Since the village of Bialowieza is only a kilometre from the heart of the Bialowieza National Park, itself a protected site on the Unesco World Heritage List, it is often used as a starting point for excursions into this magnificent woodland. Some of the interesting things to see in the little village include the Palace Park, the Russian Orthodox Church and the Natural History Museum. Bialowieza has many places that offer food and accommodation at very reasonable prices.
Lying in the direct vicinity of Bialowieza, the Bialowieza National Park preserves the largest remaining area of original lowland forest in Europe. The primeval forest covers a total of approximately 105 sq km, of which 4 km is under strict protection. Wolves, wild boar, elks, stags and lynx can be seen as well as huge, five-hundred-year-old oak trees.
Bialowieza is situated almost on the border with Belarus, 85 km southeast of Bialystok, in the eastern part of the central Vistula River valley. Spreading along some 3 km of the southern boundary of the Bialowieza National Park, the village has a population of less than 2,000 inhabitants.
The genesis of the name ‘Bialowieza’ is a matter of some debate, although the supposition is that a white tower once stood somewhere in the village, and hence the name (‘biala wieza’ means ‘white tower’ in Polish). It is commonly believed that the name was first mentioned by that great Polish historian and chronicle writer, Jan Dlugosz, in his chronicle from the second half of the 15th century. He relates that in the winter of 1409, King Wladyslaw Jagiello went to Bialowieza and hunted there for... ( more >>)