Belarus
Mogilev  Oblast
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                       06 Dec 2007

 The Mogilev Oblast is in the east central part of Belarus and borders Russia to the east. This area is well known for manufacturing of heavy industrial equipment.

  Orsha, about half way between Vitebsk and Mogilev on Highway M8, is one of the heavy industrial areas of the district. The large smokestacks in this city, located along the Dnieper River, point to the intensity of the manufacturing activity. 

 The Dnieper River, the largest in Belarus, originates in Russia and flows on to Mogilev as it makes its way to Ukraine on the southern border of Belarus. This river is an important shipping channel for Russia and Eastern Europe.

 Up river from Orsha is a village, typical of others throughout the area.  It is in these villages that time seems to move very slowly.  The homes are all wood frame construction and a style much different than the large apartment buildings of the cities.  The yards are small and are used for vegetable gardens and fruit trees.  The vegetables and fruit are an essential food source for residents during the summer and the winter. Additional floors and rooms have been added to the homes to accommodate extended families living in the same house.  There are very few automobiles in these villages.  People often ride a bus, walk or use a horse drawn wagon when traveling to the city. 

The rolling hills limit the size of farms to small acreages.   The soil, however, is deep and nearly rock free.  The huge government-owned combine seems out of place as it harvests a family-owned wheat field. There are very few privately owned tractors in the country making it difficult to keep weeds under control in the fields when left fallow.

 In Mogilev, things are much different.  The huge apartment buildings built during the Soviet era provide housing for the factory workers.  The construction of apartments is similar to Minsk; however, these are in need of updating as has been done in the capital city.  But, like the villages, there are few automobiles.  The bus service is excellent and groceries as well as other household goods can be purchased at shopping centers within walking distance of the housing complexes.

Mogilev, with a population of 360,000, is a progressive city with a well-kept park along a small river. The Mogilev Hotel overlooks the park and offers accommodations for tourists as well as business visitors. Two large universities are located in the city.  Mogilev State University offers a wide variety of education opportunities in the arts and sciences as well as engineering. The Belarus School of Law is much smaller with its classrooms and offices located near a busy city street. The Performing Arts Center is only two blocks from the law school.

 The industrial area, important during the Soviet times, is decaying now because of the obsolete equipment, inefficiency in production and lack of markets outside Russia.

 The next stop is the Gomel Oblast.  It may take awhile to get there.

 

PRONUNCIATION GUIDE:

Dnieper                       NEE-per

Gomel

Mogilev

Orsha

Vitebsk                       VEE-tipsk

 

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