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Berezovsky district, with an area of 1412 km2 (14th place in Belarus), is located in the central part of Brest region. It borders the Pruzhany, Ivatsevichi, Ivanovo, Drohichi and Kobrin districts.

The Berezovsky district occupies the north-western part of the Pripyatskoye Polesie and the south-eastern part of the Pribuzhskaya Plain.

The main waterway is the Yaselda River. Although it has undergone extensive land reclamation work in the area, significant parts of the channel have been preserved in their original form. There are several large lakes here: Beloe, Sporovskoe, and the Selets Reservoir.

As of 2018, the population of Berezovsky district was 62,882, the fourth highest among all districts of Belarus. The administrative center is Bereza. There is another city - Belozersk, as well as 16 agro-towns. The total number of settlements is 109.

The Church of St. Seraphim of Sarov in Beloozersk

Berezovsky district is not very rich in historical and architectural monuments, but has an important natural heritage, as well as a favorable location (through it passes the international highway E30, which connects Cork with Omsk). Together, this creates excellent conditions for the development of eco-tourism.

Five reasons to visit Berezovsky district

1. See the rarest singing bird in Europe

In the territory of Belarus inhabits approximately half of the world population of swirling reeds which totals only 8-10 thousand individuals. Republican Landscape Reserve "Sporovsky" is one of the most important places for the conservation of this species.

In May, when swirling reeds come back from wintering grounds in Equatorial Africa, in lowland marshes and bays; meadows in the Yaselda floodplain in the evening you can hear the males singing and even see them themselves. Even though the representatives of this species are not distinguished by their bright plumage, but hundreds of foreign tourists every year come to the Sporovsky Wildlife Refuge to see the rarest singing bird in Europe. Who knows, perhaps acquaintance with it will be your first step into the fascinating world of berdwatching.

2. Try some unexpected fish dishes

They are especially famous for the village of Sporovo, located on the shore of the lake of the same name. Fishing has been the main occupation of the locals for many centuries. They know a lot about it - as well as in the preparation of what they can catch. Besides ear (where without it!) here you can try more exotic dishes - for example, fish dried in the oven on a bed of dill or rye straw.

Do not miss the opportunity to learn the local dance, which is also called - Sporty Polka. It is so unusual that it received the status of intangible cultural heritage of Belarus. If you don't have a soul for choreography, you can just sit on the shore with a fishing rod or take a walk along this unusual lake, which is surrounded by low marshes.

3. Pick up shrimp

Belozersk, one of the youngest cities in our country, is located on the territory of Berezovsky district. Recently it celebrated its 60th anniversary. The city was founded as a working settlement at Berezovskaya GRES (it is one of two power plants of such type existing on the territory of Belarus).

For fans of industrial architecture acquaintance with GRES itself can become very interesting (though we shouldn't forget that we are talking about a regime object, so that not everyone can get to its territory). The water used by the GRES for cooling is discharged into the lake. For this purpose, a canal was dug where the eastern river shrimp was inhabited in 1982: the water was too warm for crayfish, and for this species it was just right.

Catch the shrimp better at night with a flashlight (for this would fit a normal net), but no more than 1 kg per day. In addition, fishing is prohibited from April 1 to July 1, when this species has a breeding season. These crustaceans are not inferior in taste to their close relatives, which are sold in shops.

4. Touch military history

It so happens that Berezovshchina more than once became an arena of military operations. This is reminiscent of a variety of monuments, from which, if you want, you can make a separate route.

After the Uprising of 1830 the famous Cartesian monastery in the Bereza was closed. Over time, its buildings were dismantled into bricks, from which the so-called red barracks were built. Under the Polish authorities, they housed a school where specialists were trained for the river fleet. However, in 1934 these buildings became part of the camp for political prisoners, which was notorious for its harsh conditions and torture.

The rebellion of 1863 is reminiscent of the brotherly grave of the rebels, located on the outskirts of the village Soboly, near the highway M1/E30. Next to the Birch there is a big military cemetery from the times of the First World War and heavy battles between German and Russian troops took place nearby.

The Armored Mountain is another tragic place. It was here in 1942 that Hitlerites  carried out mass executions of the Jewish population. Village Zditovo has forever entered the history of the Great Patriotic War. Next to it, from April 3 to 11, 1944; there was a legendary battle between partisans and a detachment of chasteners.

Zditovskaya Defensive Memorial Complex

5. See how your favorite cheese is made

It must be difficult to find a person in Belarus who hasn't tried Berezovsky Cheese Mill products at least once in his life. This enterprise produces a wide range of products: from technical casein to ice cream and condensed milk. However, among 180 items of cheese a special place is given to it. There are also "classic" and more exotic varieties, including "Belovezhsky" - smoked cheese with pepper and garlic. This product is rightly considered one of the business cards of Berezovsky district.

Those who are lucky enough to get on the tour will be able to see how cow's milk is used to create all this impressive diversity. You can buy the famous cheese and other products at pleasant prices in the brand store "Veras", which is located in the heart of the city, near the local history museum and cinema "October".

History

As archaeological excavations have shown, already in 3-4 millennia BC on the territory of the Berezov region there were settlements. However, the Slavs came to these lands much later - only in the IX century AD. To 1252 refers a mention of d.Zditovo in the Ipatiev Chronicle, which thus can be considered the oldest settlement in the area.

Sapegi played a huge role in his history. It was on their lands that the famous Cartesian monastery was built. Among other things, he remembers the Swedish King Charles XII, who stayed here during the Northern War. One of the most important battles from the Birch was the one that ended in the defeat of Russian troops and the signing of the peace treaty.

In 1795, following the results of the Third Section of the Rzeczpospolita, these lands became part of the Russian Empire. Two important events contributed to their further economic development: construction of Moscow-Brest highway (1842) and then Moscow-Brest railway (1871).

During the First World War Berezovshchina was captured by the Kaiser troops. In July 1920, Soviet power was established here for a short time, and then until 1939 these lands were part of the Polesie Province of Poland.

In 1940, the Berezovsky district was established, which began to develop actively after the Second World War. Many industrial enterprises were built, which allows it to be one of the three most industrially developed areas of the Brest region. In addition to Berezovskaya GRES, they include the plant Gidrostekloizol, Berezovsky cheese factory.

October 17, 2003 was another bright page in the history of the district. It was on this day that it received its own coat of arms, which was designed and approved by the Heraldic Service of the Republic of Belarus. The blue wavy line at the bottom of the shield symbolizes Yaselda, and the gates of the former Cartesian monastery represent the building, which played a major role in the history of not only the Birch, but also the whole district.

Attractions

It is the ruins of the former Cartesian monastery that are the main local attraction. Founded in the middle of the XVII century by Kazimir Sapega  (son of the famous chancellor of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania), it soon became a major cultural and religious center. Suffice it to say that for a long time the city was called Bereza-Kartuzskaya. In 1830s the monastery was closed. However, the restored ceremonial brama and the impressive remains of the wall with towers built of red bricks still make a strong impression.

Cartesian monastery in Bereza

The Church of the Guardianship of the Most Holy Virgin Mary in Signiewicz was a little luckier. At the end of the XVIII century the owners of this manor were Jozef and Maria Haletsky Prozor. They were the founders of the church, the construction of which lasted from 1785 to 1795. This is how the Sarmatian Baroque church appeared. Outwardly, it resembles a fortress. In the appearance of this temple, which managed to visit the Orthodox Church, there are elements typical of Gothic and Classicism. Unfortunately, the magnificent interior decoration was lost after the Church of the Guardian of the Most Holy Virgin Mary in Signiewicz was closed and used as an outbuilding until 1989.

Church of the Guardianship of the Most Holy Virgin Mary Ruzhantsova in Signiewicz

St. Nicholas Church in Chernyakov boasts an even longer history. Suffice it to say that it belongs to the oldest wooden temples in Belarus. This church was built by a landowner named Yurevich in 1725 at the place where according to legend the miracle-working image of the Mother of God appeared. The Church of St. Nicholas, which is an example of wooden folk architecture, still keeps a fragment of pine with its imprint. The icon of Our Lady of Chernyakovskaya itself is now on display in the National Art Museum of Belarus, and the temple is decorated with a list from it.

Those who go on a trip through the Berezovsky district, you can not miss the former Puslovsky estate in the village of Old Sands, built at the turn of the XVIII and XIX centuries. Its former splendour is commemorated today only by the entrance brama, stylized as a castle gate, the manor house, rebuilt from a stable after a fire in 1843 destroyed a beautiful palace, several outbuildings and an ancient landscape park, which is decorated with numerous canals.

Puslovskie Estate in Sands

The Selets fish farms also deserve attention. Besides the fact that paid fishing is organized here, sturgeon fishes are grown in ponds. They (already smoked up) can be purchased right here. Those who are interested in nature will surely be attracted by the opportunity to watch waterfowl and wading birds, which feel great in the waters of this fish farm. We should also add that this is the only place in Belarus where a small cormorant was marked.

Celebrities

It was Wojciech Pusłowski, a prominent public figure, who built an estate in the village of Starie Peski, which was once considered one of the most beautiful in the Belarusian lands. For the wealth of this famous factory worker and philanthropist, he was nicknamed "Polesski Krez". He represented the Slonim district in the Seimas, was a marshal of the local nobility, and his fabulous fortune was earned, among other things, by supplying food for the Russian army during the war with Napoleon. Subsequently, Wojciech Pusłowski had considerable influence at the imperial court. Thanks largely to his example, the prejudices of the Belarusian nobility against the occupation of industry and trade were defeated.

Another famous native of this region is Pavel Gorin-Kolyada, who was born on January 15, 1900 in the Bereza. A historian by education, he headed the Academy of Sciences of the BSSR in 1931 and managed to implement many important reforms in this post. In the center of his scientific interests was the establishment of Soviet power in Belarus. In 1937 Pavel Gorin-Kolyada was repressed. His post mortem rehabilitation took place only 18 years later.

The famous Soviet military leader Stepan Lubarsky, born in the village of Peski. He participated in the Civil War, and after graduation from the General Staff Academy he held high positions in the leadership of the Red Army. During the Second World War, Stepan Lubarsky was directly involved in many famous battles, and died on April 16, 1945 while crossing the river Neuss near Forst (Brandenburg) in the rank of lieutenant-general and was buried on the "Hill of Glory" in Lviv.

Events

Berezovsky district is famous for its ecological festival "Sporovskie hayfields", which includes competitions in marsh football. However, the main goal is to revive the tradition of manual haymaking and thus help preserve the places where the swirling reeds live. In summer in the v. Sporovo there is also a regional holiday of humour "Sporavije Zarjaty".

Where to stay

There are several hotels in the Bereza: "Yaselda", "Hunting Manor" and others. At the service of tourists visiting Belozersk, a health center and a hotel with the same name "Energy". For those who would like to be closer to nature, we recommend you to stay in the argosomesteads, which are located on the territory of the reserve "Sporovsky" or in its immediate vicinity.

Where to eat

There are enough catering places in the Birch & nbsp; it's no problem to find them. In the agro-town  "Peski" has a bar "Old Castle", in Belozersk - a snack bar "U Marya" and a restaurant "Belozersk". At 120 km of the Brest-Minsk highway there is a 24-hour cafe "Etvyaz". Yes  each agricultural estate can offer its visitors meals, including local dishes.

What can I get you

In addition to postcards depicting various attractions in the Birch, it is worth paying attention to the products of local craftsmen: wooden amulets in the form of birds, made of lime chips (they have the status of national cultural heritage) and handmade woven belts.

Surely they will please your loved ones with dairy products, which can be purchased in the brand shop "Veras", and smoked fish (in addition to the already mentioned sturgeon, carp, fat, trout are popular).

T-shirts with the symbols of the festival "Sporovskie hay" will remind you that you once visited this interesting event. During the festival, craftsmen offer their products made of clay, straw and other natural materials.

For those who are fond of photography, the best souvenir can be pictures of swirling reeds, as well as other rare birds that inhabit the Sporovsky Reserve.

How to get there

The journey from Minsk to Birch along the M1 highway will take less than three hours and will surely fly by unnoticed. If you don't have a private car, you can use a shuttle bus. There is also a regular train service from Bereza-Gorod station.

Cooked by Andrey Borodin


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