Orthodox churches, synagogues, wooden churches and sunken cottages with painted shutters, Yotvingian barrows, mists strolling over the meadows of Nabuza, splash of fish in the Polish Amazon – Narew, wild backwoods of Knyszynska Forest, majestic bison emerging from a Bialowieza forest, a roar in the Augustów Primeval Forest, the Milky Way running with a million stars across the smog-free sky, Whisperer waiting at the doorstep, the flavors of pierekaczewnik, potato dumplings and knot cake – such is Podlasie, magically diverse. Here are the „must see” places and other suggestions:
Narew National Park
Narew National Park can without hesitation be called a gem on a European scale. It includes the marshy valley of the Narew River in its upper reaches, one of Europe’s last active, regularly flooded river valleys. The river within the park’s boundaries forms a remarkable water maze, with a whole network of branching and connecting channels. It is a peculiar example of an anastomosing river, sometimes also called a braided river. There is no other such river not only in Poland, but also in Europe.
Knyszynska Forest, Knyszyn-Bialystok Forest – a vast forest complex located in the Białystok Highlands in Podlaskie Voivodeship. Forests there are overgrown by end moraines, and the Supraśl River and its tributary Sokołda River flow through the Pushcha area. The richness of the animal and plant world accounts for the unique character of the forest, where 23 forest and scrub complexes have been found. It also serves as a refuge for wildlife. It is home to rare species such as lynx, wolf and bison.
Bialowieza Forest is a unique forest complex in Europe, as it is the last lowland forest on the continent. The primeval forest lies on the border of Poland and Belarus and covers about 1250 km². Its Polish part occupies 580 km².There are unchanged ecosystems preserved here, which have not been interfered with by man, and the richness of fauna and flora is a jewel in the crown of Poland’s nature. That is why 20 reserves have been established in its territory. The most valuable in the area is Bialowieza National Park. The heart of the forest is a fragment of over 500-year-old forest adjacent to the border with Belarus.
Śliwno-Waniewo footbridge – a footbridge over the Narew River between the villages of Waniewo and Śliwno in Podlaskie Province. It is located within the Narew National Park and is a tourist and teaching facility. A nature trail leads along it. The footbridge is about 1,100 meters long and stretches over the floodplains and marshes of the Narew River. It consists of wooden piers and five floating piers.
Mount of Crosses Grabarka
Grabarka – a mountain located next to the village of the same name in Podlaskie province, Siemiatycze district, Nurzec-Stacja municipality. It is the most important place of religious worship for Orthodox believers in Poland. Grabarka is home to the female monastery of Saints Martha and Mary, established in 1947, as well as 3 monastic churches.
Land of Open Shutters
The Land of Open Shutters is located in the Narew River valley in Podlasie, between Bialystok and Hajnówka. It is a trail through three small villages: Trześcianka, Soce and Puchły. The region is characterized in that it is mostly populated by Orthodox people of Belarusian origin. This can be seen in the unprecedented decoration of wooden huts referring to Russian folk culture. Their uniqueness lies in the unique and colorful woodcarving decorations and the always open shutters, which is where the land got its name.