Places to visit in Podlasie, part 1
Podlasie is the historical region in Eastern Poland, next to Belarus. Actually, some part of it is on the next Bug’s shore. However, in this article, we’ll show you 4 places to visit there on the Polish site.
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This post is the next part of the series about sightseeing in Poland. We’ve already published the articles about places in the entire country you should see. Now we’ll proceed to discuss each region.
Places to visit in Podlasie: Białystok
Białystok is the capital of the Podlasian Voivodeship. Also – it’s a very important place to the Belarussian diaspora in Poland. Many of the prominent Belarussian activists have settled there.
Pałac Branickich (Braniccy Palace) is a historical monument back from the Baroque. It’s so captivating that some people call it “Polish Versailles”! It has French-like gardens with Hercules statues. You can also see some of the interiors, but not all of them.
Minor Basilica of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary in Bialystok
It was the burial place of the aforementioned Braniccy family. Nowadays it serves as a place of religious worship and a historical monument. It was built in 1900-1905. This time is known the Polish history as The Partitions. Poland was occupied by Austria, Prussia, and Russia. The last country wanted to eradicate the Polish culture, so the Poles weren’t allowed to build new temples. However, the occupant was gracious enough to occasionally allow us to expand the ones currently existing.
Places to visit in Podlasie: Grabarka Mountain
Average Pole follows the Roman Catholic religion. But we’re not all the same – some of us are Orthodox. Also – Podlasie is home to a Belarussian Orthodox minority. Grabarka Mountain, located next to the village of the same name, has a Saint Martha and Mary Orthodox Monastery on its peak. It was built in 1947, under the hard times of communism, when any religion was frowned upon.
In 1945 Poland was reborn in the completely new borders. It lost the Eastern Borderlands (Polish: Kresy Wschodnie), where all female Orthodox monasteries were located. Some of the nuns survived the WW2 and had no place to live and pray. In 1947 only 3 nuns lived in the newly built place of cult. A year later, in 1948, it had 8 nuns who followed the Orthodox rule. Despite the hardships of “people’s democracy”.
In 1990 the monastery’s Orthodox temple (Polish: cerkiew) burnt to the ground. Of course, it has been rebuilt and you can visit it today.
It’s available to the general public all year round. But for full cultural experiences, we advise that you visit it in August. In August the Orthodox Church observes the Transfiguration of Jesus. During that time many Polish (and also international) Orthodox people made a pilgrimage to that mountain. If you wish, you can watch their religious practices.
During our Polish language course in Wroclaw, we offer you an outside-of-class event. One of them may be a trip to a place important to Polish culture. If you ask your Polish language teacher, its destination may be Grabarka!
Author: Jacek Karczmarz (own work)
Places to visit in Podlasie: Kruszyniany
It’s a village inhabited by less than 100 people. So – why do we even recommend it? Kruszyniany is home to the Polish Tatar community. The most commonly visited monument is the Kruszyniany Mosque – a wooden temple built around 1717 when it was first mentioned in the historical documents. The mosque’s interior is embellished with muhir, a calligraphical representation of the Qur’an most important quotes.
Regrettably, you won’t experience Muslim prayers there. They were held until the last Muslim imam of the local community died. Since his passing prayers are held only during the most important Muslim holidays.
Places to visit in Podlasie: Rowelska Mountain
Are you a mountain person? Podlasie has you covered! Rowelska is Podlasie’s highest mountain. It’s 298 meters high and has a wind farm on its top. From its peak, you’ll be able to see the vast forests of Poland, Lithuania, and Russia.
This mountain is very suitable for beginners due to its moderate height. Also – it is located in the Pojezierze Wschodniosuwalskie area, where you can find a captivatingly beautiful lake Hańcza. It’s the deepest one in Poland, so if you’re both a mountain and diving person – it’s a place just for you.
Places to visit in Podlasie: Bug
It’s a river that constitutes a border between Poland, Belarus, and Ukraine. Shore itself is a very beautiful place regardless of the season! You can have a very long, even romantic walk there.
Also, between the rivers Narew and Bug, you can hear Podlasian dialects. It’s one of the least-known Polish dialects. Some Polish people are not even aware that it exists! And, if you’re Belarussian or Ukrainian, you may think you actually hear your own language! It is because some of the Podlasian dialects are closer to the Eastern Slavic languages! During our Polish language course in Wroclaw, we teach mostly universal Polish. However, we’ll show you a bit of dialect.
In this article, we’ve tried to show you the most captivating and intriguing places to visit in Podlasie. Of course, it’s a big region with much more to see than what we’ve shown you. Since our Polish language school in Wroclaw’s mission is to teach you Polish culture, shortly we’ll come back with yet another article about places to visit in Podlasie.
Also – we’re launching our Polish language course in Wroclaw on 9th October 2023. If you want to enroll, please e-mail us at: email@example.com.