Belovezhskaya Pushcha National Park

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Belovezhskaya Pushcha National Park
Национальный парк «Беловежская пуща»  (Russian)
Natsionalny park "belovezhskaya pushcha"  (Russian)
Нацыянальны парк Белавежская пушча  (Belarusian)
Natsyyanal’ny park Byelavyezhskaya pushcha  (Belarusian)
IUCN category II (national park)
BelarusBNP09.JPG
Part of the forest at Pererov, Brest Region
Location Brest Region and Grodno Region in Belarus
Coordinates 52°35′7.66″N 23°52′44.86″E / 52.5854611°N 23.8791278°E / 52.5854611; 23.8791278Coordinates: 52°35′7.66″N 23°52′44.86″E / 52.5854611°N 23.8791278°E / 52.5854611; 23.8791278
Area 1,500.69 km2 (579.42 sq mi) (2015)
Established 11 August 1932
Governing body Ministry of the Environment
UNESCO World Heritage Site
Part of Białowieża Forest
Criteria Natural: ix, x
Reference 33-001
Inscription 1979 (3rd Session)
Extensions 1992, 2014

Belovezhskaya Pushcha National Park (Russian, official:[1][2][3] Национальный парк «Беловежская пуща», Belarusian: Нацыянальны парк Белавежская пушча) is a national park within parts of the Brest Region (Kamyanyets District and Pruzhany District) and Grodno Region (Svislach District) in Belarus adjacent to the Polish border. It is a preserved part of the UNESCO WHS Białowieża Forest, the last primaeval forest fragment of the European woodlands that once stretched across the European Plain. It is home to a large population of European bison, the continent's heaviest land animals. The border between the two countries runs through the forest with the Białowieża National Park on the Polish side of the border. Since May 2015 there has been a visa-free regime within the forest for hikers and cyclists at the Pererov-Białowieża border crossing.[4]

Geography[edit]

The Belovezhskaya Pushcha Biosphere Reserve occupies the area of 216,200 ha (2,162 km2; 835 sq mi) (2015), subdivided into transition, buffer, and core zones.[5] The national park occupies 150,069 ha (1,500.69 km2; 579.42 sq mi) (2015).[6] It is located 70 km (43 mi) north of Brest. The nature reserves and the national parks cover 2.7% of the Brest Region territory and 2.6% of the Grodno Region.[7]

History[edit]

Most of the Białowieża Forest was declared a national park on August 11th, 1932 during the Second Polish Republic. After World War II the forest was divided in accordance with the Polish–Soviet border agreement of August 1945 between the People's Republic of Poland and the Byelorussian SSR of the Soviet Union. Poland reopened the Białowieża National Park in 1947.

The park's headquarters are in Kamyanyuki. In 2009 the Belovezhskaya Pushcha National Park celebrated the 600th anniversary of its reserve status. All of the hotels and cafes were rebuilt and new ones were added to the park. The Eco Education Center, which houses the Museum of Nature, was built. Approximately 300,000 people visit the park annually.[8]

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