Posted: 14.06.2023 10:10:00

Belarusian Land Treasures. Brest Region

The Republic of Belarus is located in the centre of Europe and is one of the 15 largest countries in this part of the world. Belarus is often called a ‘blue-eyed country’: there are thousands of lakes, rivers and protected forests. But the country is interesting not only for its unique nature. Each region of Belarus has its own modern industrial giants, amazing historical sites and sights. Belarus consists of six regions: Brest, Vitebsk, Gomel, Grodno, Minsk and Mogilev. Minsk — the capital of the Republic of Belarus — retains an independent status and is not part of any regions. The MT presents the project called Belarusian land treasures and invites readers on an exciting journey. The Brest Region is the western gate of Belarus, a land of amazing nature, an important tourist, transit, industrial and agricultural region. 

Monument to the 1000th anniversary of Brest

The President of the Republic of Belarus,
Aleksandr Lukashenko, 

“The chronicle of your region is rich and ancient. The fate of Europe was decided here more than once, many outstanding personalities come from here: scientists, astronauts, artists, poets and statesmen. The whole world remembers the heroic deed of the defenders of the Brest Fortress and admires the relic splendour of Belovezhskaya Pushcha. Decades of the newest history of the Brest Region are filled with fruitful work and creation... The skilful use of natural resources and the introduction of modern technologies help the region’s farmers to maintain leading positions in many respects. Thanks to the talent and diligence of the people, Brest has become one of the most beautiful cities in the country.”

From the congratulations of the Head of State 
on December 6th, 2019 

Historical insight, interesting facts

Brest is one of the oldest cities in Belarus. It is first mentioned in the Primary Chronicle (1019) as a large, well-fortified settlement.
Over the centuries, Brest has repeatedly become part of different states, destroyed and rebuilt again. The city to this day keeps the architecture of different eras: from the ancient settlement of Berestye to the buildings of imperial Brest-Litovsk, Polish Brest-on-the-Bug and Soviet Brest.
The construction of the Brest Fortress, which began in the 1830s, was a landmark event in the history of the Brest Region. It was to become one of the largest and most modern fortifications in the world.

The Courage monument is the compositional centre of the Brest Hero Fortress Memorial Complex
Pavel Bogush

On June 22nd, 1941, the Brest Region and the city of Brest with their fortress took the first blow of the German troops on the first day of the Great Patriotic War. The Brest Fortress, with a small garrison in it, did not surrender until July 30th, 1941.  
In 1991, it was in the Brest Region, in the Viskuli residential complex on the territory of Belovezhskaya Pushcha, that a historic document on the collapse of the Soviet Union was signed. A new international organisation, the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS), was also born here.
It was in the Brest Region in 1996 that the first Dazhynkі harvest festival in independent Belarus was held.

The first Dazhynkі festival was held in Brest Region
Aleksey Stolyarov

In this region, the last monarch of the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth Stanisław August Poniatowski was born, as well as the future classic of Belarusian and Polish literature, Adam Mickiewicz.
The first President of Israel, Chaim Weizmann, is from the Brest Region.
Napoleon Orda is famous for his paintings depicting various architectural monuments of Belarus, Lithuania and Poland, urban and rural landscapes. Pyotr Klimuk is also a native of the Brest Region and the first Belarusian who has been in space.
Brest was glorified by Yulia Nestsiarenka, who in 2004 managed to sensationally win the ‘royal’ distance at the Athens Olympics — the 100-metre run. 

Geographical position and population

The Brest Region is located in the south-west of the country, in the south it borders on Ukraine, in the west — on Poland.
1,324,027 people live in the region (as of January 1st, 2022), including 945,484 people in cities and 378,543 people in rural areas.
The largest cities in the region are Brest (340,723 people), Baranovichi (173,028 people) and Pinsk (125,060 people).

Economic development

The Brest Region has great potential in the agricultural and industrial sectors. There are enterprises for the production of food products, mechanical engineering, textile and clothing production, furniture and building materials production.
The industry of the region provides more than a quarter of the gross regional product. The share of the region in the volume of industrial production of the country is almost 11 percent.

Granit enterprise’s intellectual quarry
Yury Mozolevsky

There are more than 1800 industrial enterprises in the region. The leading companies are Savushkin Product, 558th Aircraft Repair Plant, Santa Bremor, Brest Meat Processing Plant, Brestenergo, Polesie, Granit, Pinskdrev Holding Company, Gefest-Technika and others.

At the Brest Stocking Mill
Pavel Bogush

There are 267 agricultural organisations in the region.
The concept of the village of the future is being implemented in the region, for the implementation of which three agro-towns have been chosen — Ostromechevo, Belovezhsky, Parokhonsk.
The light industry is the hallmark of the Brest Region. Clothing and hosiery from the Brest Region are in great demand far beyond the borders of the country.
In general, products manufactured in the Brest Region are exported to 107 countries of the world. Since 1996, the Brest FEZ has been operating in the region.
6 transport and logistics centres have been equipped in the Brest Region. There is a Berlin-Warsaw-Brest-Minsk-Moscow transit corridor. 80 percent of land exports of the CIS states to Western Europe go through the region. 

Natural wealth and mineral resources

279 rivers flow on the territory of the Brest Region, the largest are the Western Bug River, Pripyat River, Goryn River, Shchara River and Yaselda River, there are 663 lakes, the largest are Vygonoshchanskoe Lake, Bobrovichskoe Lake, Sporovskoe Lake, Chernoye Lake and Beloye Lake.
The Brest Region is the centre of Belarusian Polesie. Europe’s largest open low-lying swamps have been preserved in their natural state on the territory of the region.
In the north-west of the Brest Region there is a unique forest area, the oldest protected natural area in Europe — the Belovezhskaya Pushcha National Park, which is included in the UNESCO World Cultural Heritage List. The legendary Belovezhskaya Pushcha is one of the oldest reserves in the world, the largest remaining part of the vast relict forest of Europe, which many centuries ago stretched from the Baltic Sea to the Bug River and from the Oder River to the Dnieper River. The main wealth of the famous Pushcha is the second largest population of bison of the Belovezhskaya line on the planet.

 European bison at Belovezhskaya Pushcha

On the territory of the Brest Region there is the Belarusian part of the Western Polesie transboundary biosphere reserve (Belarus-Poland-Ukraine), as well as the Pripyat Polesie biosphere reserve.
In addition, on the territory of the region there are 18 reserves of republican significance and 32 reserves of local significance.
In the region, 10 natural areas are included in the international Ramsar list of wetlands of international importance, mainly as habitats for waterfowl.
The Brest Region has deposits of minerals: building stone, clay, sand, gravel, oil shale and brown coal.

Culture and main attractions

More than 2,500 monuments of culture, history and architecture are concentrated in the Brest Region. 774 monuments are included in the State List of Historical and Cultural Values of the Republic of Belarus.
The Struve Geodetic Arc is a unique monument of history and scientific and technical thought of the 19th century, named after the astronomer and mathematician, the first director of the Pulkovo Observatory, Vasily Struve, and is included in the UNESCO World Heritage List. In Belarus, the largest number of objects of the Struve Geodetic Arc has been preserved — 19. On the territory of the Brest Region, these are the points of Leskovichi, Osovnitsa and Chekutsk.
Also, among the main attractions of the Brest Region are the Brest Hero Fortress Memorial Complex, the Kossovo Palace and Park Ensemble, the Ruzhany Palace Complex of the Sapiehas, the Nemtsevichy Estate and the Berestye Archaeological Museum — the only museum in Europe of a medieval East Slavic city.

Kossovo Palace and Park Ensemble

 There is a 700-year-old 30-metre donjon tower in the Kamenets District of the Brest Region, which is often called the White Tower, a recognisable architectural symbol of Belarus.
The hallmarks of Brest are considered to be the railway station built by the decree of Alexander II of Russia (the largest and most beautiful in the Russian Empire), the local ‘Arbat’ — the pedestrian Sovetskaya Street, the monument to the Millennium of Brest.
Another important attraction of the country is located in Belovezhskaya Pushcha — the residence of the Belarusian Ded Moroz.
The Brest Region annually hosts the Biker Festival, the theatre festival Belaya Vezha, the ecological festival Sporovo Hayfields, the Motalskie Prysmaki gastronomic festival and many others.

By Svetlana Sergeeva