It is counted as the oldest surviving building in Belowieza. Possibly it was built at the end of 19th century, when it was hunting place of Russian tsar. Actually house has traditional Russian looking style, with beautifully carved details. Such style appeared in this region due to few reasons: firstly, Russians were moved here and started to build their own style constructions; moreover, Polish returned from forced exile to Siberian part of Russia. After some time they copied such Russian wood carving style here, in Poland.
Some parts of former manor from Russian empire times still left in Bialowieza. It was built in the end of 19th century (1888) and was called as summer residency of hunting.
The palace got burned at 1944, so nowadays here is the main building of Bialowieza national museum. Some parts of manor still left as some utility rooms, stable, old gates.
Forest of Bialowieza is one of the most preserved in Europe. It consists mostly of leafy trees. The most famous plants here – old and massive oak trees.
The main symbol of this natural reserve is recently reproduced European bisons. Nowadays there are about 250 bisons in Polish part of the forest. Actually European bisons naturally grow only in few countries – Belarus, Lithuania, Poland, and Ukraine.
Museum buildings seems to be new one, it was built instead of burned main palace of Tsar’s manor. The exhibition was extremely nice and modern. Actually the exhibits (mainly flora, fauna) were shown as copies of natural surroundings with special lights, targeted into places of interest and special voices, repeating animals.
The museum has small tower, where it is possible to see some panorama of Bialowieza surroundings.
Reserve nearby Bialowieza is made to demonstrate bigger animals of forest. It is as zoo – looking place, there is possible to see famous Europeans bisons, wolves, wild horses, boars, deer, foxes, lynxes and so on.
The entrance of reservoir is full of sellers, who offer postcards, fresh honey, holy grass for vodka and other souvenirs.
This is an absolute must do when you are staying in Bialowieza as it may be your life chance to see a live European bison. There a few herds of bison living in the wild in the primeval forest on the Polish side of the border (450 animals altogether) but you are not likely to meet them there as roaming in the forest on your own without a guide is forbidden. And the bison do not usually approach paths frequented by groups of tourists.
The reserve is part of the European Bison Breeding Centre which has played an important role in the restitution of this nearly extinct species. There is some more wildlife to see in the reserve as well - wild boar, the Polish tarpan-like horses, wolves, deer, roe deer and a few more species.
15 April - 15 October - daily 9.00-17.00
out of season - Tuesday - Sunday 8.00-16.00
I visited the reserve three times, but had no camera the first two and was in a hurry to leave the place the third time due to food poisoning brought on by a visit to the local restaurant. So I didn't have any pictures of the bisons but this year a cousin of mine visited it in winter and her friend has given me permission to use her pictures. Many thanks!
Photographs: courtesy of Hanna Gesciak-Wojciechowska
Bialowieza National Park is Poland´s oldest national park, home of the largest bison population as well as of boars, wolves, deer etc. It is a "protected zone" which you may enter only with a guide/ranger of the national park for security reasons
Biking in and around Bialowieza is an experience on its own. You will be able to move quickly and discover the place not only using your eyes, but also your ears and nose. Bialowieza has amazing sounds and aromas.
We rented our bikes from a local place located in the elementary school across of Orthodox church and entrance to the Park.
The reason we did it is because we like to support local business and also we heard that renting it from one of those huge hotels is not a nice experiment.
For a small fee we got tow great bikes and even an extra basket for me to keep my backpack in.
The Folk Museum near Bialowieza is a must see if you visit the area. It displays a number of traditional thatched cottages, a tiny chapel, some windmills, and other old farm buildings typical of the area. It's a living museum - a number of enthusiasts live there to demonstrate the traditional ways of life and the local handicrafts to the tourists.
For more pictures, see my travelogue.
The open-air museum in Bialowieza. You can see here a typical old Polish village: old wooden huts with the straw thatchs, old wooden little Orthodox church, windmills and so on.
The entrance - 2zl, but when I was there this was for free.