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Geography

The Lepel region is situated in the south-west of the Vitebsk oblast. The region borders on the Chashniki, Dokshitsy, Beshenkovichi and Ushachi regions. The region was founded on June 17, 1924. The area is 1.8 thousand square kilometers.

The biggest population centre is the town of Lepel, the administrative centre of the region. It is located 110 kilometers away from Vitebsk and 150 kilometers away from Minsk.

Lepel has road communication with Minsk, Vitebsk, Polotsk, Orsha, Ushachi, Dokshitsy, Chashniki, Borisov; it is the terminal station of the 130km long railway from Orsha to Lepel.

Forests occupy 53% of the territory of the Lepel region. There are 136 lakes, more than 80 rivers and streams. The largest lakes are Lepel Lake (10.18 sq.km), Okono, Bereshcha, Voron, Bobritsa, Teklets. Kakisino Lake is the hydrological reserve.

The Berezina Biosphere Reserve, a big research and education centre of the international significance, is located in the region. The eco-systems of bogs and black alder-tree forests are unmatched in Belarus and Europe. There are 93 animal species and 86 plant species which are inscribed in the Red Book of the Republic of Belarus. The Berezina reserve was one of the first in the former USSR which to receive the status of a biosphere reserve in 1979. In 1995 the Council of Europe recognized the merits of the reserve in preserving the global landscape and biological diversity.

Around 50 thousand tourists from Belarus and other countries visit the reserve every year. There is a hotel compound “Domzheritsy”, cabins around Lakes Plavno, Domzheritskoye and Olshitsa, a hunting lodge “Nivki”.

Tourists can also get familiar with local customs and traditional lifestyle, cuisine and crafts. The nature monument “Tzar-Oak” in the village of Tadulino is under the protection of the state.

The total number of biological species inhabiting the Berezina reserve exceeds 6.000.