Archive for the ‘Podlasie’ Category

Rospuda

Rospuda is a river in the north-eastern part of Poland. Its length is 102km and the basin area reaches 900km2. Due to its intact nature with peat bogs and diverse fauna and flora, Rospuda Valley is an area of protected landscape and part of the European Ecological Networks Nature 2000. You can find there rare species of dragonflies, butterflies, many types of birds and mammals such as otters or beavers. There are 19 kinds of orchids in the area such as Musk Orchid which is under strict protection. That is why it is planned to make a nature reserve there.
The landscape around river and its characteristics are diverse. Firstly, the river flows through some narrow lakes, around overgrown hills. The current of Rospuda is fast. The second part of the river is still rich in plants around, riverbanks are high. After, the landscape changes completely. Rospuda starts to flow through Augustow Primeval Forest, there are lot of peat bogs with reeds around. The current of the river starts to be slower and slower. Afterwards, water continue to flow as a river called Netta – a tributary of Biebrza. The scenic beauty and peace around the area are perfect for people who want to relax. If you are a fan of water sports, you can try canoeing or white water rafting. Around the river there are many farm houses which can provide you a place to sleep and tasty home-made breakfast.

Wigry Lake

Wigry Lake is located in the heart of Wigry National Park in north-eastern Poland. With its 73m maximum depth Wigry is one of the deepest lake in the country. The average area of the lake is 2118h. It is situated among the Augustow Primeval Forest – beautiful large virgin forest complex. The 80% of the shoreline is overgrown by plants – but it does not mean that the landscape among the lake is monotonous. On the contrary, nature in this area is diverse, there are some small islands, peninsulas and bays. Across the lake  runs Czarna Hancza river – the largest river in the north-eastern part of Poland. This diversity of the area has big influence on number and types of animals there. In the nearby reeds you can find around 85 types of birds which have nests there. Moreover, in the lake there is around 26 types of fish. All of these factors were the reason of putting Wigry Lake into the list of the most valuable water areas in the world by International Union for Conservation of Nature. The area is perfect for practicing sport. There is an opportunity to sail or to organize canoeing trip. During the winter, you also will not feel bored. You can skate on the frozen lake surface or try ice sailing. Among the water area you will find lot of places where you can rent sport equipment or – if you want to stay there for more than one day – camping sites. Near the lake there is also the Camaldolese Monastery. From the top of its clock tower, you can admire beautiful views around the area.

Bohoniki

Bohoniki, another Lipka Tatars village in Poland is located in Podlaskie. Currently, in the small village there are still few families of Tatars and Muslims.
Bohoniki has a mosque and mizar- Muslim cemetery. Both the mosque and the historic mizar are located in the center of the village on both sides of the only one cobbled street. Once a month on Friday in the mosque the prayers are held. Then you can hear Arabic language.
Another interesting point in Bohoniki is a cemetery lying just behind the way to Bohoniki. Located on a wooded hill, it is one of two major Polish Tatar cemeteries since 1945.
Kruszyniany and Bohoniki are part of the Tatar Trail, a unique tourist attraction of Podlasie.

Bialowieza National Park

Bialowieza National Park is the oldest national park in Poland located in the Podlaskie Voivodeship. The park was created in 1932. It was the second park established in Poland and one of the earliest in Europe. It is famous for protecting the best preserved part of the Bialowieza Forest, Europe’s last primeval forest fragment and having the world’s largest population of European bison.
More than two thirds of the park is covered by hardwood forests. Flora in the park has more than 1,000 species of plants. Among the particularly rare plants we should named: Arnica montana, Globe-flower, and the Siberian iris.
There are also habitats for large numbers of animals. Today you can find here more than 12,000 species of animals, including invertebrates predominate, especially insects (8 000 species). In addition, there exists 120 species of birds, 7 species of reptiles and 11 species of amphibians.
The symbol of the park is European bison. Bisons were almost completely extinct in the 18th century. The process of their reinstatement started in this park. Nowadays, about 750 bisons live here, which makes it the largest free-living population of European bison in the world.
Bialowieza National Park is visited each year by around 140 000 tourists. The main attractions of the park are: the European Bison Show Reserve, where we can admire the animals in natural conditions, the Nature and Forest Museum and the Palace Park.

Kruszyniany

Kruszyniany is a village in Poland located in Podlaskie Voivodeship near Sokolka, at the edge of the river. In the 17th century King Jan Sobieski III allowed Tartars to settle there as a reward for their loyal service. Kruszyniany used to be a large Muslim center. Nowadays the population of about 200 people includes Muslim, Orthodox and Catholic Christians and a small minority of Tatars. They used to speak in a specific dialect – a mix of Belarussian and Polish.
Kruszyniany inspires by its peaceful atmosphere of a small village and the Mosque and Mizar (Muslim cemetery) hidden among the trees. The interior of the mosque in Kruszyniany is very similar to that in Bohoniki. The walls and floors are covered with calligrams depicting verses from the Qur’an.
In the center of the mosque there is a minbar (pulpit) and a traditional mihrab (niche showing the direction of Mekka).
In Kruszyniany you can also try specialities of Tatars. Tatarian yurt is an interesting stop for tourists. This is where with sounds of traditional melodies you can taste dishes such as: jeczpoczmaki, cebulniki, or pieremiacze.

Biebrza National Park

Biebrza National Park is located in a Podlaskie Voivodeship, in the northeastern Poland, situated along the Biebrza River. The northeastern boundary of the park is near the Belarus border. The park’s headquarters is located in Osowiec – Twierdza.
The largest of Poland’s 23 National Parks, the Biebrza National Park was created in 1993. Its total area is 592.23 km2 of which forests cover 155.47 km², fields and meadows 181.82 km² and the famous Biebrza River Marshes with an area of 254.94 km².
Marshes are the most precious part of the park. Biebrza National Park protects vast lands with a unique variety of several communities of plants, rare wetland birds and mammals such as Elk and Beaver. The Biebrza wetlands as well as the Narew River valleys are very important centers for birds’ nesting, feeding and resting. The most important part of the Park is Red Marsh which is under strict protection. In the Biebrza National Park there are 49 species of mammals, 275 species of birds, 36 fish, 12 amphibians, 5 reptiles.
There are 486 km marked trails within the Biebrza National Park boundaries. Water trails are marked along the rivers Biebrza, Sidra, Jegrznia, Brzozowka, Wissa and the Woznawiejski Canal, the Rudzki Canal, the Augustowski Canal – its length 223.2 km, 8 bicycle, 14 hiking and 10 educational trails.
Unique in Europe for its marshes and peatlands, as well as its highly diversified fauna, especially birds – the Park was designated as a wetland site of global significance and is a place worth visiting.

Czarna Hancza

Czarna Hancza is the longest river in Suwalszczyzna region. Its lenght – 142 kilometers, including 108 in Poland, the rest in Belarus. The river passes through very interesting and unique areas. Some of them have got historical, geological or just only landscape values. On the route of Czarna Hancza is located the only one big city – Suwalki.
The river begins in Hancza lake and during first kilometers runs in a deep rouge in Suwalki Landscape Park. In this area there is also an educational path connected with nature.
There are many canoe routes on the Czarna Hancza. Two of them, quite known, are called small loop (which lasts 6 days on canoe) and big loop (about 9 days trip). For Polish people this track is also famous due to Karol Wojtyla (Pope John Paul II) who spend his youth on courses on this river. Near the sanctuary in Studzieniczna there is also a monument founded due to the fact of Pope’s seventh Pilgrimage to Poland in 1999.
One of the attractions of the route are products like pancakes, other cakes and also some drinks sold just near the river. These products are locally made and sold by local people, who give you not only advice but also hospitality.
Along Czarna Hancza you can find many campings where you can stop for a while to relax or spend there few days enjoying beautiful landscapes.

Bialystok

Bialystok is one of the largest cities in northeastern Poland, the part known as the Green Lungs of Poland. It has historically attracted migrants from Poland and also from Central and Eastern Europe. This is by the fact that the nearby border with Belarus is also the eastern border of the European Union, as well as the Schengen Area. Its geographical location causes that Białystok has been multicultural city for many years.
Bialystok has existed for five centuries and during all this time has passed between various political and economic forces. First notes came from around 1437 when a representative of the family Raczkow received from Duke of Lithuania a wilderness areas located along the river Biala. It marked the beginning of Bialystok as a settlement.
Bialystok is a cultural center in the Podlaskie Voivodeship. The attractions include performing arts groups, art and historical museums, walking tours of cultural aspects and a wide variety of parks and green spaces. Almost around 32% is occupied by parks, squares and forest preserves which creates a unique and healthy climate.
The city is the seat of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Bialystok. The city is also the seat of the Bialystok-Gdansk Diocese of the Autocephalous Polish Orthodox Church. In Bialystok, there is also a Lutheran parish, two Pentecostal churches, Baptist church, a congregation of the Church of God in Christ and a Seventh Day Adventist church.
The most important monuments are not only religious but also palaces and other historical buildings. They include: the old city hall, the Hasbach Palace in Białystok, the Lubomirski Palace in Bialystok, railway station and some churches of different confessions.
One of the main attractions in Bialystok is the Branickis’ Palace, a former residence of a wealthy and influential noble family of Branicki, which used to own the whole city of Bialystok. Although it was damaged by German bombs during the World War II, it was carefully rebuilt and now is the main building of the Medical University of Bialystok.
Another site worth visiting is Warszawska street, with rows of unspoilt architecture spanning all of the 19th century. The particular highlight is the big palace painted in light pink, the former residence of the Prussian Governor of the Bialystok region during the short times in 19th century (1795-1815) when Bialystok was under German rule.
There are also many theatres, an opera and some galleries in which people interested in art and cultural breaks can spend their time.
In 2010 Bialystok was on the short-list, but ultimately lost the competition, to become a finalist for European Capital of Culture in 2016.