Geography of Belarus

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Uplands and lowlands are the main types of landscapes that can be distinguished in Belarus.

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Belarusian uplands were created during the Ice Age.

The limit of the last advance of the ice-sheet lay across the country and is marked by a line of terminal moraines, known as the Belarusian ridge (Belaruskaya Grada). This ridge runs west-southwest to east-northeast from the Polish frontier north of Brest toward Smalensk and consists of low, rolling hills.

River valleys cut the ridge into a series of uplands, the sequence being: Hrodna upland, Vaukavysk upland, Schara valley, Navahradak upland, Nioman valley, Minsk upland, Biarezina valley, Dzvina and Vitsebsk-Nieviel upland, Dnieper upland, a final group of uplands along the eastern boundary. The highest group is the Minsk upland, which reaches 365 meters in Gara Lysaya.

North and south of the ridge lie extensive lowlands. To the south lie the biggest Belarusian lowland called Paliessie which is drained by the Prypiac river and its tributaries. The Prypiac river flows eastward to join the Dnieper river which crosses the eastern part of Paliessie from north to south.

In northern Belarus lie two more large lowlands: the Nioman lowland, drained by the river of that name, in the northwest, and the Polacak lowland, drained by the Western Dzvina, in the north. These two lowlands are separated by two morainic ridges, the Ashmiany and Svientsiany ridges, with the Viliya valley between them.

The two northern basins contain many lakes of glacial origin, the largest of which is Lake Narach. Thus, Belarus falls into three main drainage basins, the Dnieper-Prypiac basin draining into the Black sea, and the Nioman and Western Dzvina basins, draining into the Baltic sea.