In recent years, Belarusians have tasted all the delights of traveling around their country and thus gave a second life to this sector of the economy. As a result, we have more and more offers for a varied and high-quality holiday with a decent level of service. The number of people wishing to spend their holidays at home is also growing. Correspondents of The MT took a closer look at the most interesting and unusual routes, objects and services of domestic tourism.
Summer has already begun, but you still don’t have a clear plan how to spend it? No problem! This week, a large-scale tourism promotion Vandrui, Adchui, Natchniaisia [Travel. Feel. Encourage] is taking place. In a nutshell, hundreds of sanatoriums and hotels, farmsteads and wildlife preserves, museums and restaurants organised original open days for potential visitors. Somewhere they promise free tours, and somewhere — discounts on accommodation and meals. The goal of the project is to help Belarusians choose places for their future vacation and present the diversity of the potential of the tourism industry.
In recent years, the largest forest area in the country — Nalibokskaya Pushcha — has been carefully developed in the direction of ecological tourism. The employees of the reserve are ready to conduct tours along the Syabrynsky Crossroads eco-trail. Its length is only 960 metres, but it passes through three biotopes at once: forest, meadow and swamp. Nearby are the habitats of wild horses — tarpan horses. A nice bonus — during the tour you can look into the nursery for breeding the rarest breeds of black grouse.
In the future, you can look at long-term rafting in kayaks. They are organised on the territory of the forest by Belgosokhota (the official tour operator of the Forestry Ministry).
“For this season, a number of rafting routes with intermediate and final stops along the Usa, Western Berezina, Isloch and Neman Rivers have already been developed. There are options for 3, 5 and 12 kilometres. Right now we are working on rafts on the Neman River on fences. The most important thing is that tours can be booked and paid for online,” the director of Belgosokhota Vadim Krutko emphasises.
Every year, new tourist and excursion routes appear in Belarus. According to the Deputy Sport and Tourism Minister Oleg Andreichik, this year alone there were 211 more of them. And we are not only talking about the capital, regional centres and Mir s Nesvizh, which are favored by travellers.
Indeed, tourists will be able to see Orsha in a new way during the Ad Kvetki da Ruchnika [From a Flower to a Towel] excursion. This is a successful case of industrial tourism.
The route will be interesting for both adults and children, its author, a tourism instructor-methodologist of FSK Orsha Tatyana Vasilevskaya, “Orsha Distrtict is a linen region. We have created a thematic tour and start the excursion with a visit to the village of Ustye, where the Institute of Flax of the National Academy of Sciences of Belarus is located. Specialists of the laboratories will tell about the selection of flax, the peculiarities of its cultivation and growth in our country.”
Next, the route leads to the Orsha Vocational Lyceum of Textile-Workers named after G.V. Semenov. Students will demonstrate models of clothing made from linen fabrics, show equipped workshops and samples of products they have made themselves.
“Then the visitors will see the Orsha Linen Mill. They will realise the path taken by linen before it turns into a soft fabric. The final point of the route is the House of Linen brand store, one of the largest in Belarus, where a wide range of linen products is presented,” Tatyana Vasilevskaya explains.
In the footsteps of the Romanovs
What about an unexpected perspective on ancient Polotsk. The head of the local branch of the local history museum, Irina Vodneva, has developed a route that tells what mark the Romanov dynasty left in the history of the city, when and with what objectives Russian emperors visited Polotsk — from Peter the Great and Catherine the Great to the last members of the Romanov family.
“Representatives of princely and royal houses visited the city more than once. The tour is based on new material previously known only to a few scientists and researchers. The excursion is designed for one day, during which we will trace how Polotsk was connected with the Romanovs. For example, few people are aware that it was Nicholas II of Russia who approved the transfer of the relics of Saint Euphrosyne from the Kiev-Pechersk Lavra to the St. Euphrosyne Convent of Polotsk,” Irina Vodneva says.
‘Provincial Rome’ welcomes
The history teacher of the Mstislavl gymnasium Vladimir Strekha created the ‘Mstislavl — Eternal and Young’ route.
“In fact, our city is an open-air museum. I jokingly call it provincial Rome. Why? Like Rome, Mstislavl is based on hills. There are only 7 of them in Rome, 6 in Mstislavl. With tourists, we will visit Castle Hill, where the remains of a wooden city of the 12th century are located. Here, by the way, one of the birch bark manuscripts was found. And from the towers of the castle there is a beautiful view of modern Mstislavl. Our region is also a place for pilgrimage tourism. There are about a dozen temples in the city with a population of 10,000 people. One of the places of attraction for believers is the Holy Dormition Monastery in the village of Pustynki. Its main shrine is the man-made image of the Saviour Jesus Christ. I always say that only a pure soul can see it,” the teacher inspiringly shares his emotions.
The tourism industry is actively preparing for the 2nd CIS Games, which will be held in 20 sports in 11 cities of Belarus from August 5th to August 13th. The Director of the Tourism Department of the Sport and Tourism Ministry Irina Voronovich said that operators will create unique programmes for guests in each region, “We have been diligently preparing for the Games for a long time. These are not only sports competitions — it is interesting for fans to see the country, the city where the competitions are held. In order for tourists to see as much as possible, in each region there is a tour operator assigned to the event, who develops packages for one, three, four and eight days. This is done so that guests have the opportunity to attend sports events in different cities, visit cultural sites, and have an interesting and useful time. Excellent accommodation options are available in agricultural estates located near the cities where the Games will be held.”By the way, from July 3rd to August 31st, a visa-free entry procedure will be introduced, as well as an exemption from registration for participants and staff involved in the 2nd CIS Games. The reason for visa-free travel is the inclusion of athletes and other participants in the list of the accredited system of the Games.