National parks are well protected natural territories, unique in their beauty and unrivalled in Europe. They have large blocks of ancient virgin woods, rare species of animals and plants, and unique lakes.
Belarusian National Parks and Nature Reserves
- Belovezhskaya Pushcha State National Park: is the oldest wildlife refuge in Europe. It is located in south–western Belarus. The Park has an area of 101 thousand hectares (as at 01.01.1999). In 1992, by its decision #73, UNESCO added it to the List of the World Heritage of Mankind. Pushcha is the largest surviving chunk of the relic primeval plain wood which in prehistoric times grew throughout Europe. Gradually, it was cut down and survived, relatively intact, only in the Belovezhsky region.
- Berezinsky biosphere Reserve: was established in 1925 for the purpose of protecting rare species of fauna, above all, river beavers considered rather rare at the time in Europe. Today it covers the area of 81 thousand hectares and is located in Lepel district (Vitebsk province) and Borisov district (Minsk province).
- Narochansky National Park. Mute Swan
- Braslav Lakes National Park: was established in 1995 and is situated in the north–west of the Belarusian lake region. Its total area is 69.12 thousand hectares, of which 56.41 thousand hectares are covered with forests while water reservoirs and waterways account for 12.6 thousand hectares. The most attractive natural features of the National Park are its relief and lakes. The lakes are grouped hydrologically, the Braslav group being most distinct.
- Prypyatsky National Park: was established in 1996 on the basis of the Prypyatsky State Landscape and Hydrological Wildlife Refuge. It is found in Gomel province. Its total area, as at 01.01.1999, was 82.5 thousand hectares, or 1.35% of the entire area of Byelorussian Polesye. The territory of the park is a vast plain inclining towards the Pripyat valley.
- Narochansky National Park was created in 1999 in Minsk province. Its total area is 94.0 thousand hectares. The chief purpose of its establishment was to preserve unique natural complexes. The pearl of the Narochansky region is lake Naroch, the largest natural reservoir of the republic which, along with lakes Myastro, Batorino and Blednoye forms the Naroch group of lakes.