Belarus, a generally flat country (the average elevation is 162 m above sea level) without natural borders, occupies an area of 207,600 sq km, or slightly smaller than the United Kingdom or the state of Kansas. Its neighbours are Russia to the east and northeast, Latvia to the north, Lithuania to the northwest, Poland to the west, and Ukraine to the south. The boundary length of Belarus totals 3,098 km.
The capital city of Belarus, Minsk, is located near the centre of the country.
According to a 2005 estimate by the United Nations, 40% of Belarus is covered by forests. Many streams and 11,000 lakes are found in Belarus. Three major rivers run through the country: the Neman, the Pripyat, and the Dnepr. The Neman flows westward towards the Baltic sea and the Pripyat flows eastward to the Dnepr; the Dnepr flows southward towards the Black Sea. Belarus's highest point is Dzyarzhynskaya Hara (Dzyarzhynsk Hill) at 345 m, and its lowest point is on the Neman River at 90 m. The average elevation of Belarus is 160 m above sea level.
The climate ranges from harsh winters, with average January temperatures at -6°C (21.2°F), to cool and moist summers with an average temperature of 18°C (64°F). Belarus has an average annual rainfall of 550 to 700 millimetres (21.7 to 27.5 inches). The country experiences a yearly transition from a continental climate to a maritime climate.
Belarus's natural resources include peat deposits, small quantities of oil and natural gas, granite, dolomite (limestone), marl, chalk, sand, gravel and clay. About 70% of the radiation from neighbouring Ukraine's 1986 Chernobyl nuclear disaster entered Belarusian territory, and as of 2005 about a fifth of Belarusian land (principally farmland and forests in the southeastern provinces) continues to be affected by radiation fallout. The UN and other agencies have aimed to reduce the level of radiation in affected areas, especially through the use of caesium binders and rapeseed cultivation, which are meant to decrease soil levels of caesium-137.
Eastern Europe, east of Poland
53 00 N, 28 00 E
total: 207,600 sq km
land: 202,900 sq km
water: 4,700 sq km
Area - comparative
slightly smaller than the UK or Kansas State
total: 3,306 km
border countries: Latvia 171 km, Lithuania 680 km, Poland 605 km, Russia 959 km, Ukraine 891 km
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