A day in Bialystok, the largest city in northeastern Poland

On Tuesday, May 22, 2018, and Day 3 of my Poland trip, I left Warsaw by train for a 3 1/2 hour ride to Bialystok, the largest city in northeastern Poland and capital of the Podlaskie province.  It was a pleasant ride, I had an opportunity to view the lush countryside and pass through some of the small towns along the way.  Train travel  in Poland is not expensive, this leg of my journey cost approximately $17 CAD.

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A little bit about Bialystok:

  • Forests are an important part of Białystok’s character as the fifth most forested city in Poland.
  • Encyclopedia Britannica writes that Białystok was a major centre of Polish Jewry.  At the onset of World War II, the city had a population of 100,000, of whom about 40,000 were Jews, but in 1941–44 the Germans killed half the inhabitants, including all the Jews in the ghetto, and destroyed three-fourths of the industry and buildings. Belarusians are now the city’s principal ethnic minority.  After the war Białystok was rebuilt and became an industrial and cultural centre and a major rail junction. Textiles are the chief product. Other industry includes meat processing; electronics, furniture, and glass manufacturing; and metallurgical works.  Bialystok currently has around 300,000 residents.

After checking into my hotel I applied my SPF 15, donned my hat, and walked extensively around the old town and nearby forested parks.  Here are some highlights..

Catholic church of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary (not far from the centre of the old town and close to the featured image up top)

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The original structure of Branicki Palace is from late 17th century, but its glory times were during the mid 18th century when Jan Klemens Branicki, was the most important hetman in Poland-Lithuania only second in power to the king.  As most nobility at the time Jan Klemens was very much influenced by French culture. It can be observed in the architecture of the palace, but especially in the beautifully restored lay-out the palace garden. The palace was 70% destroyed by the Nazis in 1944. Its rebuilding in 1950 was a matter of national pride.  A medical university is now housed in the palace.

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Interesting sculpture on the staircase inside the palace.

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Palace gardens

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The following two photos were taken of Planty Park, situated in the neighborhood of Branicki’s Palace. This park was created in the late 19th century.

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The good thing about the Bialystok Zoo is that they only ‘exhibit’ animals from the region not far away from their natural habitat. Moreover they did their best to make the limited space animals get as natural as possible.  It’s nicely situated inside well maintained Zwierzyniec Park.

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The Opera House and Philharmonic Hall of Podlasie is a beautiful “green” building.

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A post communism arch (God, Honour, Homeland)

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Below is the plaque that describes the wooden house below on 7 Mazowiecka St.

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After the lengthy walk about, I enjoyed a traditional Polish meal at an old town restaurant and returned to my hotel for a good night’s rest for the next big day….. headed to Gdansk.


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