Belarusian culture is the product of centuries of diverse influences. In Belarus there existed unique architectural and fine arts schools; great musical and literary pieces were created. All extant masterpieces of Belarusian art are under the protection of the State. They are kept in the collections of Belarus's largest museums.
Belarus has great historical and cultural potential as represented in architecture, town-building, art, archaeology, park complexes, museum and book collections.
There are over 15,000 historical monuments in Belarus. The architectural and cultural complex of the Radziwills in the town of Nesvizh, the Mir Castle complex, Nesvizh archive and library collection, the Belovezhskaya Pushcha and the Struve Geodetic Arc have been inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List of cultural and natural properties. Belarusian and Polish experts are now preparing a dossier under the title "The Augustow Canal: the Creation of Man and Nature". Documents for other historical and cultural legacy sites are worked on. Today restoration and design activities are carried out on 750 sites.
Fine arts of Belarus are diverse in styles and genres. The most interesting pieces of Belarusian fine arts and sculpture of various epochs are on display at fine arts museums across the country. The National Arts Museum of Belarus has the richest national collection of works of Belarusian, Russian and foreign artists.
The belts of Slutsk, or Slutsk belts, are hand-woven garments manufactured in what is now Belarus in between the second half of the eighteenth century and the first half of the nineteenth century. They were named after the town of Slutsk (now in Minsk Oblast) where the manufacturing of belts started in the 1740s to substitute the import of belts from Asian countries. The belts became a part of Belarusian, Polish, Ukrainian, and Russian man's luxurious garments. The belts were woven from silk, gold and silver fabrics, they were very long (2m to 4.5m) and wide (30cm to 50cm), with rich ornamentation featuring Belarusian folk motifs and traditional Asian patterns. Only men got to wear the belts, and only men were allowed to help the belt owners put the belts on. The famous belts were also manufactured in Lyon, France, where the manufacturers even used to put a "Slutsk" brand on the belts.
Belarusian professional theater has been combining global theater styles and trends with the best national theater traditions. Today there are 28 state-run theaters in Belarus.
The best plays, directors and actors enjoy popularity both at home and abroad.
Belarusians are particularly proud of their musical culture. The successful musical bands include the Presidential Orchestra of the Republic of Belarus, the National Orchestra of Symphonic and Popular Music, State Academic Symphony Orchestra, Classic-Avant-Garde vocal band, Khoroshki Folk Dance Company, the G. Shirma State Academic Choral Choir, and the G. Tsitovich State Academic People's Choir. The Chisty Golos vocal band is considered one of Belarus's most accomplished and distinguished musical acts. Their style of performing sacred and classical music has earned them wide recognition in many countries. The Belarusian Kamerata band is also rather popular for its original style and repertoire. The bands Pesnyary and Syabry have also become very popular in the country and abroad.
Contemporary Belarus continues the process of integration into the global community, exploration of the world's cultural space. The most large-scale form of international cooperation in the area of culture are the Belarusian Culture Days held abroad.
ONLY IN BELARUS
Slavonic Bazaar International Arts Festival in Vitebsk
It is in this picturesque city that the Slavonic Bazaar International Arts Festival is held every summer. This festival has become a symbol of the festival movement of Belarus. Attending and participating in this big forum are popular artists from different countries, including theater celebrities, famous film directors, actors, artists, high-profile public figures. Since its inception 19 years ago, the Slavonic Bazaar International Arts Festival has become one of the most prestigious and revered festivals in the world, which is testified by the decision of the Federation Internationale des Organisations de Festivals (FIDOF) to recognize the Slavonic Bazaar the best festival in 2000 and 2004. The 19th Slavonic Bazaar International Arts Festival in Vitebsk took place on July 9-15.
Belarusian written language day
Belarusian Written Language Day has been held every year since 1994. Over time, this holiday has become an important event in the cultural life of the country, becoming a nation-wide holiday within the context of the state policy aimed at supporting the Belarusian language and culture. Having become a tradition, this holiday has been celebrated in many of the famous Belarusian centers of education and enlightenment including Polotsk, Turov, Novogrudok, Nesvizh, Orsha, Pinsk, Zaslavl, Mstislavl, Mir, Kamenets, Postavy, Shklov, Borisov, Smorgon. On 5 September 2010 over 1,000 guests came to the town of Khoiniki, Gomel Oblast, which was chosen the capital for holding the 17th Day of Belarusian Written Language.
Dazynki harvest festival and fair
Dazynki is an ancient harvest festival celebrating the completion of harvest. Since 1996, on the initiative of the President of Belarus, Alexander Lukashenko, Dazynki has been carried out on a yearly basis (second half of September). This holiday is organized as an event to honor the workers of the agricultural sector, scientists, engineers, designers of new equipment and all those who help agricultural companies achieve high production indicators. Dazynki is a nation-wide holiday featuring pop and folklore musicians, artisans and handicraftsmen. The holding of the Dazynki festival every year helps spruce up the appearance of small towns and districts. In 2009 Dazynki was carried out in Kobrin. The capital of Dazynki in 2010 became Lida.
Listapad Minsk international film festival
Following the tradition, every year in November, the capital of Belarus, the city of Minsk, hosts the Listapad Minsk International Film Festival. Over the fifteen years of its existence the festival has developed strong traditions, gained the status of one of the influential cinema forums in the territory of the former Soviet Union. What sets this festival apart from others is that the films screened here are the new feature movies, documentaries and animation movies that have been nominated for or won various international prizes.Films from more than 40 countries are screened as part of the competition and out-of-competition programs of the festival.