Belarus a forgotten country

Belarus a forgotten country

Belarus is a forgotten part of the new Europe and many imagine the country to be something right out of the pages of George Orwell. Even so, it is one of the last undiscovered treasures of Europe and it has a surprising amount to offer.

  • Belarus has its own history, culture and language. The country first emerged as a country in the Early Middle Age and during the 14 th century it came under the control of Lithuania. For 400 years, Belarus was part of the Polish-Lithuanian superpower before becoming part of Imperial Russia at the end of the 18th century. Belarus was later an integral part of the Soviet Union. Today, Belarus is a free and independent country
  • Belarus has interesting cities – Minsk, a large and growing modern metropolis; Brest, a hectic and lively border town; Vitebsk, a cosmopolitan cultural center; Polotsk, an abundance of historical legacies; and Grodno and Gomel, both cocktails of past glories.
  • Belarus has wide stretches of unspoiled nature, endless unbroken birch groves, vast forested marshlands and gentle sloping green fields interspersed with wooden villages. The country has several national parks with flora and fauna that is extinct in many other parts of Europe.
  • Belarus has a developing tourist infrastructure – especially Minsk has recently got an impressive number of new 4 and 5 star hotels – and the country offers affordable rates and good value.

From the pages of history...

A superpower in medieval Europe

In the 14th century the present-day Belarus, was gradually taken over by Lithuania, a Baltic power which had resisted the pressure of the Teutonic Knights in the west and had expanded considerably eastwards and southwards. A Royal Union with Poland was  established in 1386 when Lithuania's Grand Duke Jogaila was crowned as the Polish King Wydaslaw II Jagiello in Krakow. In the 15th century, Lithuania flourished and expanded under Grand Duke Vytautas to reach its greatest extent stretching from the Baltic Sea in the west, Livonia in the north, 150km short of Moscow to the east and all the way through most of present-day Ukraine to the Black Sea in the south. At the same time Poland defeated the Teutonic Knights and seized control of Pomerania and Prussia and the Jagielloni ans were also kings of Bohemia and Hungary at the end of the 15thcentury and the start of the 16th century. By the middle of the 16th century, the Royal Union between Lithuania and Poland developed into a full Union of States. The Union of Lublin in 1569 created a Commonwealth, often known by its Polish name Rzeczpospolita, consisting of the two main countries Poland and Lithuania and their dependencies. Lithuania gradually became the junior partner as Poland asserted more and more power over Lithuania and Belarus. Meanwhile, Russia, under Peter the Great and Catherine the Great, was emerging as a new European superpower. Gradually it started to interfere in the affairs of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, which in turn started to decline. The Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth finally disappeared as a result of three partitions in 1772, 1793 and 1795, in which the entire state was divided between Russia and it allies, Austria and Prussia. All of Belarus became a part of Imperial Russia.

Via Hansa hereby presents some new products, introducing Belarus in combination with Lithuania and Poland, building on the legacy of 400 years of common history and culture. For more information about Belarus, please visit

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