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Polesia (Belarusian: Пале́ссе Paleśsie, Polish: Polesie, Russian: Поле́сье Poles'e, Ukrainian: Полі́сся Polissia) is one of the largest European swampy areas, located in the south-western part of the Eastern-European Lowland, mainly within Belarus and Ukraine but also partly within Poland and Russia. The swamp areas of Polesia are known as the Pripyat Marshes (after the Pripyat River) or Pinsk Marshes (after the major local city of Pinsk).
Most experts agree that the Slavic name Polesia is based on the root les, which means "forest". An inhabitant of Polesia is called Poleszuk in Polish; Palyashuk in Belarusian, Polishchuk in Ukrainian, and Poleshchuk in Russian.
Polesia is a marshy region lining the Pripyat River in Southern Belarus (Brest, Pinsk, Kalinkavichy, Homel), Northern Ukraine (in the Volyn, Rivne, Zhytomyr, Kiev, and Chernihiv Oblasts), and partly in Poland (Lublin) and Russia (Bryansk). It is a flatland within the watersheds of the Southern Bug and Prypyat rivers. The two rivers are connected by the Dnieper-Bug Canal, built during the reign of Stanislaus II of Poland, the last king of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth.
Notable tributaries of the Pripyat are the Horyn, Stokhod, Styr, Ptsich, and Yaselda rivers. The largest towns in the Pripyat basin are Pinsk, Stolin, Davyd-Haradok. Huge marshes were reclaimed from the 1960s to the 1980s for farmland. The reclamation is believed to have harmed the environment along the course of the Pripyat.
The Polish part of the region includes the Polesie National Park (Poleski Park Narodowy), established 1990, which covers an area of 97.6 square kilometres (37.7 sq mi). This and a wider area adjoining it (up to the Ukrainian border) make up the UNESCO-designated West Polesie Biosphere Reserve, which borders a similar reserve (the Shatskiy Biosphere Reserve) on the Ukrainian side.
- "Worship wooden architecture (17th -18th centuries) in Polesye - UNESCO World Heritage Centre". Whc.unesco.org. 2004-01-30. Retrieved 2013-01-13.
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