What to see in Bialystok Old Town
Bialystok is the capital of the podlaskie region, located in north-east Poland. It is famous for its multicultural folklore and one of the oldest pupper theatres in Poland with entertaining shows, not only for children. You can also enjoy the breathtaking views of wide fields with sunflowers, red poppies and other gorgeous plants. Bialystok is an incredibly diverse city in terms of not only the people who live here, but also its various monuments, which are the evidence of the city’s history.
The Branicki Palace
The Branicki Palace in Bialystok is one of the best-preserved magnate residences in Poland, constructed in late-baroque style, sometimes called the „Polish Versailles” The first documents mentioning a settlement in the place of the palace originated from the 16th century. At that time, this was most likely the location of the mansion of Mikolaj Raczkowicz – the royal secretary.
In the 17th century, Stefan Mikolaj Branicki ordered Tylman Gamerski to transform the mansion ino a baroque residence, who already became famous for constructing the Krasinski Palace in Warsaw and the residence of primate Michal Radziejowski in Nieborow.
The Branicki Park
The Branicki Park is a baroque palace park in Bialystok with the surface of approximately 10 hectares, located within the area of Legionowa and Akademicka streets. Because of its uneven terrain, the park is situated on two floors: the upper level and the lower level.
Apart from the main garden, the park also had several smaller flower gardens and orchards. Among the park decorations there were statues, waterfalls, ponds and two orangeries. The division of the park for the upper and lower gardens, along with the developed water system, has survived to current times.
The Cathedral in Bialystok
The Archcathedral Basilic of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary in Bialystok is a temple complex in Bialystok, which consists of two church buildings connected to each other.
In the late 19th century, the previous parish had approximately 12.000 people, and the old church wasn’t big enough. Priest Wilhelm Szwarc, who was the doyen of Bialystok, ordered Jozef Pius Dziekonski to create a design for a new church. The plan for the new temple reflected the architectural trends of those times.
The Kosciuszko Square
The Kosciuszko Square is a representative promenade located in the centre of Bialystok. It extends from the Jana Pawla II Square and transforms into the southern frontage with Suraska street. At the eastern side of the Kosciuszko Square stands the oldest surviving monument in the city – a church founded by Piotr Wiesiolowski.
After the fire of the city in 1753, Jan Klemens Branicki, who was the owner of Bialystok at that time, organized a thorough reconstruction. At the centre there is a townhall with a clock tower. Its construction was finished in 1761.
The Town Hall
The Town Hall in Bialystok is a late-baroque building located at the Kosciuszko Square in Bialystok. It was constructed between 1745 and 1761 based on the design of Jan Henryk Klemm. It also has
a clocktower from the foundation of Jan Klemens Branicki. The tower was demolished dueing World War II, but it was reconstructed between 1954 and 1958 based on the design of Krystyna Chojnacka. The building was never the headquarters of the city government. It was originally the location of stalls, and the interior of the townhal was used as a market hall.
The Orthodox Church of st. Nicholas
The Orthodox Church of st. Nicholas is the headquarters of the parish of st. Nicholas in Bialystok. The first orthodox church of st. Nicholas, which was located close to the current one, was a division of the temple in Dojlidy. According to some documents, it already existed back in the 16th century.
But according to others, Jan Klemens Branicki and his wife Katarzyna Barbara founded the orthodox church of st. Nicholas before 1727. That year, a document was published, according to which Branicki donated 25 zlotych for the church’s pastor. It is the oldest document mentioning this church.
The Basilic of st. Roch
The Basilic under the calling of st. Roch in Bialystok is a Roman catholic church, located at the Hill of st. Roch, in the place of the chapel of st. Roch and a catholic cmemetery from 1839. On February 2nd 1925, bishop Jerzy Matulewicz gave priest Adam Abramowicz a permission to create a second parish in Bialystok and construct a new church.
The construction works began in 1927, and were financed almost enitrely from the money donated by the followers. At the beginning of World War II, the church was completed in a raw state. The construction works were finished in 1944, and on Augusr 18th 1946, the church was consecrated.
The Great Synagogue
Th Great Synagogue in Bialystok was constructed between 1909 and 1913 based on the design of Samuel J. Rabinowicz. During World War II, in September of 1939, Bialystok was taken over by the Soviet Union. On June 22nd 1941, the German policemen brought 800 Jews to the Synagogue and set the building on fire. Those, who tried to escape were shot from machine guns.
Today, a monument in the form of the destroyed dome and a memorial board are standing in the place of the burned synagogue. This monument is one of the points of the Jewish Heritage Trail in Bialystok.
The Podlasie Opera and Philharmonic
The Podlasie Opera and Philharmonic is the greatest artistic institution in north-easy Poland. Its origins date back to 1954, when the National Symphonic Orchestra was appointed in Bialystok. At that time, the musicians didn’t have their own headquarters. After 20 years of its artistic activity, the Orchestra gained the status of the Philharmonic.
On December 30th 2005, a permission was published to construct the building of the Podlasie Opera and Philharmonic. After several years of construction, the building was officially inaugurated on September 28th 2012.