Belarus, Belovezhskaya Pushcha: description, history
One of the symbols of the Republic of Belarus is Belovezhskaya Pushcha. This is a huge territory of a relic forest, protected and reserved for several centuries. With the development of eco-tourism, thousands of travelers come here not only from Belarus, but also from other countries.
Scientists believe that the forest growing in the reserve Belovezhskaya Pushcha (Belarus), in prehistoric times, covered the entire territory of modern Europe. But climate change, human activities, urbanization, and other reasons have resulted in only relatively small areas remaining intact.
On the territory of the reserve passes the state border of Poland and the Republic of Belarus. Belovezhskaya Pushcha is a protected area in one and in another state. The reserve area is 152.2 thousand hectares, it includes the territories of the Kamenets and Pruzhany districts of the Brest region and the Svisloch district of the Grodno region.In the small village of Kamenyuki is located the administrative center of the reserve. Here is the entire infrastructure, hotels, cafes. From here, excursions to different corners of the reservation (Belarus) Belovezhskaya Pushcha are sent.
Here you can see in the natural environment 59 species of mammals, 227 species of birds, 7 different species of reptiles, 11 species of amphibians, 24 species of various fish and more than eleven thousand invertebrates. But the most famous animal that has become a symbol of the reserve Belovezhskaya Pushcha (Belarus) is a bison - one of the oldest animals on earth. It was here in the Middle Ages that these powerful and majestic animals were hunted. In the twentieth century, the bison population was almost completely destroyed. Restoration of the population began in the reserve, and now the species is not in danger of becoming extinct.
The diversity of flora in this wild land is also amazing: twenty-five species of trees, many of which are listed in the Red Book. Here and white fir, and rock oak. The average age of the forest here is 81 years old, but there are trees that are much older.The majestic giants, whose girth exceeds one and a half meters, are found here quite often. Here you can see oaks, which have been growing for six hundred years, or ash trees, planted three centuries ago, and chic sprawling spruce trees that have crossed the two-hundred-year mark.
Belovezhskaya Pushcha, which has become the hallmark of the Republic of Belarus, is one of the oldest reserves in the world. The official foundation date is 1409!
Mention of the virgin forest can be found in the Ipatiev Chronicles of 873. Once on these lands lived tribes Yatvyagov, hunted fishing and hunting.
Known from the history of Vladimir Monomakh rules here. At the end of the thirteenth century, Prince Vladimir of Volyn was founded Kamenetz fortress, which later became the city. Over the history of its existence (Belarus), Belovezhskaya Pushcha more than once passed on to the Poles, then to the Lithuanians, then was captured by the Germans. Polish kings in 1413 turned the reserve into hunting grounds. In the 16th century, under Segismund Augusta, timber was fused; factories were built to extract tar and burn coal.
The territory of Belovezhskaya Pushcha became part of Rossi under Catherine II in 1795. But the empress did not pay due attention to the land and divided the relic forest areas among her closest friends, including Kutuzov and Rumyantsev.
The summer of 1811 was a test for the reserve. Unprecedented heat and drought led to the fire that has become the largest in history.
In the 1940s, forest management was carried out, accounting for the forest fund began. There were places for hunting the royal family and the great princes. The foresters monitored the animal population, increased the numerical and species composition of the animals. Under Alexander I, in 1802 a decree was issued banning the hunting of bison. But without them, the game in the forests was enough.
Despite constant restrictions and prohibitions, the cutting of trees in this area has been done for centuries. Not only for household needs, but also for shipbuilding. There are documents that indicate how many valuable trees of solid age were cut down and for what purposes. But the greatest damage was caused during the First World War. German troops occupied Belarus. Belovezhskaya Pushcha, a national park, was in their hands.They paved roads for the export of wood. It was built 4 plants, which were processed and processed millions of cubic meters of wood. It is known for certain that over 4.5 million cubic meters of wood of valuable species were exported.
At the same time, the animal world has suffered greatly. The bison under protection were exterminated, the number of other animals sharply reduced. When the International Congress on the Conservation of Animals was held in 1923, the Polish delegate Jan Stolzmann raised the issue of saving bison from extinction. Then a bison nursery was created, into which six bison were brought from different zoos and private properties. To date, the population of these animals is restored, and they are not on the verge of extinction.
In 1939, the forest became part of Belarus and was declared a state reserve.
It must be said that during World War II, the priceless natural resources practically did not suffer. Goering, Hitler's closest ally planned to create a hunting farm for the Third Reich here. According to his plan, the highest military ranks and elite could hunt here.
Immediately after the liberation, work began on the improvement and restoration of the conservation area, although part of the territory was ceded to Poland.
In 1992, UNESCO included Belovezhskaya Pushcha in the list of the World Heritage of Humanity.
To preserve for descendants a unique relic forest and its inhabitants, Belovezhskaya Pushcha was divided into security zones. The first is a protected area, where access is open only to employees of the reserve and scientists. The second - a zone of regulated use, is open for tourists only accompanied by guides. In the recreation, a variety of mass events are held, tours and walks are organized. In the economic zone there are facilities for receiving and accommodating tourists who came to the reserve of Belovezhskaya Pushcha (Belarus). Hotel, restaurants and cafes are only here.
Museum of Nature
In addition to walks through the relict forest, there is still something to do. And what to see. So, the nature museum here is one of the most famous and visited in the republic. It was opened in 1963. Now it has 7 halls of various subjects. Here you can see a unique photo exhibition about the royal hunt.The first floor is given to ungulates and predators. Stuffed animals performed masterfully and very realistic. The second floor is the kingdom of birds. Here you can see a collection of mushrooms, as well as fish, rodents, butterflies and a herbarium collection. This is just a short list of what awaits the visitor in the museum of the Belovezhskaya Pushcha reserve (Belarus). Rest of this kind will be memorable for children and adults. Devils were planted around the museum, which are not typical for this region, but have perfectly taken root in the conditions of the reserve.
Right next to the museum you can admire the representatives of the wildlife of Belovezhskaya Pushcha. In open enclosures live inhabitants of the reserve. Living conditions are as close to natural as possible, so animals regularly produce offspring.
Belarusian Grandfather Frost
More recently, in 2003, the residence of Grandfather Frost was opened in the reserve, which became another landmark of the Republic of Belarus. Belovezhskaya Pushcha (everyone can meet the New Year here) will make even adults believe in a fairy tale. In the enchanted forest stands the estate of the old wizard and the Snow Maiden's chambers.And here grows the highest fir in Europe. She is already 120 years old. It is decorated for the holiday, but at other times of the year it also attracts the eyes of travelers who have glanced here. By Santa Claus, you can look not only during the winter holidays, but also in summer.
Despite the fact that this is a protected area, here is open access for holidaymakers, tourists, scientists. Belovezhskaya Pushcha (Belarus) where it is, every lover of nature knows. Its administrative center - the village of Kamnyuki is located 60 km from Brest and 20 km from the district center of Kamenets.
The Belarusian-Polish border passes through the Pushcha, and the watershed of the Black and Baltic Seas is in close proximity.
How to get there
The park can be visited as part of a tourist group, paying for the tour. The organizers will take care of travel, food and accommodation and entertainment activities. Passage of private transport in the territory is prohibited. You can only enter to unload the items brought, and then leave the car in the parking lot.
From Brest to Kamyanets go regular buses and minibuses 5 times a day. And in Kamenets, you can take a taxi to the park.
From Minsk, go along the M1 highway, turn to Slonim, and then - to Kamenets. Or on the same road to Zhabinka and further to the administrative center.
On the reserve there are hotels of different levels of comfort with different prices for accommodation. There is a restaurant named after the sanctuary, as well as several cafes where you can enjoy hearty Belarusian national cuisine and try game dishes. It is better to book places in hotels by phone, because there are a lot of people who want to relax in the open air, especially on holidays.
Excursions and walks
In the far corners of the reserve there are buses, which, accompanied by a guide, send groups wishing to see the wonders of nature and learn new things.
You can also walk independently. There are hiking and cycling routes of varying difficulty. And you can walk on horseback. Horses, both real and iron, can be rented right there.
You should definitely visit such a reserve as Belovezhskaya Pushcha (Belarus). How to get from the major cities described above. So there will be no problems for tourists.This place is magical, fabulous, mysterious. Only here you can see nature as it was long before the cities grew up and people settled in both Europe and the Republic of Belarus. Belovezhskaya Pushcha in winter and summer is attractive in its own way. The development of eco-tourism and the desire of people to relax from the noisy and bustling metropolitan areas makes this place more and more popular.