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According to the tales told Bialystok dates back to 1320 and the habits of a Lithuanian Prince hunting "urus" (a huge wild Eurasian ox - extinct now - the last one was killed in 1627) in the local forest. After a hunting spree he stopped by a spring and declared "clean, white spring - we could build a hunting lodge or a village here". In Polish: clean, white spring translates to: czysty, bialy stok.
The city is the 2nd most densely populated in the country and built over 7 hills, just like Rome. Its population is a melting pot of Belorussians, Russians, Ukrainians, Lithuanians, Romani People and Tatars giving the city a rich culture. The inventor of "Esperanto" a constructed language designed for international communication was born in Bialystok, Ludwik Zamenhof and today over 2 million people use Esperanto. It is a student enclave with about 45,000 students running amok in the city and attending 1 of the 19 higher education institutions sitting in the town. Internationally famous for its penchant for balloon air crafting, 32% of the city area is designated green zones making it the 5th most forested city in Poland. There are 2 nature reserves within the city, the Zierzniecki Forest and the Antoniuk, with the Branicki Palace wrapped in Poland's best-preserved baroque gardens.
Sitting on the banks of the Biala River, it borders the European Union and Schengen area. Bialystok is one of the leading centres of academic, cultural and artistic life in the region of Podlaskie and the most important economic centre in northeastern Poland. After the fall of communism in 1989 and with the help of EU investment funds, the city is slowly changing into a thriving modern metropolis.
From its triangle shaped old market place with the town hall standing at one end and the cathedral at the other where you will find the buzzy heart of the city dressed in bars, pubs and restaurants, to the 1st examples of Polish modern church architecture of the Christ the King and Sain Roch, the city will fascinate and leave you little time to tap away on your laptop.
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