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Arts, science and education

Belarus has an active and very professional ballet and opera. The Belarusian State Theatre, the Belarusian Academy of Arts, and the Belarusian University of Culture are outstanding supporters of Belarusian culture.

The artwork of Marc Chagall; the 16th century printing and translations of Francisk Skorina; and revered poets, Yakub Kolas, Maxim Bogdanovich, and Yanka Kupala are among the most notable artists. Both sacred and classical music enjoy strong traditions. Folklore groups perform traditional Belarusian music and dances. Every year the Union of Belarusian Writers sponsors literary festivals. Native handicrafts include woodcarvings, straw art, embroidered linens, lacquered paintings on boxes, eggs, and Matroshka dolls.

Famous Belarusian scientists include Kazimir Semenovich, inventor of the multistage missile; Yakub Narkevich-Yedka, inventor of electrograph and wireless transmission of electric signals; Sofia Kovalevskaya, noted mathematician; and Pavel Sukhoi, an aircraft designer. The Academy of Sciences, which opened in Minsk in 1929, remains the forum for the Republicís highest levels of research, design and technological activities.

Belarus has been home to many prominent individuals from other countries, including famous scientists, diplomats, politicians, artists, composers, writers, and even two Soviet cosmonauts.

Belarus has 53 state-run institutions of higher learning, 34 in the capital city of Minsk. Belarus State University and the Minsk Linguistic University are among the most prestigious. After independence several no state universities for humanities and business were established.

Children begin school at age 6 and continue through 10th and 11th forms. There are both public and private schools, including preschool for the very young.