Belarus enjoys a rich cultural and artistic heritage that dates back many centuries, taking in several significant schools of art and architecture and producing many unique musical and literary works.
All surviving masterpieces are now officially protected by the state, and showcased for all to enjoy in museum collections and libraries. Classic works of Belarusian music and drama are regularly staged in concert halls and theatres across the country.
Modern-day art culture in Belarus is equally varied and dynamic. There are numerous art exhibitions, musicals, theatrical performances and cinema festivals – all of which are easily accessible to Belarusians and visitors alike.
Fine art in Belarus varies in style, direction and genre. The most captivating work by Belarus artists in different periods can be seen in museums across the country.
The largest collection of works of art are in the National Museum of Art, which actively promotes national art. Exhibitions by local artists are regularly held here. Other prominent museums across the country are the Vitebsk Art Museum, Mogilev regional Art Museum and the Polotsk art gallery.
The history of art in Belarus can be traced back to Byzantine influences in the 14th century, which saw the emergence of iconography and manuscript illustration.
After the October Revolution in Russia in 1917, the northern Belarus town of Vitebsk became the centre for the revolutionary avant-garde movement.
Marc Chagall, one of the most famous Belarusians, was born in Vitebsk in 1887 and founded an art school in the city.
The vast collection of the National Museum of Art in Minsk features the works of Belarusian artists from the 17th to the 20th century, as well as 15th-century iconography.
Music in Belarus
Most people in Belarus can play at least one musical instrument, and music in the country today boasts a mixture of styles and influences.
Traditional and folk music still has a big following in Belarus.
Modern pop music is increasingly popular in Belarus. Belarus has been an enthusiastic participant in the Eurovision Song Contest since 2004
Music festivals are very popular in Belarus. The international arts festival Slavonic Bazaar in Vitebsk has become the symbol of the festival movement of Belarus. Taking part in the festival are popular performers from all over the world.
Theatre in Belarus
Belarus theatre evolved from folk rituals and travelling minstrels. Today the country boasts a diverse range of theatre and drama:
puppet theatres can be found in most towns, and are hugely popular with children and adults alike
professional theatre companies are active across Belarus, many of them dating back to the early 20th century opera – every major town has its own opera house ballet has been very popular in Belarus since the 18th century, and most towns have their own ballet; the National Academic Bolshoi Theatre of Ballet of the Republic of Belarus has an excellent reputation Literature in Belarus
Books and literature have played an important role among the cultural arts of Belarus for centuries.
The turbulent history of the country is reflected in the recurring themes of war, occupation and suffering in Belarusian literature throughout the ages.
Opened in June 2006 in a new hi-tech building, the National Library in Minsk is the copyright library for the Republic of Belarus. A real source of national pride, it boasts the largest collection of Russian-language books outside of Russia.