Тема № 24 (11-ж и 11-г)
Let’s talk about Belarus.
Let’s talk about Belarus. What can you tell me about our Motherland?
The Republic of Belarus is situated in the centre of Eastern Europe. The capital is the city of Minsk. Belarus borders Poland, Lithuania [,liθju’einjә], Latvia, Russia and Ukraine. Its population is about 10 million. Belarus is made up of 6 regions with the major cities of Brest, Grodno, Gomel, Mogilev and Vitebsk.
Belarus is a country of rich history and ancient culture. The forebears of the Belarusians were the krivichi, radimichi and dregovichi. There are two versions of the origin of the name of Belarus. According to one of them the white clothes of the ancient villagers, their fair hair and the whiteness of their skin gave the name to our republic. The other version says that the name came from the fact that “to be white” meant “to be free”, and as our land wasn’t under the Tatar-Mongol yoke it was called “Belaya Russ”.
Belarus is at the crossroads of Europe. It connects the Baltic and the Black Seas, the East and the West. So the busiest trade-routes lay through Belarus. But this advantage often turned into disadvantage. During wars Belarus was the first to be attacked by various conquerors. The black pages of Belarusian history tell us about terrifying wars which took place on its territory. For example, World War II wiped out one third of the country’s population.
Belarus has a mild climate. Our winters are not very severe and our summers are not too hot. So natural conditions in the republic are favourable for life and economic activities of its people.
The natural world of our republic is a mixture of forests, swamps and grasslands. There are also numerous lakes and rivers. The most beautiful lake is Lake Naroch. The largest rivers are the Dnieper, the Western Dvina and the Neman. Everybody who comes to Belarus can’t but admire our vast forests and green fields, our lakes and pushchas.
Do you know any symbols of our country?
Belarus is a democratic presidential republic. Our state symbols are the National Flag, the National Anthem and the National Emblem. Some other symbols of our republic are a bison, a stork and a cornflower.
What questions about Belarus do you expect to hear from a British teenager?
What Belarusian sights would you advise a foreigner to visit?
There are many places of interest in our republic. A great number of them are connected with the Great Patriotic War. One of the most impressive is the memorial in Khatyn, a village burnt together with all its inhabitants by the fascists. There are many historical places in Polotsk, some of them are connected with Francisk Skaryna, the first Belarusian printer, and with Efrosinia Polotskaya, who is considered to be the protectress of Belarus.
There are some places of interest in our town too. One of them is a field in Buinichi with a monument to Konstantin Simonov. During the Great Patriotic War 39 tanks were destroyed there. The defence of Mogilev, which stood against the enemy for 23 days when the whole of Belarus had already been occupied, was described by Konstantin Simonov in his book “The Living and the Dead”. Simonov often visited our town, and after his death the ashes of his body were scattered over this field.
5)What sights in our country belong to world heritage?
There are four sights in our country that belong to world heritage. They are the Belovezhskaya Pushcha, Mir and Nesvizh Castles and the Struve Arc. I have visited the Palace in Nesvizh, which used to be the residence of the Radzivils, and I was really fascinated by it. (I have visited the castle of Mir and I was fascinated by this miracle made of red bricks). I would like to visit the Belovezhskaya Pushcha and enjoy its rich flora and fauna. I would also like to see the mysterious Struve Arc, or rather the points with special plaques [pla:ks] that show where it is located.