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Capital :  
Minsk (Republic of Belarus)
Population :  
10.2 million
Area :  
207600 sq. km.
Language :  
Belarusian, Russian
Currency :  
Time Zone :  
Belarus is GMT/UTC + 3h during Standard Time
The Republic of Belarus is situated in the heart of Europe at the crossing of roads from West to East and from North to South. The name Belarus derives from the term White Russia (White-Rus). There are several claims to where the original of the name White Rus came from. The name describes the snow covered area of Eastern Europe populated by Slavic people as a beautiful or free territory, as opposed to Lithuanian controlled Black Ruthenia.
Belarus is a landlocked country in the region traditionally called Eastern Europe, bordering Russia to the east, Ukraine to the south, Poland to the west, and Lithuania and Latvia to the north. Its capital is Minsk and other major cities include Brest, Grodno, Gomel, Mogilev and Vitebsk. The city of Minsk itself is split into nine districts and is given a special status, due to the city serving as the national capital. Minsk City is run by an executive committee and granted a charter of self-rule by the national government.
The territory of Belarus is 207 thousand square km, population 10.2 million people of which 70% are urban. Most of Belarus's population of 9.85 million resides in the urban areas surrounding Minsk and other oblast (regional) capitals. About one fifth of the population is living in Minsk, the capital of Belarus. Administratively, Belarus is divided into six regions. More than 80% of the population is native Belarusian, with sizable minorities of Russians, Poles and Ukrainians. Official languages are Belarusian and Russian. Among the most popular languages of business contacts are Russian, English, and German.
Belarus is a presidential republic, governed by a president and the National Assembly.
Today Belarus is trying to become a new European travel destination. The hope is that the future of Belarus as a tourist destination may further push the government to open up and democratize the country in search for a competitive advantage.
Belarus became closer to the West on May 1, 2004 when 10 new members, including three neighboring countries of Belarus, joined the EU. Without a doubt, this will generate momentum for Western European business to uncover the potential of their Eastern counterparts. For Belarus, however, a lot will depend on the efforts of the government and political climate in the country.
Basically Belarus is a safe place for travelers, provided that they behave reasonably. Locals are usually friendly and helpful.51.2% of Belarusian are employed by state-controlled companies, 47.4% are employed by private Belarusian companies (of which 5.7% are partially foreign-owned), and 1.4% are employed by foreign companies
40% of Belarus is covered by forests. The climate of Belarus is temperate-continental with mild and damp winter and warm summer. The warmest period is May-September; the average monthly temperature in this period is about +13—+19 C. The warmest month is July, the coldest one is January.
Climate data for Minsk : On average, 15 to 30 centimeters of snow falls in the country, mostly in the northeast. Belarus experiences an average rainfall of 600 to 700 millimeters with over 70% of the rain falling during the warmer periods of the year.
The currency of Belarus is the Belarusian ruble (BYR). In 2000, notes were introduced in denominations of 1, 5, 10, 20, 50, 100, 500, 1000 and 5000 rublei. In 2001, higher denominations of 10,000, 20,000 and 50,000 rublei were introduced, followed by 100,000 rublei in 2005. There are no coins or banknotes issued in kapeykas.
Belarus and Russia have been close trading partners and diplomatic allies since the breakup of the Soviet Union. Belarus is dependent on Russia for imports of raw materials and for its export market. Belarus has trade agreements with several European Union member states well as with its neighbors Lithuania, Poland and Latvia (all of whom are EU members).
Belarus was a founding member of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS). In addition to the CIS, Belarus has membership in the Eurasian Economic Community and the Collective Security Treaty Organization. Belarus has been a member of the international Non-Aligned Movement since 1998 and a member of the United Nations since its founding in 1945. Belarus is also a member of the Organization on Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE).
Education in Belarus is free at all levels including higher education. The government ministry that oversees the running of the school systems is the Ministry of Education of the Republic of Belarus. Belarus has a well-regarded education system, including universities and further education institutions that attract numerous foreign students. Pre-School Education Pre-school education is not compulsory in Belarus but around 70% of children do attend nursery or kindergarten before they start school. School Education in Belarus. Most children in Belarus start school at the age of 6. All pupils must follow the basic education curriculum up to the age of 15, and the vast majority of pupils stay at school until they finish their high school education at 18. At the age of 15, pupils that have successfully completed basic education can attend college or professional technical institutions where they can focus on completing their high school education and work toward a professional certificate.
Completion of a high school or professional certificate allows students to apply to continue their education at the university level. There are two official languages within the education system in Belarus, Russian and Belarusian.Belarus has one of the highest student-to-population ratios in Europe. The higher education system in Belarus is seen as prestigious due to its high quality and affordability.
There are four main types of higher education establishments to choose from, which can be either private or state operated:
Classical university
Profile university or academy
Higher college
Most courses run for 5 years and students can choose to study full time, at evening classes or by correspondence. Grants are available for full-time students and scholarships are awarded to very gifted students. All higher education establishments are governed by the Ministry of Education in Belarus.

More than 6000 foreign students study at higher education institutions and universities in Belarus every year.