That famous city, Bialystok, you have heard of it? Not so much? It is the tenth-largest city in Poland and is second in terms of population density. Located on the Biala River, it is close to Poland’s border with Belarus and Lithuania. In fact, we had to be sure to schedule a bus from here to Lithuania’s capital, Vilnius, that did NOT go to Grodno in Belarus, even though the route is more direct by cutting through the northwest corner of Belarus. Americans may only enter the country through its international airport, as we read in several different places, so we don’t know what would happen if we were mindlessly on a bus or train that traveled through Belarus. Anyway, we are only here overnight to break up the long journey between Warsaw and Vilnius. But we have been surprised, as the city has an old town area and some very charming sights.
First up in the photos is Branicki Palace, completed in the early 18th century by a wealthy nobleman. Like so many places in Poland, the original building was burned to the ground by the retreating Germans in 1944, but the exterior was faithfully restored to its former glory. The second picture is of the entryway, the Griffin Gate, followed by a statue of Hercules fighting a dragon at the entrance. Next up is a glimpse of the (get ready, it’s a mouthful) Cathedral Basilica of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary, seen from Branicki Palace, followed by a full frontal shot of its facade in all its magnificence. And of course, after that is a shot of its beautiful interior and one of the stained glass windows.
Afar the church photos is one of a pretty yellow and white building that we thought was probably Town Hall, as it was on the square and looked very historic. We don’t know what it was originally (the text was all in Polish), but it is now a kindergarten. The photo following that one, at the end of the square, is the actual Town Hall, with its pretty orange roof and spire. Next up is a frame in the middle of the square to take a fun photo of the old town. We are seeing these in more and more cities, and they make for a good photo. That is followed by some buildings we liked around the town as we walked, and we end with flowers, as they were everywhere. The white-flowered shrub was about 5 feet tall and looked really nice in front of the cathedral. The last two were across the street from one another. We don’t know who inspired who, but it made for a nice surprise when we looked up to see all that color!