Belarus is a country with an ancient history and rich traditions, enchanting nature and astonishing architecture, industrial giants and well-developed agriculture, unique cuisine and hospitable people.

Belarus is located in the center of Europe at the intersection of many international routes. The capital of the Republic of Belarus is Minsk. Minsk is one of the oldest cities in Europe. The first written mention dates back to 1067. The population of Minsk is about 2 million people.

The climate in Belarus is moderate continental, there are no sudden temperature changes, severe frosts or stifling heat. Heavy rain, hurricanes and other dangerous weather events are extremely rare.

The modern cultural life of Belarus is dynamic and diverse. The country hosts many art, music, theater exhibitions and film festivals. Belarus entertains guests with all kinds of events. Here you can visit a theater forum or a folk culture festival, attend an open-air event dedicated to ancient crafts or national cuisine, take part in a medieval re-enactment.

Attention should be paid to national cuisine. The national cuisine of Belarus has a centuries-old history. Its development and formation were influenced by both climatic conditions and the country’s geographical position at the crossroads of Western and Eastern cultures and the world’s largest religions.

There are a huge number of restaurants and cafes in Belarus that specialize in preparing dishes of national cuisine, which also have thematic interior design – decorative elements reflecting the culture, flavor and national traditions of the Belarusian people.
Belarus is famous for amazing folklore, unique rituals, and originality. Belarusian traditions are honored both at the state and at the family levels, they are passed from generation to generation.

Belarus is rich for museums, manors and ethnographic complexes. Guests of museums and numerous complexes can see ancient household items and works of decorative and applied art, hear Belarusian songs and learn about ancient dances of the Belarusian people.
For enthusiasts who want to fully experience the ancient Belarusian way of life, agroeco homesteads are organized – rural houses that are suitable for relaxing and exploring the area. Here you can take a walk to the apiary, take part in an exciting haymaking, ride horses, and hunt.

However, the true soul of the Belarusian people is expressed in their traditional folk crafts, the skillful craftsmanship of artisans, which has been passed from generation to generation.

Straw weaving
One of the most famous elements of Belarusian folk art can be called straw weaving.

Since ancient times, this craft has helped create durable and convenient products for everyday life and everyday household chores. Belarusians considered straw to be an analogue of gold, so it was often used in the decoration of church temples. In addition, straw weaving in Belarus was included in the UNESCO Representative List of Intangible Cultural Heritage.

Nowadays, artistic products and souvenirs made from straw are given as gifts to the closest people. Such products have no analogues in the world, this is one of the distinctive features of the artistic traditions of the Belarusian nation.

In Belarus anyone can try themselves as an artisan of this diverse and original craft.

Belarusian “malyavanka” (drawing).
Another popular element of Belarusian folk art is malyavanki – these are painted carpets on fabric that were widely distributed on the territory of Belarus starting from the end of the 19th century. In the 20-30s of the 20th century, almost every Belarusian house had decorated walls with painted carpets, on which both scenes from everyday life and fantastic worlds of fairy tales and legends were painted. Belarusian malyavanki have always been popular gifts for anniversaries and weddings.

In Belarus, anyone can try their hand at creating a painted carpet, which will remind them of their visit to Belarus for many years.

Pottery has been known in Belarus since primitive times, when the first hand-molded earthenware and cooking utensils on fire appeared. Potters shaped the dishes on a potter’s wheel, fired them in forges or home ovens and subjected them to decorative treatments.
Over time, pottery, like many others, turned into art. Various symbolic animals, musical instruments, toys and much more made from clay are also an important trend in modern Belarusian traditional art.

Almost every locality along with a blacksmith, potter and miller, had its own cooper, who made barrels and dishes from oak, pine, and spruce materials. These materials were tied together with hoops – metal or wood.
Containers for water, drinks, for storing food and various things – all this could be made by ancient Belarusian craftsmen.
Today modern Belarusian artisans continue the traditions of their ancestors. A modern Belarusian cooper knows not only the techniques of making wooden utensils, but also understands the characteristics of a particular type of wood and can explain how to create these amazing items.

Weaving dolls
In Belarus, there always has been a tradition of weaving motanka dolls, parents began making them in ancient times to please their children. Over time, these dolls became ritual. Some of them were made with medicinal herbs inside to cure the sick, some were intended to bring good luck or a good harvest. Some people believed that such a doll contained the spirit of ancestors and could pass on experience from generation to generation.

Felting wool
Felting wool is an ancient Belarusian craft. Even in ancient times, people appreciated natural wool for its unique qualities. Shirts, hats, and pants were made from wool. At the end of the 19th century, winter shoes – felt boots – appeared in the everyday life of wealthy people.

Sometimes felt boots were decorated with painting and embroidery. Now the ancient craft of felting is coming back into fashion. An old folk craft is being revived. Young craftsmen use new techniques and materials, combine wool with silk, chiffon, linen, lace, resulting in original dresses, bags, and shoes.

Wood carving
Wood carving is the most ancient way of decorating wood products. Compositions of traditional Belarusian carvings usually develop beautifully and freely in the form of plant shoots. Traditionally, Belarusians decorated wooden ships and houses, furniture, dishes, looms and spinning wheels with carvings.
Modern Belarusian craftsmen maintain traditions by making a wide variety of items – boxes, wooden sculptures, wood paintings, figures and other products.
If you want to visit the heart of Europe, try yourself out as an ancient artisan, feel all the uniqueness, flavor and identity of the Belarusian nation, then you should come to Belarus.

In our country, centuries-old traditions, natural wealth and modern experience are harmoniously intertwined. We always welcome guests and we know how to surprise them. Here every traveler will certainly find for himself what he went on the journey for.

Aleh Andreichyk, Deputy Minister of Sports and Tourism of the Republic of Belarus