Bialystok - Podlasie's metropolis
Białystok is a city located in north-eastern Poland, near the border with Belarus. It is the largest city and capital of the Podlaskie Voivodeship (province), and the 10th most populous city in Poland.
Bialystok is known for its history and culture. The city has a large number of historic buildings and monuments, including the Branicki Palace, which is a beautiful baroque palace that now serves as a museum, and the Church of St. Roch, which is a Gothic church that dates back to the 14th century.
Bialystok is also a center for higher education, with several universities and colleges located in the city. It is home to the University of Bialystok, which is the largest university in north-eastern Poland, and the Medical University of Bialystok.
Bialystok is an important economic center, with several large companies and industries based in the city. The city’s economy is based on manufacturing, services and agriculture. The city has a strong tradition of textile production, and it is also known for its furniture and food industry.
Bialystok is also a popular tourist destination, with many visitors coming to the city to see its historic buildings, enjoy its cultural events, and explore the nearby Białowieża National Park and the Białowieża Forest, which are both UNESCO World Heritage sites.
Here’s our list of the Top 10 Things to do in Bialystok.
What to see
There are a number of good museums in the city such as The History Museum, which showcases the history of Bialystok and Podlasie. A light show featuring a large model of Bialystok in its late 18th-century heyday is the highlight of this museum, which is an annex of the Podlasie Museum; which can be found at the Town Hall.
Before World War II, Bialystok had 60 synagogues serving a population of over 40,000 Jews, or about half of the city’s population. Only three synagogue buildings survived the war, one of which was the Cytron Synagogue where the few hundred Bialystok Jews who survived the Holocaust worshipped after the war. Today it is a branch of the Podlasie Museum and is used as an art gallery and for special exhibitions.
The most popular green space in the city is Branicki Palace with its beautiful gardens, pavilions, sculptures and outbuildings. The palace was burned down in 1944 by the retreating Germans; however the exterior of the building has been restored to its 18th-century form.
Largely due to EU development funds, the gardens around Branicki Palace are improving every year and are quite impressive and also free to enjoy. The palace has its own museum dedicated to the history of the palace.