Bialystok stands at the crossroads of European cultures, sustained by intellectual inspiration – and waves of migrants – from both east and west. Throughout its 700 year existence, the city has incorporated Belarusian, Yiddish, Ukrainian, Lithuainian, Russian, Romanie, Muslim and Tartar cultures into its milieu, and its sons have included imminent scientists, linguists and politicians. Today, Bialystok – home to growing numbers of galleries, museums, and concert halls – is looking to re-assert its role as a thriving hub of regional and national culture.
The city’s architectural treasures include the Branicki Palace, a work of sublime Baroque inspiration that often draws comparisons with the French palace of Versailles. It encapsulates several fine gardens, pavilions, great halls, villas, theatres, libraries, wedding houses, and a clock tower, and is largely the work of hetman Jan Klemens. Yet more historic sights lie in Bialystok’s Old Town, including the triangular shaped market square and town hall, a cathedral, and the Orthdox Church of Saint Nicholas with its fresco domes; these are just some of the 150 monuments listed in the register.