Chagall’s museum, art centre, library and through numeous events held in Vitebsk in honor of its outstanding son.
The list of the things Belarus is famous for would not be complete without the mention of tractors, the hospitability of Belarusians, Darya Domracheva, Victoria Azarenka, the amazing gymnastics team, Belarusian IT guys (remember that Viber and MSQRD come from here?) and pristine nature.
So next time someone tells you “Bela… what?”, just show them this!