The capital city of Belarus is Minsk; other important cities include Brest, Grodno, Gomel, Mogilev and Vitebsk.
Throughout much of history, the area which is now known as Belarus was part of various countries including Lithuania, Poland and the Russian Empire. Eventually, in 1922, Belarus became a republic in the Soviet Union as the Byelorussian SSR.
Belarus officially declared its sovereignty on 27 August 1990, and following the collapse of the Soviet Union, declared independence as the Republic of Belarus on 25 August 1991.
Officially, the country is known as the Republic of Belarus (Belarusian: Рэспубліка Беларусь, Łacinka: Respublika Biełaruś; Russian: Республика Беларусь, Respublika Belarus); the short name is Belarus.
The official languages of Belarus are Belarusian and Russian.
The Presidential Administration of Belarus: www.president.gov.by