Friday, September 7, 2012

Belarus part 12 - Brest, Bialowieza Forest

Brest, Bialowieza Forest - journey to the Bialowieza Forest

Białowieża Forest, known as Belovezhskaya Pushcha (Belarusian: Белавежская пушча) in Belarus and  Puszcza Białowieska in Poland, is an ancient woodland that straddles the border between the two countries, located 70 km (43 mi) north of Brest (Belarus) and 62 km (39 mi) southeast of Białystok (Poland). It is one of the last and largest remaining parts of the immense primeval forest that once stretched across the European Plain.

This UNESCO World Heritage Site and Biosphere Reserve lies in parts of the Brest Voblast (Kamianiec and Pruzhany districts, BE) and Hrodna Voblast (Svislach district) in Belarus and on the Polish side near the town of Białowieża in the Podlaskie Voivodeship (190 km (120 mi) northeast of Warsaw). Białowieża means the White Tower in Polish.

The border between the two countries runs through the forest. There is a border crossing for hikers and cyclists. The forest is home to 800 wisent, the continent's heaviest land animals. A security fence keeps the wisent herds physically and genetically separated.

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