Belovezhskaya Pushcha National Park (Russian: 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. Since 1992 it is a preserved part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site Białowieża Forest, the last primeval 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 Pierarova-Białowieża border crossing.
|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)
|Location||Brest Region and Grodno Region in Belarus|
|Area||1,500.69 km2 (579.42 sq mi) (2015)|
|Established||11 August 1932|
|Governing body||Ministry of the Environment|
|Part of||Białowieża Forest (since 1992)|
|Criteria||Natural: ix, x|
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. The national park occupies 150,069 ha (1,500.69 km2; 579.42 sq mi) (2015). 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.
Most of the Białowieża Forest was declared a national park on August 11, 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. In 1957, the Belarusian part received a new status - “The State Reserve-Hunting Farm” (Russian: Государственное заповедно-охотничье хозяйство), intended for recreation of the top leaders of the Soviet state and their guests from friendly countries. In 1991, the forest acquired its current status as a state national park.
The park's headquarters are in Kamieniuki. 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.
- Belovezhskaya Pushcha National Park – Official Website of the Republic of Belarus
- "Беловежская пуща - Министерство иностранных дел Республики Беларусь". mfa.gov.by.
- "Białowieża Forest, Belarus, Poland" at the UNESCO official webpage. Retrieved May 27, 2015.
- Białowieża Forest. UNESCO World Heritage Center.
- Regulations on visiting Belovezhskaya Pushcha by foreign tourists approved in Belarus Archived June 29, 2015, at the Wayback Machine
- "The structure of the Biosphere Reserve Belavezhskaya Pushcha". Archived from the original on 2015-05-24. Retrieved 2015-05-27.
- "About the National Park". Archived from the original on 2015-06-03. Retrieved 2015-05-27.
- "Nature reserves and national parks, wildlife preserves and nature sanctuaries". Land of Ancestors. Data of the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environmental Protection of the Republic of Belarus. 2011. Archived from the original on 29 September 2013. Retrieved 29 November 2013.
- "Belavezhskaya Pushcha celebrates 600th anniversary of its reserve status".