The region’s capital city of Bialystok is home to culture, Esperanto, many outdoor areas, architecture, theatrical puppets and traditional cuisine.
The Podlasie region of Poland shares a border with Russia, Lithuania and Belarus, it is also not far from that of Ukraine. Over the Centuries it has become a melting pot of people, where different nationalities, cultures and religions all live peacefully together. Originally, a solely Catholic region, many Jews and Muslims have since settled there. 1693 saw the construction of the first Jewish synagogue. During the late 17th century, Muslims began to settle in the region and in 1727 the first Orthodox church of St. Nicolas was built. These days, the region is home to the largest number of Orthodox churches and followers in Poland, many of which are in the region’s capital, Bialystok.
Never to be far away from a local place of worship, the colours and architecture of these buildings both inside or out can be magnificent and some have kept the traditional wooden style.
I was surprised by how beautiful the sunsets are in Poland, the sky was always a mix of pastel colours. The second surprise hit me, or should I say bit me. The mosquitos are huge and aggressive. I was covered in bites for most of my stay as mosquito repellent means nothing to them.
The Akcent Zoo is a lovely, tranquil spot of Bialystok, set within the Zwierzyniecki Park. Home to the locally famous bison, storks, flowers and other four legged or feathered friends.
The zoo is free of charge for everyone and is open daily 9am-4pm January – March and 9am-6pm the rest of the year.
Ludwik Zamenhof was born in Bialystok in 1859. He was a Polish doctor, writer and inventor who was best known for creating the Esperanto language. Ludwik believed in world peace and a way for all people to communicate in a single language. He died in 1917.
Ludwik is still very well remembered around Bialystok. His statue stands in the city centres Ludwik Zamenhof square and the Ludwik Zamenhof Centre opened in July 2009 at 19 Warszawska St, showing both permanent and temporary exhibitions. These and other related sights can be seen on the cities ‘Esperanto and Multicultural Trail‘.
Bialystok was the first city in Poland to have a theatre and is the still home of the Lalek Puppet Theatre holding regular shows on two stages.
Other attractions around the city include Park Centralny, the Podlasie Opera and Philharmonic European Arts Centre, Branicki Palace with its seasonal gardens, Farny Church and the street of Lipowa in the city centre known for its square and the town hall.
Many places to eat and drink Polish vodka or beer can be found around the city, serving traditional local cuisine at prices much lower to other European destinations.