On the night of 6-7 July, the Ivan Kupala (Kupalye) festival is celebrated in Belarus.
Kupalye is a pagan festival in honour of the summer solstice. Its counterparts can be found in almost all countries of the world.
On this day already in the morning women and girls went singing into fields and meadows to collect medicinal herbs.
The fire was given an important meaning. According to legend, Kupalye fire had a protective, magical and purifying power.
In the evening boys and girls danced and jumped over the fire. Young women made wreaths, let them down into the river and after moving the wreath they tried to tell their future destiny.
An amazing legend about the fern flower is connected with the Kupalye festival: Exactly at midnight the fern blooms for a few moments in fiery colors. People tried to find this fern flower, which promised that all wishes would come true.
To this day people in Belarus celebrate Kupalye and remember the old customs and traditions. You can read more about Belarusian holidays on our website.
Coronavirus breaking news on 6th July 2020
There are 63,804 cases of COVID-19 in Belarus. This was reported by the Ministry of Health in its Telegram channel. The growth for the last 24 hours is 250 new infections.
51,120 patients were recovered and discharged (plus 249 over the past day). During the whole period of the infection spread across the country, 429 patients died (plus six in the last 24 hours).
A total of 1,074,240 tests were conducted (6,211 in the last 24 hours).The percentage of positive tests is about 4%. Earlier, Lithuanian Professor Saulius Caplinskas stated that the country is coping with the epidemic when the number of positive tests per day does not exceed 3%.
The Belarusian Ministry of Health does not rule out the possibility of a second wave of COVID-19. But Health Minister Vladimir Karanik hopes that the experience gained will be useful, so the health system will be much better prepared for the new wave than the first one.
Polotsk is one of the most beautiful cities in Belarus. It is situated in a picturesque place where the river Polota flows into the river Dvina.
The first documentary mention dates back to 862, when the town was the centre of the Polotsk Principality. It is the oldest city in Belarus and the oldest city of the Kiev Rus.
Polotsk became one of the centers of Christianity in the East Slavic countries. Euphrosyne of Polotsk was born here, the first woman in Belarus to be canonized.
Above the city rises the beautiful St. Sophia Cathedral, built between 1044 and 1066. Its construction underlined the strength and independence of the Principality of Polotsk. Similar buildings existed only in Kiev and Novgorod, the centres of the strongest Russian principalities.
The 1150th anniversary of Polotsk was part of the UNESCO calendar of historically memorable dates.
You can learn more about Polotsk on our website. We will be happy to take you to Polotsk on one of our trips to the most exciting regions of Belarus.
Today we would like to introduce you to the heart of g4 tours, our employees. Together we will explore new terrain for you, especially in these Corona times, to show you all facets of Belarus, online and offline. Our German and English speaking tour guides live all over the country. They are experts in history, nature, genealogy, religion, art and much more. From Minsk, Sveta and Tanja coordinate our tour offerings, Paul our founder is based in Cham, Switzerland. One thing unites us all, and that is the passion to explore Belarus off the beaten track together with you. Here you can learn more about our team and our personal travel highlights in Belarus.
Our guide Vania recently joined g4 tours. He has an extraordinary life story. He was a successful manager in a pharmaceutical company in Minsk for over a decade until he decided to renounce civilization and live in a remote estate in the wild part of the Nalibokski National Park. There he dedicated himself to zeidlery, a very old form of beekeeping. He is also a very precise observer and expert of the local flora and fauna. He has documented some of his most recent animal observations here.
Belarus has lifted the 14-day quarantine for travellers from many countries. The list of countries was announced today by the Ministry of Health on its own Telegram channel.
The quarantine has been lifted for the following countries:
Albania, Austria, Belgium, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Moldova, Monaco, Montenegro, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Northern Macedonia, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and China.
People coming from these countries are not obliged to go into self-isolation within 14 days from the day of arrival in Belarus. Until yesterday, this was compulsory and had been strictly enforced.
However, foreigners coming to Belarus must have a negative corona-test when crossing the border. The test must not be older than two days. If you have further questions, we will be happy to help you.
All developments regarding the corona situation in the country can be found in our daily news here.
Did you know that Europe's largest marshlands are located in Belarus? The vast swamps cover more than a tenth of the country's surface. It is therefore not surprising that they are called the lungs of Europe.
Marshes are particularly important in the fight against the climate change, as they are able to store large quantities of carbon dioxide.
Untouched landscapes, a rich flora and fauna and deserted expanses… Join us on a journey to Belarusian Polesia and experience the warm hospitality on site.
You can find out more about the exciting region of Polesia here.
We at g4 tours never get bored, even now during the corona time we get daily requests for information on various topics and questions. We took one of the very amusing inquiries as an opportunity to introduce you to the specialties of Belarusian cuisine.
A young man from Switzerland contacted us with the question how he could prepare a culinary delight from homeland of his brother's Belarusian wife, who came to Switzerland for the first time.
Our tip for "Babka", a simple but delicious potato dish, was very appealing to his sister-in-law, as he told us later. You can find more about the Belarusian cuisine and some selected dishes here.
Belarus has become the first country in the world where birds have personal phone numbers. Public organization "Protection of birds of the Motherland" offers people to get in touch with nature.
To hear the birds singing, it's enough just to call special numbers.
The first own phone numbers have received the most widespread and most recognizable birds in Belarus, which can be seen in parks, and sometimes right from the window of the apartment. Many have heard these voices before, but not everyone knew who they belonged to.
Before you hear the bird's voice on the phone, you will be greeted by "bird secretaries". Their roles were performed by actors of the Janka Kupala National Theatre.
To hear the voices of birds, now it is enough to call on one of the numbers:
+375445006610 Tawny Owl
+375445006613 Wood Pigeon
+375445006615 Blue Tit
Stay in touch with nature!
The whole world is watching the situation with the spread of the coronavirus, Belarus is no exception.
There are a total of 27 patients with coronavirus in Belarus, the Ministry of Health announced on 14 March. 24 of them are in hospital.
An official representative of the WHO said that an increase in new cases is expected in Belarus, an inevitable development. At the same time, he said that the number of 27 patients with coronavirus shows that the situation in the country is under control.
So far there are no plans to introduce a quarantine in the next few days. Belarus is coping with the current measures and does not see an avalanche-like increase in morbidity.
As of 14 March, the Ministry of Health is of the opinion that a complete closure of the border would not be a proportionate measure. All attempts to pursue this approach in other countries have required considerable financial and human resources. This has made the normal functioning of the economy considerably more difficult without protecting the population from the spread of the infection.
Sanitary and quarantine controls at the border (where these are currently in force), as well as anti-epidemiological and clinical measures within the country are considered more rational and effective in Belarus.
In particular, there are discussions about approving measures for "voluntary self-isolation" with partial contact restriction within 14 days for citizens from epidemiologically unfavourable countries who showed no signs of infection at the time of crossing the border. The Ministry of Health also proposes to restrict the holding of mass events in the country.
Despite the coronavirus situation around the world, the beginning of spring is a good time to plan your summer or autumn holidays. We will be happy to advise you on this matter. As always, we cordially invite you to visit our wonderful country, to get to know our culture, our life and our hospitable people.
The individual tours we offer to our travellers become particularly relevant during the Coronavirus pandemic. Belarus is the most sparsely populated country in Europe, which is of great importance now, as crowds of people can easily be avoided. Our tours often lead off the beaten track and less frequented places away from mass tourism. This means that the likelihood of meeting crowds of people is significantly reduced.
You can find more about our tours here. Individually organised tours, which we put together with you based on your wishes and interests, that is our strength and passion.
From 28 February to 1 March "Maslenitsa" is celebrated in Minsk. The people of Minsk say goodbye to winter and welcome the long awaited spring in the old tradition.
Maslenitsa is an old Slavic festival symbolizing the farewell to winter and the joyful expectation of spring. It is originally a pagan festival and not a Christian Orthodox one, but since the Christianization of the Rus it corresponds to the Christian festival cycle.
At this time, sleigh rides, dances, folk songs and bonfires are organized. The burning of the Maslenitsa doll, usually made of straw, is also part of the festivities.
Maslenitsa falls on the week before the beginning of the Orthodox Lent. The name, Maslo means "butter" in Russian, comes from the fact that during this week the Orthodox believers are already forbidden to eat meat, but the consumption of milk, dairy products, eggs and fish is still allowed.
Traditionally, blini (pancakes) are one of the main attributes of the festival. Round, yellow, and hot, they used to have a ritual meaning, as they were a symbol of the sun, which shines brighter again from the beginning of March and lengthens the days.
At the end of February, the square in front of the Minsk Komarovski Market, the largest market in the city, is transformed into a joyful fair. Fragrances of blini, melodies of national musical instruments, jugglers and many interesting activities are awaiting you.
Besides the "classical" blini with sour cream, caviar or honey, the guests of the festival can also try multicolored pancakes with exotic fillings: spicy, with shrimps, beetroot, with jam from fir cones and dandelions.
At the end of the festivities, the highlight of Maslenitsa follows, the burning of a Maslenitsa doll.
Come with us to Minsk and see all this with your own eyes!
You can learn more about customs and traditions in Belarus here.