Serving as the capital of Podlasie Province, Białystok is a culturally rich city in Poland’s north-east. It has long been an important academic and artistic centre, with a long history of coexistence between people of different nationalities, races and religions.
Things to do in Białystok
Begin your visit to Białystok at the Podlaskie Museum, which occupies the Art Nouveau-style old town hall. It houses an impressive collection of artefacts related to the Tatar settlement of the Polish-Lithuanian-Belarussian region and exhibits detailing the experience of Białystok Jews during World War II. Don’t miss the small-scale model of the city as it appeared in the 18th century.
A short stroll away is the sprawling complex of Branicki Palace, a late-Baroque marvel developed in the 18th century by Jans Klemens Branicki and has been described as the “Versailles of Podlasie”. Join a guided tour to explore its opulent halls and chapel before admiring the gates, gazebos and sculptures that dot the palace grounds. Part of Branicki Palace is now home to the Medical University of Białystok, which operates a small museum.
If you’ve ever wondered about the origins of Esperanto, don’t miss a visit to the Ludwik Zamenhof Centre, which explores the multiculturalism of Białystok that led to Zamenhof creating this universal language. The exhibition comprises multimedia exhibits and historic artefacts that reflect his ideas around facilitating better communication and cooperation between people. The Ludwik Zamenhof Centre regularly hosts concerts, film screenings and theatrical performances.
Getting around Białystok
Białystok is around 2.5 hours’ drive from Warsaw and Warsaw Chopin Airport, which has flights to destinations across the globe. Trains connect from several Polish cities to the Białystok railway station and buses travel throughout Białystok. Bicycle rental stations are also dotted throughout the city.