Podlasie is a fusion of nature with interesting architecture, monuments and at the same time, with exotics, which is impossible to find in any other part of the country. At the area of Podlasie you can find enormous green areas and three national parks: the Białowiewża National Park, the Narew National Park and the Biebrza National Park. These areas are mostly enhabited by the European Bison, but you can also encounter beavers and moose. You can admire the incredible architecture at the Trail of Open Windows and gorgeous mosques. You can encounter an eremite, or one of the whisperers, which are famous around this place. Here, the real world coexists with the fantasy world.
The order of the attractions in this article is random, and the list of the attractions is subjective.
The Białowieża Forest
The Bialowieza Forest is the only thing left behind the primeval forest, which was created after the disappearance of the glaciars from this area. It is the only large forest in the entire Europe, which reminds you with its structure of a Primeval Forest. There’s not much left behind the wilderness, but some say, that the part that does still exist and just the fact, that there’s anything surviving, is truely a miracle. This is the home of the largest, not only in Poland, but also in the entire world, population of the free European Bison – the largest mammal in Europe. In this wilderness it is worth following the Oak Tree Trail, check out the place of strength and see the European Bison Exhibitional Reserve. But it is probably best to just wander around the corners, make friends with the park keeper, join him in a visit the the reserve and try to meet the European Bison in Nature.
Kruszyniany – the Tatar Village
The Tatars settled here in march of 1679. Today, the entire village is enhabited by 30 families, out of which only three are Tatar families. But there was a time in history of Kruszyniany, when there were no Tatars at all. In the village there is a beautiful mosque, which you can visit with Dżemil Gembicki as your guide, as well as an incredible mizar – a Tatar cemetery. It is also worth visiting a Tatar Yurt and trying unique Tatar food, especially the renowned pierekaczewnik by Dżenneta Bogdanowicz.
The Garbarka Mountain
An important place for Orthodox believers is also incredibly attractive in terms of tourism. Thousands of votive crosses brought here by believers, which are located on a hill, can make you stop for a long time. It’s worth getting familiar with the history of Garbarka and visiting this place. Especially during the celebration of the Transfiguration of the Lord.
The Hermitage in Odrynki
At the outskirts of thre village of Odrynki, where in 1518 Prince Iwan Michałowicz Wiśniowiecki noticed a light in front of the icon of St. Antoni Pieczerski and considered it a sign from God, there is a hill. In this place, a chapel was established, and according to some researchers, there were already skits here before, the patron of which was St. Antoni Pieczerski. Today, there too is a skit, or a hermitage. It’s worth taking a look inside, confronitng your imagination of a hermitage with reality, and listening to some interesting stories about this place. Your visit to the hermitage will surely be unforgettable.
Wierszalin and the prophet
Deep in the forest stands a house, in which lived a prophet named Eljasz Klimowicz along with his followers. This place is also the location of the foundation of the temple established by him. This is where the New Jerusalem was created. There is an interesting history and a few legends associated with the place and the prophet himself. It’s worth taking a look inside and feel the unique atmosphere of the place. We guarantee you will have goosebumps.
The Land of Open Windows
This trail leads through the villages of Trześcianka, Puchły and Soce, which are located in the valley of Narew, and are incredibly unique in terms of architecture. These villages attract with richly ornamented and painted wooden houses, but also with fascinating stories of people living in those houses.
You should pay special attention to the orthodox church in the town of Puchły.
The mosque in Bohoniki
This is the second mosque, apart from the one in Kruszyniany, which is located on the Tatar Trail and one of the five active mosques in Poland. Similar to Kruszyniany, here we can also find a mizar. However, instead of a Tatar Yurt, here you can find a Pilgrimage House. Some people say, that you can try Tatar food here as well, but there are some days, where it might be impossible.
This village is located in the area of the Suwałki Landscape Park. The most interesting thing about this village is the fact, that it is the location of one of four parishes of the Eastern Old Believer Church. In Wodziłki you can find a church of old Believers – the so-called molenna, constructed in 1921. Here, you can also try out a unique tourists attraction – a soak in a russian tub.
The Knyszyna Wilderness
The richness and beauty of the nature, in terms of both the flora and the fauna. It has been said that, according to what the local people say, it’s much easier to encounter the king of the forest – the European Bison – in this place. The Knyszyna Wilderness is one of the largest in Poland. For a long time, it was a borderland area, where influences of various cultures crossed paths. These cultures included Polish, Russian, Teutonic, Lithuanian and Yotvingian.
Silvarium in Poczopek
In the 15-hectare park there are plenty of attractions. Here, you can walk on picturesque bridges, absorb strength from the stone circles, check out how the solar clock works and follow the traces of the inhabitants of the forest. This place has a a recreational and an educational function. Outdoor sightseeing is free.
Tykocin, the stork village and the stork cycling trail
The town itself, with its baroque-styledd market square, baroque synagogue and castle fortifications, as well as beautiful landscapes in the surroundings is incredibly attractive in terms of tourism. It gained popularity mostly because of its title of The European Stork Village. Thititle can only be received by one place in the country. In Pentowo, not far from Tykocin, there are about 30 stork nests. There are plenty of storks in the entire surroundings. One thing that is definitely worth checking out is the Cycling Stork Trail, which begins in Białowieża and extends through Pogorzelce, Narewka, Eliaszuki, Odrynki, where you can find a skit, to Trześcianki and further, all the way to Stańczyki. The trail itself connects four national parks and is more than 400 kilometers long.
Supraśl and the Icon Museum
In Supraśl you can visit the headquarters of the already mentioned Knyszyna Wilderness. Apart from the countless monuments, the city mostly attracts tourists with the famous Icon Museum. Even if you’re not very interested ith that stuff, you should at least give it a try. You might be surprised to find out, that the collection of the museum has more than 1000 icons. Some of these are icons stopped by customs officials during an attempted smuggling. This place is really worth a visit.
Opaka Duża, Rutka, Orla
In each of these villages you can encounter a whisper. Some believe that whispers are doctors, others consider them witches. They are not a special tourist attraction, but since there are chances to find shamans it far-away countries, maybe it’s worth to follow your curiosity and search for a whisper in Podlasie? You might find it irresistable to pay a visit to one of two local whispers: Anna and Eugenia.
The ruins of the church by the calling of St. Antoni in Jałówka
This might not be an especially spectaculsar attraction, but these ruins can be gorgeous, especially if they’re located in a quiet and peaceful area.
The Głazowisko Bachanowo Nature Reserve
At the area of less than one hectare, in the forks of the Stara Hańcza river, there is a gathering of nearly 10.000 erratic boulders with the circuit reaching up to even 8 meters. The boulder gathering presents a natural, post-glacial landscape. The interesting thing is that these boulders where carried by a glacier from Scandinavia.
The Augustów Channel
This channel connects the Vistula river with the Baltic Sea. It didn’t get into the UNESCO List yet, but it is already considered a historical monument.
The attractions mentioned above are just some of the interesting places to see in Podlasie. If you’ve been to this region and know some attractions that we haven’t mentioned in this article, let us know.