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“I’ll be back”: visa-free regime in Belarus and first impressions of tourists

While Europe is closing its borders for immigrants, Belarus receives tourists from 80 countries. The visa-free regime was adopted on February 12, 2017. Visitors may make only a 5-day visit to Belarus for now. However, longer term may be introduced soon. Alena Syrova has the story.

One of the first to visit Belarus was a Chinese Lee Yen from Abu Dhabi, while the first sportsman to visit the country was an English Liverpool halfback Wade Maxwell.

Wade Maxwell, a football player (Great Britain):
It’s rather cold here. I drink tea to warm up. Do you really drink black tea? Incredible. And people surprise me. Despite linguistic divide, I feel at home here.

Regardless of his packed training schedule, the football player found time to know the country. The Brest fortress and The Red Church impressed Wade the most.

Wade Maxwell, a football player (Great Britain):
The Church is extremely beautiful. And the weather is better than it was when I arrived here. I’ve got a lot of impressions, and I will definitely be back.

The castles and the churches were the reason why Agnes Rats from Italy came to Belarus.

Agnes Rats (Italy):
Good heavens, for the first time I saw the Cathedral at the postcard! It is more splendid in the real world. We can’t visit other places apart from Minsk within 5 days. But I will return. I want to feel and taste Belarus, to visit Belarusian lakes and to see bluets.

The next morning our TV crew is on the road to Nesvizh. The tourists choose the route by themselves and we only followed them continuing to gather their impressions.

Agnes Rats (Italy):
I think I’ve got why Belarus is called so. I look out the window and see only white fields and forests.

Radziwill’s ancestral house has a lot of Italian symbols. Konungs’ true stories and interior designs amaze visitors.

Agnes Rats (Italy):
Mir Castle Complex is very unusual. And, you know, in Belorussian it sounds “прыгажосць” (pryhažosć).

Agnes was preparing to visit Belarus and made not only a must-visit list of cultural sites, but also a list of dishes of Belarusian cuisine. Draniki and crambambuli are the first on the list.

Agnes Rats (Italy):
I like the landscape here. Lowland along with the castle. The same is in Minsk, where high-rises neighbor with little houses.

Daniel and Vera are the friends of Agnes who arrived on February 18th from Rome. They decided to begin with Belarusian shopping, saying that they want to bring linen to Italy.

Daniel Lunche, a tourist(Italy):
I would like to buy a linen table cloth as in our country linen is a real luxury.

But, as they say, not linen alone is wonderful in Belarus. The tourists are also aware of sweets and wood handicrafts.

Daniel Lunche, a tourist (Italy):
I’ve heard that the wood handicrafts are characteristic of the Belorussian culture. I buy this National Library magnet.

Actually, the library is the next place to be visited after the shops.

Vera Santo, a tourist (Italy):
On the way from the airport I realized that I want to visit the library by all means.

Daniel Lunche, a tourist (Italy):
I would like to return to Belarus. Five days is a very short period to see all the sights. I want to visit villages and the numerous churches.

This short period is a reason to go back to Belarus again. The reason for Wade, for Agnes and her friends, and for hundreds of the first visa-free visitors. It is a good compliment for the Belarusians, isn’t it?

“I’ll be back”: visa-free regime in Belarus and first impressions of tourists