Belarus (i/b?lru?s/ bel-?-ROOSS; Belarusian: ? Bielaru? pronounced [bla?rus?]; Russian: ?, ? Belorussia, Respublika Belarus’), officially the Republic of Belarus, is a landlocked country in Eastern Europe bordered by Russia to the northeast, Ukraine to the south, Poland to the west, and Lithuania and Latvia to the northwest. Its capital is Minsk; other major cities include Brest, Hrodna (Grodno), Homiel (Gomel), Mahilyow (Mogilev) and Vitsebsk (Vitebsk). Over 40% of its 207,600 square kilometres (80,200 sq mi) is forested, and its strongest economic sectors are service industries and manufacturing.
Belarus is a landlocked country in 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. One third of the country is forested, and industries such as agriculture and manufacturing are staples of the Belarusian economy.
Belarus is divided into six provinces, named after the cities that serve as their administrative centers. The city of Minsk, located in the province, has the special status of being a national subordinate, as it isn’t included in any provinces. Local legislative authorities (raisovet, “raion council”) are elected by the raion’s residents. Local executive authorities (raion administration) are appointed by higher executive authorities. In the same way, each provinces has its own legislative authority, elected by residents, and an executive authority, whose leader is appointed by the President. Administrative centers are given in parentheses.)
Minsk is the capital city. Other cities include Brest, Gomel, Grodno, Mogilev and Vitebsk.
The country's terrain is mostly low-lying with some hills. Mount Dzyarzhynskaya is Belarus' highest point. Rivers include the Dniepr, the Dvina, the Neman and the Pripyat.
The climate of Belarus is moderately continental. Winters are cold and summers are warm.
Environment Around one third of Belarus is covered with forest.
The Belovezhskaya Pushcha, shared with Poland, is one of the oldest forests in Europe. Trees in the forest are alder, ash, aspen, elm, lime, maple, oak, pine and spruce. The Belovezhskaya Pushcha is a World Heritage site and a UNESCO MAB Biosphere Reserve.
Other protected areas include Braslav Lakes National Park, Narochanski National Park, and Pripyatsky National Park.
A number of wetlands, including Pripyat Marshes and Lake Osveia, are on the Ramsar List of Wetlands of International Importance.
Many species of birds and animals live in the protected areas. Animals include the lynx, otter, wild boar, wolf and European bison.