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Yelnya – the “Bermuda Triangle” of Belarus

Author: by Pavel Martinchik
Photo: by author


If you want to see unusual Belarus, then you need to visit the Yelnya nature reserve.

The Yelnya bog is a unique wildlife area that appeared about 9,000 years ago. There is a countless number of lakes and picturesque islands of fantastic shapes on the swamp..


A remarkable detail of the local geography is that the center of the swamp is raised above its outskirts by as much 7 meters (23 feet)! The Yelnya bog is a huge producer of oxygen in Europe, a local “tundra territory” (its landscape really looks like a northern tundra), and the “Belarusian Bermuda”, because the territory of the giant wetland is an enigmatic place. The abundance of cranberries, cloudberries, and blueberries is one of Yelnya’s attractions.

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Sunrises and sunsets of Yelnya are extremely beautiful!


There are about 130 species of birds that live in the reserve. 23 of those species are red-listed in Belarus.

In autumn during the migration the swamp turns into an" international airport" for birds. The population of grey cranes (Grus grus) is particularly large. Thousands of cranes fly to the swamp to feed and to get energy for a three-day continuous flight to wintering places. 

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Yelnya is a unique natural ecosystem. The total area of the swamp is 25’300 ha (more than 62’500 ac.). This is one of the largest wetlands in Europe.

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I like visiting the Yelnya wildlife reserve. Each time I can explore this place in a new way, it’s an inspiring and calming place. The serenity of the ancient bog is only occasionally interrupted by the cries of cranes flying from the fields.

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