Traditionally, locals and foreigners describe Belarus as a small country somewhere near Russia. However, size is relative and all things are better known by comparison.
In this text, we won’t survey the reasons why Belarus might be conceived as small but will present rebuttals.
With a total area of 207,600km², our country is bigger than three Baltic States – Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia – combined (175,015 km²). It is also bigger than Bulgaria (110.994 km²) and Hungary (93.30 km²) combined.
Covering a total area of 39,900 km², Minsk oblast alone almost equals Denmark (43,094 km²), Switzerland (41,285 km²) and the Netherlands (41,543 km²). Can you believe that?
When it comes to the borders of a city and therefore its area, there are always pitfalls and controversies. So we will stick to official figures to not slip on a slippery slope.
Bet you didn’t know that Grodno (141,98 km2) is bigger than, let’s say, Barcelona (101,9 km2)?!
Okay, here’s another knockout fact – Gomel (139,8 km2) is bigger than Paris (105,4 km2) without the metropolitan area.
A country’s size can also be measured by its population, and by this measure, Belarus is actually one of the largest countries in Europe. Surprise, surprise!
To avoid getting bogged down in the detail of each census or national statistics office, by population within city limits, Minsk is the 10th most populous city in Europe. Still not impressed?
This is three times more than in Oslo (580,000), four times more than in Manchester (395,515) and five times more than in Nice (338,000).
Well, let’s forget that Iceland, as a matter of principle, is far from being called the giant in terms of population and still…
There are 119,000 people living in Minsk subdistrict Kamennaya Gorka. It means the whole population of Reykjavik, which is 188,918, the capital and largest city of Iceland, can fit in there. You just have to accept the fact and that’s that.
To cross Belarus from the east to the west you will have to cover 741km, this is the same distance from Bosnia and Herzegovina to Germany, according to svaboda.org calculations.
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Besides, you will have to spend up to 9 hours behind the wheel, the driving challenge not for the fainthearted, right? Meanwhile in Western Europe, one can visit four or even six counties if try really hard on a 700+ km road trip.
Big random facts
Rivers vs the Equator
Let’s leave comparisons aside and just reflect on the facts. You’ve probably heard that Belarus is often referred to as a blue-eyed country, this is because of more than 10,000 lakes and 20,000 rivers.
The total length of the Belarusian rivers is about 90,600 km – this is two times more than the length of the Earth’s equator. Pretty mind-blowing, isn’t it?
The Minsk Botanical Garden is one of the largest in Europe, its area is 100 hectares. It is second only to Kew Royal Gardens (121 ha) in London and the Munich Botanical Garden (20 ha).
By the way, Minsk Botanical Garden is usually a venue for many open-air music performances and a nice meeting point of locals. This summer is no exception.
There are more swamps in Belarus than in North America. The total area of the ten largest marshes of the country is 3,116 km², this is more than Luxembourg and Andorra combined.
The area of the Olmansky swamps reserve alone (942km²) is like three Minsks and eight times bigger than the area of cranberry swamps of North America.
Okay, guys, again, the purpose of the article was not to diminish or offend anyone, just to break the annoying stereotype once and for all.
Belarus is not a small country. PERIOD.