Białystok: Wikis


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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Branicki Palace


Coat of arms
Białystok is located in Poland
Coordinates: 53°07′N 23°09′E / 53.117°N 23.15°E / 53.117; 23.15Coordinates: 53°07′N 23°09′E / 53.117°N 23.15°E / 53.117; 23.15
Country  Poland
Voivodeship Podlaskie
County city county
Established 14th century
Town rights 1692
 - Mayor Tadeusz Truskolaski
 - City 102.12 km2 (39.4 sq mi)
Highest elevation 160 m (525 ft)
Lowest elevation 120 m (394 ft)
Population (2009)
 - City 294,399
 - Density 2,882.9/km2 (7,466.6/sq mi)
 - Metro 370,000
Time zone CET (UTC+1)
 - Summer (DST) CEST (UTC+2)
Postal code 15-001
Area code(s) +48 85
Car plates BI

Białystok [bjaˈwɨstɔk] ( listen) (also known by alternative names) is the largest city in northeastern Poland and the second most densely populated city of the country. It is located near Poland's border with Belarus and is the capital of the Podlaskie region. In June 2009, its population was 294,399[1]. From 1921 to 1998, it lay within Białystok Voivodeship; since 1999, it has been the capital of Podlaskie Voivodeship.



An English translation of Białystok would be "white slope" or "clean stream" (in Old Polish language). The city has been known in Belarusian as Беласток (Biełastok, IPA: [bʲeɫaˈstok]), in Yiddish as ביאַליסטאָק (Byalistok, Bjalistok). It has been known in Russian as Белосток or Belostok, a variant also used sometimes in English. Lithuanian name of the city is Balstogė.

According to legend, Białystok was given its name by the Grand Duke of Lithuania Gediminas ca. 1320.


The first mention of the place in historical sources dates from 1437 when the land around the Biala river (which is called "Bialka" by inhabitants) was given by Grand Duke of Lithuania Casimir IV Jagiellon to Raczko Tabutowicz, then in 1547 it passed to the Wiesiołowski family. They built a brick castle and a church here. It was then a part of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania. In 1645 after the death of Krzysztof Wiesiołowski, the last of the clan, Białystok became the property of the Commonwealth. In 1661 it was given to Stefan Czarniecki as a reward for his service in the victory over the Swedes. Four years later, as a dowry of his daughter Aleksandra, it passed to the Branicki family.

View of the gardens seen from the Branicki Palace, 1750s.
Le Pavilion chinois, 1750s.

In the second half of the 18th century Field Crown Hetman Jan Klemens Branicki, a commander in chief, became the heir of the Białystok area. It was he who transformed the previously existing abode into the magnificent residence of a great noble. Several artists and scientists came to Białystok to take advantage of Branicki's patronage. Białystok received its city charter in 1749.

After the third partition of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth in 1795 it first belonged to the Prussian Kingdom, then after the Peace of Tilsit signed in 1807 it passed to Russia. During the 19th century the city became a major centre of textile industry. Due to an industrial boom the population grew from 13,787 in 1857, and 56,629 in 1889, to 65,781 in 1901. At this time, the majority of the city's population was Jewish. According to Russian census of 1897, out of the total population of 66,000, Jews constituted 41,900 (so around 63% percent).[2]

After the outbreak of the First World War in 1914, the first heavy bombing of the town took place on 20 April 1915. On 13 August 1915 German soldiers appeared in Białystok. The city was included in the Ober Ost occupational region. In March 1918 it was declared part of the Belarusian National Republic; in July 1918 it was made part of Lithuanian Province and became capital of the Southern Lithuania government precinct. On February 19, 1919 the city was taken by Poland. In 1920, when overrun by Soviet forces during the Polish-Soviet War, it briefly served as headquarters of the Polish Revolutionary Committee headed by Julian Marchlewski, which attempted to declare the Polish Soviet Socialist Republic.

Lubomirski Palace.

In the years 1920–1939, the city was again part of independent Poland. In September 1939, Białystok was occupied by the German army, but then passed on to the Soviet Union with respect to the secret protocol of the Molotov-Ribbentrop pact, when it was annexed into the Byelorussian SSR. The Belastok Voblast with the centre in Bielystok was created in 1939.

On June 27, 1941, Białystok fell into Nazi hands as a result of the invasion of the Soviet Union. From the very beginning, the Nazis pursued a ruthless policy of pillage and removal of the non-German population. The 56,000 Jewish members of the town were confined in a ghetto, which during August 1941 was removed. On the morning of June 27, 1941, Nazi troops from Order Police Battalion 309[3] surrounded the town square by the Great Synagogue (the largest wooden synagogue in Eastern Europe), and forced residents from their homes into the street. Some were shoved up against building walls and shot dead. Others– some 2000 men, women and children– were locked in the synagogue, which was subsequently set on fire; there they burned to death. The Nazi onslaught continued with the grenading of numerous homes and further shootings. As the flames from the synagogue spread and merged with the grenade fires, the entire square was engulfed. On that day– June 27, 1941– some 3,000 Jews lost their lives.[4]

In the last year of the occupation, a clandestine upper Commercial School came into existence. The pupils of the school also took part in the underground resistance movement. As a result, some of them were jailed, some killed and others deported to concentration camps.

A number of anti-fascist groups came into existence in Białystok during the first weeks of the occupation. In the following years, there developed a well-organized resistance movement.

On August 15, 1943, the Białystok Ghetto Uprising began, and several hundred Polish Jews started an armed struggle against the German troops who were carrying out the planned liquidation of the ghetto.

After the conquest of the city by the Soviet army on July 27, 1944, it was administered by the Byelorussian SSR, but according to the Polish-Soviet border treaty in August 1945, Białystok, with the surrounding area, was passed on to Poland. Since that time Bialystok has significantly extended its area, incorporating neighboring villages such as Bialostoczek, Dziesieciny or Starosielce. The most recent incorporations were those of Zawady on the north and Dojlidy Gorne on the south. They have significantly increased the administrative area of the city.

Geography and climate

Bialystok is situated on the river Biala, which is the left tributary of Suprasl. The city is located in the region known as Podlachia lowland and therefore Bialystok is primarily flat. The climate, however, is substantially different from most of the other Polish lowlands. The region is one of the coldest in Poland, with the average temperature in January being -5°C. 7°C is the average temperature in a year.

The city lies in a direct proximity to Lithuanian and Belarussian borders, with a nearest border checkpoint with Belarus in Bobrowniki only 40 km (25 mi) away. Since border with Belarus is also the eastern border of the European Union as well as the Schengen Area, Bialystok plays an important role in managing the border's security.


Bialystok is home to one principal public university (Bialystok University) and two other public specialist universities (Bialystok Technical University and Medical University of Bialystok). Some institutions, such as Musical Academy in Bialystok, are branches of their parent institutions in other cities, usually in Warsaw. Since the fall of communism many private-funded institutions of higher educations were founded and their number is still increasing.



Municipal politics

Last municipal elections were won by Civic Platform which has majority of the seats in the City Council. The current city mayor, Tadeusz Truskolaski, won the elections as the Platform's candidate, however he has no official connection with the party. Platform's major opponents, Law and Justice, have minority of the seats in the City Council and were running the city administration before 2006. During the last mayoral elections, a humorous and peculiar TV spot of one of the candidates, Krzysztof Kononowicz, became an Internet phenomenon and gained the city a lot of popularity in Polish media.

Administrative division

Neighborhoods of Białystok

The city of Białystok is divided into 28 administrative units known as osiedla:
1. Centrum 2. Białostoczek 3. Sienkiewicza 4. Bojary 5. Piaski 6. Przydworcowe 7. Młodych 8. Antoniuk 9. Jaroszówka 10. Wygoda 11. Piasta I 12. Piasta II 13. Skorupy 14. Mickiewicza 15. Dojlidy 16. Bema 17. Kawaleryjskie 18. Nowe Miasto 19. Zielone Wzgórza 20. Starosielce 21. Słoneczny Stok 22. Leśna Dolina 23. Wysoki Stoczek 24. Dziesięciny I 25. Dziesięciny II 26. Bacieczki 27. Zawady 28. Dojlidy Górne


Before World War II Bialystok had a horse tram network. After the war the plans of the electrification of the lines proved to be too costly and the lines were pulled down. Since then buses have been the only means of public transportation. There are 28 city lines, 5 metropolitan lines and 3 night lines (weekends only) served by 3 bus operators partially owned by the municipality - KPKM, KPK and KZKM, each sharing approximately a third of the lines and the bus fleet. There are also plans of developing a rapid city rail system in the near future, using existing railways lying within the city limits, to improve the reliability of the public transport.

Krywlany airport lies within the city limits. It is currently used only by Aeroklub Krywlany, an air sports and recreational flying association, and by private airplanes. The city is aiming to modernize the airport by 2010 to make it suitable for civic air transport and is aiming to attract low cost carriers. Previously the other suggested location for a future Bialystok airport was Topolany, a village 30 km south-east of Bialystok, but the plans were subsequently abandoned in favour of Krywlany. Currently the nearest airport to Bialystok is the Hrodna Airport in Belarus, however it operates only flights to Belarus and Russia. Bialystok citizens usually use Warsaw Frederic Chopin Airport.


Bialystok is an important centre of production of alcoholic beverages. Brewery Browar Dojlidy in Dojlidy belonging to the Kompampania Piwowarska group produces popular Zubr beer featuring the motif of the European bison (one of Podlachia's tourist attractions) in its marketing campaign. Polmos Bialystok, the biggest vodka manufacturer in Poland, is located in the city district of Starosielce. The company is the producer of Absolwent and Zubrowka (bison grass vodka) - one of major Polish vodka exports abroad.

Bialystok was in the 19th century a primary centre of light industry and this was the reason for the substantial growth of the city's population. The tradition continued with many garment factories established in the 20th century, such as Fasty in the district of Bacieczki. However, after the fall of communism in 1989 many of those faced severe problems and subsequently closed down. Currently in Bialystok there is one major Polish producer of carpets and similar products, Agnella, located in the district of Bialostoczek.


Location of Białystok in Europe.

Notable residents



Cultural references

  • The asteroid 19981 Bialystock was named in the city's honour on 1 June 2007.
  • The bialy, a bagel-like roll, derives its name from the city.
  • The protagonist of Mel Brooks' film and musical The Producers is named Max Bialystock.
  • A large part of the narrative of David Zagier's early memoirs, Botchki, centres on Bialystok.
  • The town is the site of a purported massacre in the PC Game "Command and Conquer".

International relations

Twin towns - Sister cities

Białystok is twinned with the following cities and towns:


Versailles de Podlachie

Białystok was turned in the first half of the 18th century by its owner Jan Klemens Branicki, a wealthy Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth hetman, into a residence suitable for a pearson whose ambition was to become king of Poland.[6] The palace complex with gardens, pavillons, sculptures, outbuildings and other structures and the city with churches, city hall and monastery, all built almost at the same time according to french models was the reason why the city was known in the 18th century as Versailles de Podlachie (Versailles of Podlachia).[7]

Other architectural monuments

See also

Sources and external links


  1. ^ Central Statistical Office, Warsaw 2009, "Population. Size and Structure by Territorial Division, as of June 30, 2009" (PDF). Retrieved 2009-12-31.  
  2. ^ Joshua D. Zimmerman, Poles, Jews, and the politics of nationality, Univ of Wisconsin Press, 2004, ISBN 0299194647, Google Print, p.16
  3. ^ Goldhagen, Daniel J. Hitler's Willing Executioners: Ordinary Germans and the Holocaust New York, NY: Vintage Books, 1997
  4. ^ "::::The Importance of World Peace: The Holocaust::::". Retrieved 2009-05-05.  
  5. ^ "Kaliningrad - Partner Cities". © 2000-2006 Kaliningrad City Hall. Retrieved 2008-12-08.  
  6. ^ (Polish) "Podlaski Wersal Branickich". Retrieved 2009-11-26.  
  7. ^ (French) "Podlasie (Podlachie)". Retrieved 2009-11-26.  

Travel guide

Up to date as of January 14, 2010
(Redirected to Bialystok article)

From Wikitravel

Białystok is the largest city in north-eastern Poland and the capital of Podlaskie Voivodship.

Get in

By plane

There is an international airport in Warsaw: Warsaw Frederic Chopin Airport [1]: For those travelling from Warsaw serviced by Polski Express [2]. See also routes/timetable [3].

By train

This is the best choice of getting in to Białystok. There are over ten trains a day from Warsaw, cost is about 10-15 euro. Białystok has also direct connections with Olsztyn.

See: Polish State Railways [4].

By car

You can easily get there by car from Warsaw, Gdańsk (A1) and Poznań.

By bus

Many international connections (see Poland::By bus).

Get around

City Plan: [5]


Unlike many other Polish cities, the architecture in the centre is not particularly worth visiting in itself, but the main square is being redeveloped as of July 2007. There is a small park dedicated to L.L.Zamenhof, creator of Esperanto, who was born in the city.


Go to Yzzy club next to Lipowa Street near city's centre. You can drink hot chocolate at Wedel, Białystok is known for its Branickis' Palace.


There are numerous hamburger zapiekanki (garlic bread with tomato sauce, meat, cheese and mushrooms) stands by the PKS and PKP stops in Białystok

  • Tokaj Restaurant, Malmeda 7 Street (Centre), tel. (085) 742 08 07, [6]. 12:00-23:00. Very nice restaurant with delicious hungarian cousine.  edit


There's a cheap hotel not far from the station.

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Up to date as of January 15, 2010

Definition from Wiktionary, a free dictionary



Polish Wikipedia has an article on:

Wikipedia pl


  •  audiohelp, file
  • IPA: /bjaˈwɨs̪t̪ɔk/

Proper noun

Białystok m.

  1. The largest city in northeastern Poland and the capital of the Podlaskie Voivodeship.


Singular only
Nominative Białystok
Genitive Białegostoku
Dative Białemustokowi
Accusative Białystok
Instrumental Białymstokiem
Locative Białymstoku

Derived terms

  • białostoczanin m., białostoczanka f.
  • adjective: białostocki

Simple English

Wikipedia does not yet have an article with this name.


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