There are six administrative regions (oblasts) in Belarus – BrestOblast, Vitebsk Oblast, Gomel Oblast, Grodno Oblast, Minsk Oblast, and Mogilev Oblast, and the city of republican subordinationMinsk. The oblast is an optimal unit of the social and economic organization of the country. Oblast administration bodes resolve economic, social and other issues taking into account the regional specifics.
Minsk is the capital of Belarus. It is a political, economic, scientific, and cultural center of the country.
The Belarusian capital is located on the banks of the SvislochRiver. A fifth of the entire population of Belarus lives in Minsk.
The city is located on the crossroads of major transport routes. Motorways connect Minsk with other big cities and towns of Belarus such as Orsha, Vitebsk, Molodechno, Brest, Slutsk, Mogilev, Gomel. The BelarusianNationalAirport, the major air harbor of the country, is situated in Minsk.
Minsk is a large industrial center. The economy of Minsk is dominated by the manufacture of machines and equipment, food, beverages and tobacco products, electric and optical devices, transport vehicles, construction materials, pharmaceutical products.
The Belarusian capital accounts for 37.2% of Belarus’ foreign trade. Foreign companies and joint ventures were set up in partnership with investors from 60 countries. There is a free economic zone in Minsk.
The capital of Belarus is a large scientific and educational center. The National Academy of Sciences of Belarus, the Hi-Tech Park, big educational institutions are situated in Minsk.
The President of the Republic of Belarus, the National Assembly, the Council of Ministers, and the National Bank reside in Minsk. It is also home to the Executive Committee of the Commonwealth of Independent States, diplomatic corps, consulates, and offices of international organizations.
Minsk is one of the oldest cities in Europe. During the Great Patriotic War Minsk was virtually almost destroyed. That is why very few ancient buildings have survived in the city. However, Minsk can be proud of wide avenues and streets, spacious squares, diverse architectural ensembles, verdurous boulevards and parks. There are about 20 square meters of greenery per one Minsk resident.
There are many places of interest in Minsk, including Troitsky suburb, the Upper Town, the Minsk Arena sports center, the Minsk Hero City memorial, the Minsk City Hall, the Holy Spirit Cathedral, Sts. Peter and Paul Cathedral, the Cathedral of the Mother of God, Sts. Simon and Helen Cathedral, the National Library of Belarus, the National Academic Bolshoi Opera and Ballet Theater, the National Art Museum of Belarus, the Central Botanical Garden.
There are about 50 hotels and hotel complexes in Minsk. Among them are five-star hotels Hotel d’Europe, Crowne Plaza Minsk, and President Hotel, four-star hotels Victoria, Victoria 2, Victoria Olympus Hotel, and Minsk. The Belarusian capital offers over 40 pedestrian and bus tourist routes introducing tourists to its historical and cultural heritage, museums, theaters, exhibition halls, and other facilities.
Brest Oblast is the western gate of Belarus. It borders Ukraine in the south and Poland in the west. The oblast comprises 16 districts. The total area is 32,800 square kilometers.
The city of Brest is the administrative center of the oblast. The biggest towns are Baranovichi, Bereza, Drogichin, Ivanovo, Ivatsevichi, Kamenets, Kobrin, Luninets, Pinsk, Pruzhany, Stolin.
There are about 260 big and medium-sized industrial enterprises in the region. Brest Oblast boasts well-developed food production (accounting for 49% of the total output), textile manufacturing (4.5%), mechanical engineering (14.5%), and furniture production (7.3%).
Brest Oblast is Belarus' largest manufacturer of such products as Gefest electric and gas stoves and electric bulbs made by Brest Electric Bulbs Plant. Products of Santa Bremor, Savushkin Product, Pinskdrev are very popular in the country and abroad.
The local agricultural industry specializes in meat and dairy farming, production of sugar beets, flax, potatoes and vegetables. The region fully satisfies its own demand for animal husbandry products and has huge export reserves.
The agrarian sector of Brest Oblast comprises 250 agricultural and maintenance organizations, over 500 farms. About of 1.2 million hectares of land is used for agricultural purposes. This includes 0.7 million hectares of land under crops. Agricultural production is on the rise in Brest Oblast.
The geographic location of the region creates favorable conditions for international trade. The major Berlin-Warsaw-Brest-Minsk-Moscow transit corridor is running through the region. Roads connect Brest Oblast with Vilnius and Kiev. Around 80% of the CIS-made products exported by land to Western Europe pass through the region.
In 2016, products made by Brest companies were sold in 88 countries, including Russia, Kazakhstan, Poland, Germany, Ukraine, Lithuania, and others. The free economic zone Brest was founded in 1996. The free economic zone is vigorously developing today. Comprising 75 enterprises, it has raised over €1.2 billion in investment. The zone attracts capital from 20 countries. Top investors are companies with the Russian, Polish, and German capital. The enterprises employ over 21,000 people.
The oil pipeline Druzhba and gas pipelines Torzhok – Minsk - Ivatsevichi and Kobrin – Brest
- Warsaw pass
through the region.
Since 1988, Brest Oblast has been part of the transboundary union Euroregion Bug. It also includes Lublin Voivodeship of Poland and Volyn Oblast of Ukraine. Organizations located on the territory of the region take an active part in the development and implementation of international technical aid projects. The program of transboundary cooperation Poland – Belarus – Ukraine is the biggest one.
There is an office of the joint technical secretariat of the Poland – Belarus – Ukraine transboundary cooperation program at the Brest transboundary information center.
More than 2,500 cultural, historical and architectural monuments are situated in Brest Oblast. As many as 771 monuments are included in the State List of Historical and Cultural Legacy of the Republic of Belarus. Two out of four Belarusian objects included in the UNESCO World Heritage List, namely the Belovezhskaya Pushcha and the Struve Geodetic Arc, are located in Brest Oblast.
The main landmarks of Brest Oblast are Brest Hero Fortress, Europe’s only museum of medieval Eastern Slavonic urban construction Berestye, the KamenetsTower in the town of Kamenets, the Nemtsevich estate, the Kossovo park and palace complex, the Sapega Palace Complex in Ruzhany, etc.
Brest Oblast hosts multiple international and national festivals. Among the most remarkable are the international theater festival Belaya Vezha, the international festival of classical music January Music Nights, the international folk traditions festival Motalskiya Prysmaki, the international potters’ plein air in the village of Gorodnaya, various military and historical reenactment events.
Brest Oblast has good sports traditions. There are excellent sports facilities for the training of national teams in the region. Besides, Brest Oblast often hosts high-profile sports events.
Brest Oblast is the heart of Belarusian Polesye. It boasts unique landscapes combining forests and swamps. In the north-west of the region there is a unique natural monument, the oldest forest reserve in Europe – Belovezhskaya Pushcha. In 1992 the BelovezhskayaPushchaNational Park was made a UNESCO World Heritage site. Apart from that, there are 47 wildlife reserves and 89 natural monuments in the region.
Visitors to Brest and the oblast can choose among over 140 hotels, health resorts and recreation centers.
Belarus’ first cruise ship Belaya Rus made its maiden voyage down the PripyatRiver in 2017.
Vitebsk Oblast is located in the northern part of Belarus. It borders Latvia in the northwest, Lithuania in the west, the Russian Federation in the north and in the east. The oblast is divided into 21 administrative districts. The border length from east to west is over 300km, from north to south – 175km. The total area is 40,100 square kilometers.
The city of Vitebsk is the administrative center of the region. The biggest towns are Braslav, Verkhnedvinsk, Glubokoye, Gorodok, Lepel, Miory, Novolukoml, Novopolotsk, Orsha, Polotsk, Postavy.
Vitebsk Oblast is a well-developed industrial region. The core of the Vitebsk Oblast industry is power generation (Lukoml state district power plant, Novopolotsk combined heat and power plant), oil processing and chemical production (OAO Naftan, OAO Polotsk Steklovolokno), production of food and beverages, textile and footwear manufacturing.
More than 20% of Vitebsk Oblast population is employed in the production sector which accounts for 32.5% of the gross value added. Vitebsk Oblast accounts for about 16% of the total production output in Belarus.
The production sector of Vitebsk Oblast comprises over 1,400 enterprises with more than 10,000 employees.
Factories of the region fully satisfy the country’s demand for dolomite powder, account for more than 90% of Belarus’ output of linen fabrics, water drain pipes, ethylene polymers, carpets, about 40% of electricity and footwear. Vitebsk Oblast enterprises make metal-cutting equipment and instruments, fiberboards and chipboards, fiberglass cloths, electric devices, power cables, water treatment facilities.
Vitebsk Oblast’s agriculture specializes in grain and forage crops as well as flax, rape, potatoes. Fishing is an important industry, too. The region has the country’s biggest density of rivers and the largest lake area.
Vitebsk Oblast authorities are focus on advancing interregional cooperation. The Vitebsk Oblast Executive Committee has signed 22 agreements with the administrative of five federal districts of the Russian Federation, namely Central Federal District, Northwestern Federal District, Southern Federal District, Volga Federal District, and Ural Federal District. In 2017, agreements were signed with Russia’s Bashkortostan, Stavropol Krai, Saratov Oblast. As many as 78 agreements were signed at the level of towns and districts of the region.
Vitebsk Oblast maintains robust economic ties with more than 100 countries. The annual trade turnover is estimated at $5.5-6 billion. Major exports are oil products, polymer products, timber, metal products, meat and dairy products, footwear, clothes, instruments and equipment.
In August 1999, the Vitebsk free economic zone was established.
Vitebsk Oblast maintains investment cooperation with 25 countries. Major investors are China, Russia, the CzechRepublic, Germany, Italy, Ukraine, Austria.
The major transport corridors Berlin – Warsaw – Orsha - Moscow and Helsinki – Vitebsk – Kiev - Odessa run through the region. Motorways and railways connect Vitebsk Oblast with Moscow, St. Petersburg, Riga, Vilnius.
Vitebsk Oblast is part of the Euroregion Country of Lakes uniting 32 districts and autonomies in Vitebsk Oblast, Lithuania, and Latvia. The euroregion implements important transboundary cooperation projects in business, tourism, environmental protection, and education as part of the Lithuania-Latvia-Belarus program.
The region has more than 2,800 lakes and 500 rivers. More than a third of the region is covered by forests. Approximately 60% of forests are centuries-old coniferous woods. Vitebsk Oblast has one nature reserve, two national parks, 25 national wildlife reserves, and 60 local reserves, over 240 natural monuments. The Berezina Biosphere Reserve has a UNESCO biosphere reserve status and has been awarded with a European diploma for especially protected territories.
Vitebsk is rightly considered Belarus’ “cultural capital”. Every year Vitebsk hosts about 50 international, regional, city and district festivals welcoming a lot of foreign guests. The international arts festival Slavonic Bazaar in Vitebsk is the trademark of the region.
The main attractions of Vitebsk Oblast are the Holy Annunciation Church (12th century, Vitebsk), St. Sophia Cathedral (11th-18th centuries, Polotsk), the Convent of Saviour and St. Euphrosyne (12th-18th centuries, Polotsk), the Monastery of Assumption (17th century, Orsha), the Nativity of Mary Church and the Holy Trinity Church (17th-18th centuries, Glubokoye), a cathedral and its surroundings (18th century, the village of Mosar, Glubokoye District), St. John the Baptist Cathedral (17th century, the village of Kamai) and St. Antony of Padua Cathedral (19th-20th centuries, Postavy).
Vitebsk Oblast offers various sports, culinary, cultural and educational tourism services. About 20 organizations provide industrial tourism services. These include OOO Dvinsky Brovar, Lukoml state district power plant, Vitebsk confectionary factory Vitba.
There are 215 hotels, recreation and recuperation facilities in the region.
Gomel Oblast is the largest region of Belarus. It borders Russia in the east and Ukraine in the south. The oblast is divided into 21 districts. The total area is 40,400 square kilometers.
The administrative center of the region is the city of Gomel. Other big towns are Zhlobin, Kalinkovichi, Mozyr, Rechitsa, Rogachev, Svetlogorsk.
Gomel Oblast has a big economic potential. It is one of the most advanced industrial regions in Belarus. Gomel Oblast accounts for about 20% of the country’s industrial output.
There are more than 220 large and medium-sized enterprises. The major industries are manufacture of oil products, metallurgy, production of food and beverages, chemical production, mining, machine-building and instrument-making, production of construction materials. The following companies are famous far beyond Belarus: Gomselmash (grain harvesters and other agricultural equipment), joint enterprise Spartak (confectionery and chocolates), Mozyr Oil Refinery, Belarusian Steel Works, Gomelglass, Gomel Chemical Plant, etc.
About 60% of products made in Gomel Oblast are exported. The region maintains trade links with over 100 countries. Top trading partners are Russia, Germany, China, Ukraine, Poland, Belgium, Italy, the Netherlands, and Kazakhstan.
Every year Gomel Oblast hosts the large economic and exhibition forum Spring in Gomel. It usually brings together thousands of participants from various countries.
Local agriculture specializes in cattle breeding, production of potatoes, vegetables, and flax (in the eastern part of the region). Arable land makes up 1.3 million hectares. The region saturates the food market and provides raw materials to refineries. The processing industry of Gomel Oblast comprises meat and dairy processing facilities, enterprises producing animal fodder.
Gomel Oblast has a good road infrastructure with major international motorways between Russia, Europe, and Ukraine running through the region. Gomel Oblast has an extensive railway network accounting for 90% of the country’s freight and about 50% of passenger traffic.
There are many architectural monuments in Gomel Oblast. The most popular sights include a park and palace complex built in the late 18th - second half of the 19th centuries and Sts. Peter and Paul Cathedral in Gomel, St. Michael the Archangel Church in Mozyr, the Holy Assumption Cathedral (19th century) and the Holy Trinity Church (20th century) in Rechitsa, the Castle Hill in Turov, etc.
The region also has versatile cultural life. There are 26 museums, four theaters, and two art galleries in Gomel Oblast. The most popular cultural events are the dancing festival Sozhsky Karagod, the theater festival Slavonic Theater Meetings, the festival of instrumental music Guitar Renaissance, the festival of ethnic traditions Zov Polesya, etc.
There is the PripyatNational Park, 56 wildlife reserves, and 63 natural monuments of nationwide and local importance in the region.
The two-day route Golden Ring of Gomel Oblast is a tourist brand of the region.
Over 80 hotels, health resorts, recuperation facilities offer their services to visitors.
Grodno Oblast is one of the six Belarusian regions. It borders Poland in the west, Lithuania in the north. The oblast comprises 17 districts. The total area of Grodno Oblast is 25,100 square kilometers.
The city of Grodno is the administrative center of Grodno Oblast.
Grodno Oblast’s manufacturing complex is dominated by the production of foodstuffs (about 40%), chemical production (15.7%), production of construction materials (7.9%), textile and sewing industry (6.4%), production of machines and equipment (4.3%).
This region is Belarus’ major producer of caprolactam, glass plates, baby milk powder. Grodno Oblast accounts for 99.98% of the country’s output of tire lining, 91.5% of nitrogen fertilizers, 89.2% of potato diggers, 79.1% of tobacco products, 75.7% of hosiery, 70.1% of tractor-mounted ploughs.
Products of OAO Grodno Azot, Belcard, Lakokraska, Krasnoselskstroymaterialy, Neman Glassworks and other companies are popular in Belarus and abroad.
Gas pipelines Yamal - Europe, Ivatsevichi – Slonim – Lida – the Lithuanian border, and Ivatsevichi – Slonim - Grodno pass through the region.
Grodno Oblast boasts a highly developed agricultural sector. Cattle breeding is important, so are pig breeding, production of grain, beetroots, rape, potatoes, fruit and vegetables.
The agro-industrial complex of Grodno Oblast comprises 157 organizations, including 92 unitary agricultural enterprises of municipal ownership, two unitary enterprises of republican ownership, three private unitary enterprises, 23 joint-stock companies, 16 agricultural production associations, one production association, 20 agricultural affiliated companies, and 394 farms. About 50,000 people are employed in the agricultural complex of the region.
Occupying 14.6% of arable lands in the country, agricultural companies of the region annually account for over 16.1% of the gross agricultural output.
Grodno Oblast organizations main export-import relations with 88 countries across the globe. The region exports its products to 62 states.
Top trading partners of the region are Russia (47.2%), Poland (9.5%), China (6.6%), Germany (5.8%), Ukraine (4.6%), Lithuania (4%).
The Grodnoinvest free economic zone was founded in 2002.
Grodno Oblast has carried put serious transformations in the energy sector in recent years. They are, first of all, attributed to the use of renewable energy sources. The Grodno hydro-electric power plant with the capacity of 17MW; wind mills in Novogrudok District, Dyatlovo District, Smorgon District; a gas turbine with the capacity of 121.7MW at the Grodno CHP plant, and a solar power station in Shchuchin District have been commissioned.
The construction of the Belarusian nuclear power plant began in Ostrovets District in 2013.
MirCastle, a historical monument of the 16th century included in the UNESCO World Heritage List, is situated in Grodno Oblast.
The region is famous for its defense architecture monuments. These include castles in Lida, Novogrudok, Krevo, Golshany, Geraneny; fortress temples in Synkovichi (the 15th century) and Murovanka (16th century).
Grodno is one of the most beautiful cities in Belarus. Main attractions of the region include Sts. Boris and GlebChurch (Kolozha Church) built in the 12th century, the BernardineChurch, St. Francis Xavier Cathedral and the OldCastle.
The Holy Assumption Monastery (17th-19th centuries, Zhirovichi) is one of the most visited and revered monasteries in Belarus.
The Naliboki hunting reserve is located in Grodno Oblast. The region also has 43 wildlife reserves and 221 natural monuments of national or local importance. Another attraction is a section of the AugustowCanal, a hydraulic engineering specimen of the 19th century.
Grodno Oblast traditionally hosts over 30 international, national and regional festivals and contests. Among them are the Belarusian Festival of National Cultures, the MirCastle regional festival of arts, the international knights tournament in Novogrudok. The international festival of Orthodox songs Kolozha Blagovest is very popular.
There are 117 hotels, recreation and recuperation facilities in the region.
Minsk Oblast is the most populated region in Belarus. It is divided into 22 districts. Minsk Oblast is situated in the central part of the country. The total area is 39,800 square kilometers.
Minsk is the administrative center of the region. The biggest towns are Borisov, Vileika, Dzerzhinsk, Zaslavl, Zhodino, Logoisk, Molodechno, Myadel, Nesvizh, Slutsk, and Soligorsk.
Minsk Oblast is one of the most economically advanced regions of Belarus. It has a huge industrial and agricultural potential, which influences economic development of the entire country. The major manufacturing hubs are Soligorsk, Borisov, Zhodino, Slutsk, Molodechno. The biggest companies include Belaruskali (potash fertilizers), BelAZ (heavy-duty dump trucks and quarry equipment). Products of Grodno Sugar Refinery, Slutsk Sugar Refinery, Molodechno Dairy Company, Zdravushka-Milk, and Agrokombinat Dzerzhinsky sell well.
Minsk Oblast is the largest agricultural area of Belarus. The majority of districts of the region are involved in cattle breeding, poultry farming and cultivation of grain, potatoes, beetroots and flax. Agricultural companies located in the close vicinity of Minsk and other major towns specialize in the production of fruit and vegetables.
The region trades with more than 160 countries. Top trade partners are Russia, China, Brazil, Ukraine, Germany, Poland, Lithuania, Italy, India, Turkey.
Minsk Oblast is located at the crossroads of the major transport routes connecting Western Europe and the East, the Black Sea region and the Baltic countries.
Railways connect Russia and Europe, the Baltic countries and CIS southern states. The International Airport Minsk operates near the town of Smolevichi.
The Chinese-Belarusian Industrial Park Great Stone is located in Minsk Oblast. This is the biggest project in the history of bilateral relations between Belarus and China, one of the key hubs of the great cooperation initiative Silk Road Economic Belt.
As many as 661 historical and cultural monuments of the Republic of Belarus are situated in Minsk Oblast. They include the Resurrection Cathedral in Borisov, an ancient downtown, a park and a church in Logoisk, a castle and the Holy Transfiguration Church in Zaslavl, the Bernardines’ monastery in the village of Budslav, Myadel District, a wooden church in Slutsk, a palace and park complex in Nesvizh (16th century), the historical complex Stalin Line, the Mound of Glory, the memorial complex Khatyn.
A part of the Berezina Biosphere Reserve, the LakeNarochNational Park and a number of protected areas are located in Minsk Oblast.
Exhibits of Minsk Oblast museums introduce visitors to the eventful history of the country. The Nesvizh museum-reserve, the Vernacular Architecture and EthnicHeritageMuseum in the village of Ozertso, the Museum of the Belarusian Folk Art in Raubichi, the DudutkiMuseum are the major tourist attractions.
Various national and local festivals are frequently held in Minsk Oblast. Among them are the national festival of Belarusian songs and poetry in Molodechno, the national festival of chamber music Muses of Nesvizh and the festival in Zaslavl, other festivals.
There are two big ski resorts in Minsk Oblast, namely, Logoisk and Silichi. There are about 250 hotels and motels, health resorts, rest houses and other tourist facilities.
Mogilev Oblast is located in the eastern part of Belarus. It borders the Russian Federation. The region is divided into 21 districts. The total area is 29,100 square kilometers.
Mogilev is the administrative center of the region. The biggest towns are Bobruisk, Bykhov, Gorki, Kirovsk, Klimovichi, Krichev, Mstislavl, Slavgorod, Osipovichi, Cherikov, Shklov.
Mogilev Oblast is the major producer of steel pipes, tires, elevators, electric engines, cement, synthetic fibers, and other merchandise. The production sector is dominated by chemical production, manufacture of rubber and plastic products, construction materials, machines, and equipment. Products made by two industrial giants – OAO Mogilevkhimvolokno and OAO Belshina – account for about 20% of the total industrial output in the region. At present there are about 150 large and medium-sized manufacturing enterprises in Mogilev Oblast. The biggest industrial centers of Mogilev Oblast are Mogilev, Bobruisk, Krichev, Kostyukovichi, Osipovichi.
Agriculture is the most important branch of the regional economy. The major crops cultivated in Mogilev Oblast are barley, rye, wheat. The region also specializes in the production of potatoes and forage crops. Flax growing is a very promising industry, too. The majority of animal breeding companies specialize in the production of milk, meat, pork, and poultry.
Foreign trade between Mogilev Oblast and other countries is increasingly vibrant. Products made in the region are sold in 96 counties. The free economic zone Mogilev was established in 2002.
Founded in 1840, the Belarusian State Agricultural Academy is the oldest agricultural university in the CIS and Europe. It is situated in the town of Gorki. The academy boasts remarkable architectural solutions. The architectural ensemble of the institution is now part of the historical and cultural heritage of the Republic of Belarus.
The major tourist attractions include St. Nikolas Monastery (17th century, Mogilev), a Jesuit cathedral and a monastery (early 17th century, Mstislavl), a park and palace ensemble (18th century, the village of Zhilichi, Kirovsk District), Potemkin’s Palace (18th century, Krichev), Bobruisk Fortress (19th century), a town hall (18th century, Shklov).
There are 70 wildlife reserves and 90 natural monuments in Mogilev Oblast.
Mogilev Oblast hosts a variety of festivals. Among them are the Golden Bee children’s art festival in Klimovichi, the folk arts festival Wreath of Friendship in Bobruisk, the festival of family arts Constellation of Talents in Glusk, the international youth theater forum М’art – Contact in Mogilev, and many more.
The oblast has 52 health resorts and recuperation facilities. Tourists can choose among about 60 hotels and motels.