The Republic of Belarus is situated in the heart of Europe, in the crossroads of trade routes from West to East and from North to South. It is crossed by shortest transport communications linking the CIS member-states with the countries of Western Europe. It borders on Lithuania and Latvia in the North, on Ukraine in the South, on the Russian Federation in the East, and on Poland in the West. The position of the county is of strategic importance for communication between the West and the East, the North and the South. The distance from Minsk to Warsaw is 500 kilometers, to Moscow - 700 kilometers, to Berlin - 1060 kilometers, to Vienna - 1300 kilometers.
The territory of the Republic is 207 thousand square kilometers populated by 10.2 mln. citizens, 70% of them are urban. About one fifth of the population live in the city of Minsk - the capital of Belarus. Administratively, the Republic is divided into six regions. Belarusian and Russian are official state languages. The most widely spread languages of business contacts are Russian, English and German.
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The total area of Belarus is 207.6 thousand square kilometers. It extends 560 kilometers (350 miles) from North to South and 650 kilometers (460 miles) from West to East. Its total area is larger than that of Austria, Ireland, Portugal, and Greece. The city of Minsk is the capital of Belarus. It is situated on the same latitude as Hamburg and Dublin. The highest point is Dzierzhinsky Hill (345 meters above the sea level) in the Minsk Oblast. The country's lowest place is the Neman Valley in the Grodno Oblast (80-90 meters above sea level).
Belarus is situated in the Central-European Time Zone: GMT +2. When it is noon in Belarus, it is 11:00 a.m. in Paris, 10:00 a.m. in London, 5:00 a.m. in New York, 2:00 a.m. in Los-Angeles and 1:00 p.m. in Moscow.
Belarus has a moderate climate with soft and damp winters and warm and damp summers. The average temperature in January is-6°C, and in July it is +18 ° C. The average annual precipitation is 550 and 700 mm.
Belarus is divided administratively into six oblasts, with their centers in Minsk, Brest, Vitebsk, Gomel, Grodno and Mogilev. Each oblast is divided into smaller administrative districts, called rayons, they also include cities and other territorial and administrative entities. There are more than one handred towns and cities in Belarus, including 12 cities with population more than 100 thousand people.
The longest rivers:
(for more information about water resources please see the site of the Ministry of Nature Protection and Environment)
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The biggest lakes
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