Gomel oblast lies to the southeast of Belarus and borders on Briansk oblast /Russia/, Kiev , Chernigov and Zhitomir oblasts /Ukraine/.

The territory of Gomel oblast is 40,400 square kilometers. One third of the territory is covered with forests; the biggest rivers – the Dnepr, the Sozh, the Berezina and the Pripiat – are the most important navigable ways of Belarus .

There is the national park Pripiatskiy and the Polesye radiation-ecological reserve in the oblast.

Today there are 23 museums and 4 theaters and philharmonic societies in Gomel oblast numbers.

The region has 2,540 monuments, 1,360 of them are monuments of history and culture, 140 – of architecture and 1,040 – of archeology. And if the latter /they include ancient settlements and burial places/ are of interest only to archeologists and historians, the other places stir deep interest of the people who appreciate architectural masterpieces and are fond of the Belarusian history.

More architectural monuments to be renovated in Belarus by 2020

Belarus has all resources needed to increase the share of renovated historical and cultural heritage sites to 30% by 2020, Igor Chernyavsky, the head of the historical and cultural heritage protection department of the Belarusian Culture Ministry, told BelTA as he commented on the draft program for Belarus’ social and economic development in 2016-2020 that will be discussed at the upcoming 5th Belarusian People’s Congress.

The official noted that some 15% of the sites included in the State List of Historical and Cultural Heritage have been renovated over the past five years. Bearing in mind the general picture regarding the pace of implementation of renovation projects in Belarus, the ministry expects that the number of revamped sites in Belarus will reach 30% over the next five years, Igor Chernyavsky noted.

Besides, he emphasized the importance of the current efforts to create a system for monitoring the artistic and technical status of historical and cultural values. This is particularly relevant for the sites marked for inclusion into the nomination file to be submitted to the Tentative List of the UNESCO World Heritage. “The status of architectural monuments is monitored in each Belarusian region. However, today there are no unified rules or instructions regarding the work of relevant specialists. At present, Belarusian heritage protection experts conduct monitoring drawing on their personal experience and relying only on their own understanding of how the work should be done,” Igor Chernyavsky explained.

When speaking about the Tentative List of the UNESCO World Heritage, the official noted that the Belarusian Culture Ministry has plans to prepare five nomination files over the next five years. These will be nomination files on the spiritual legacy of Saint Euphrosyne of Polotsk, the Augustow Canal cross-border project, Sts Boris and Gleb Church in Grodno, the fortified churches in Synkovichi, Murovanka and Kamai, and the 16th-19th century wooden architecture of Belarus, Ukraine and Poland. The specialist added that the objectives to increase the share of renovated monuments included in the State List of Historical and Cultural Values and create a system for monitoring the status of historical and cultural values are set out in the state program Culture of Belarus for 2016-2020.

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Development, informational and technical support: BELTA, 2006