27 July 2016
In April 2016 the NGO Priceconomics published an article entitled Which Countries Are the Most / Least Overrun by Tourists? in which Belarus was ranked the 11th least popular country for tourists.
The fact that a central European country is as appealing to tourists as Niger, Chad, or Sudan has already caused much discussion in Belarus.
Two facts add fuel to these discussions....
22 July 2016
Louis Mayer, one of the founders of the Hollywood studio Metro-Golden-Mayer and the ‘inventor’ of the Oscar award was born in Minsk.
Isaac Asimov, Marc Chagall and Leon Bakst were born and grew up in Belarus. Fifteen Nobel Prize laureates, Jacques Cousteau and and many other notable personalities have Belarusian ancestry.
At the same time, the Guggenheim museum lists...
27 May 2016
On 5 May 2016, Minsk hosted a rally of Belarusians on wheelchairs, who gathered to remind the society of continuing discrimination.
Neither the state nor the public noticed this desperate cry in the desert, ignoring the needs of about 500,000 people with disability.
In 2015, Belarus was the last state in Europe to sign the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities...
14 January 2016
14 January 2016
For many first-time visitors to Belarus the limit of ambition and adventure often extends no further than the boundaries of inner city Minsk, yet a voyage of discovery exists elsewhere in the other major cities, museum towns and the natural world.
This article, the first of a two-parter, introduces a number of these treasures in the Western half of the country, where the elegance of...
22 December 2015
The Belarusian authorities threaten mercenaries originating from Belarus who participate in the Ukraine conflict with large prison terms. Belarusians cancel their New Year tourist plans because of terror attacks at popular tourist destinations.
The trade ministry tries to regulate the rapidly growing sector of online commerce. The hotel sector in Minsk faces hard times. The government...
14 December 2015
Until a decade or so ago, the choice of hotels here was limited to one out of one; Soviet-style brutalist concrete monoliths, crumbling and ill-cared for, often with brutalist standards to match.
Yet as Belarus reaches out to establish a foothold in the Western tourism market, so consumer choice has increased.
This article presents details of the options available and adds a few...
11 November 2015
For the first-time visitor from the West, a scheduled flight to Minsk provides the most direct means of access to Belarus. Some venture no further than the capital itself, yet getting out of Minsk and beyond the façade of tourism offers the traveller a glimpse of the way of life of ordinary Belarusians.
Whether sharing food and vodka with strangers on a five-hour train journey...
30 October 2015
In geographical terms, Belarus lies at the heart of Europe. It borders the European Union. Its capital Minsk can be reached from London by plane in less than three hours. Even so, the first time visitor may encounter a number of features of life here that will surprise.
An apparent obsession with Red Tape and Bureaucracy, particularly within Officialdom, can both amuse and infuriate....
16 October 2015
By any known measure, Minsk paints a vivid tableau of itself as a major European capital city. Vibrant and buzzing with activity, a visitor can nevertheless feel instantly relaxed and at ease upon arrival without even knowing it.
Almost two million people live here. Business and commerce are thriving. Opportunities to experience culture, the arts, entertainment and sport for young and...
29 September 2015
Belarus Digest starts a series of articles on tourism in Belarus prepared by Nigel Roberts, a a UK-based freelance travel writer specialising in Belarus.
I first visited this extraordinary and much misunderstood country in 2001. I have returned many times since then to explore widely, initially working on sustainable development projects with families in communities blighted by...
14 January 2015
Belarus remains a blank spot on the map for many foreigners. A mere 137,000 tourists visited the country in 2013—twenty-one times fewer than the number who visited tiny Estonia.
Onerous visa requirements, combined with an underdeveloped service industry, undermine the country’s efforts to attract foreign visitors.
The world’s largest travel guide company, Lonely...