Peace and nature
If you are curious what Polish deep countryside looks like, if you like wooden architecture and mix of cultures, if you seek peace and nature, go to Easter Poland!
Although I’ve been many times to different parts of Podlasie region, I will certainly keep returning. Whenever I feel tired and exhausted, I think of renting a wooden cabin near Puszcza Białowieska or in another place in Eastern Poland. Why there? Because I can’t found that peace and quietness anywhere else. And every visit brings new wonders. Now I’m going to share with you my recent discoveries.
Tykocin – the pearl of Podlasie
A Polish poet called it “fairy-tale village”. Look at the pictures below – will you disagree? Situated on Narew river, Tykocin is a small village that can boast of a glorious history and important monuments. Several Polish kings and even the Russian tsar Peter the Great stayed in its castle (recently rebuilt by a private investor and opened as a museum and a hotel). The village’s urban layout has been unchanged for centuries; therefore we can clearly distinguish the main square, the market square and the former Jewish district with its beautiful synagogue (now a museum of Jewish culture).
At the main square, nearby Czarniecki’s statue, you will see an old wooden house where the door is usually open. Actually the house is a museum created by Tykocin’s people to preserve the memory of the ones who lived there before. Visitors will find here furniture typical for Polish houses at the beginning of 20th century as well as pictures and documents related to the history of Polish and Jewish communities of this village.
As for restaurants, you can choose between the restaurant in the castle (I recommend it very much!) and the ones at the main square (among them a small Pierogarnia). Another option is this famous place in Kiermusy (5 km from Tykocin). In all of them you will get delicious, hearty food typical for Podlasie.
The Land of Open Shutters
Three villages – Trześcianka, Soce and Puchły are famous for their beautifully decorated wooden houses with colorful shutters form the so-called “Land of Open Shutters”. In Trześcianka and Puchły you can also visit charming wooden Orthodox churches (Eastern Poland has a large community of Orthodox Poles, Ukrainians and Belarusians). As for houses decorated in this manner, in every village of Podlasie you will find a few of them. One of my favorite villages is also Plutycze.
Kruszyniany and Bohoniki are 2 villages famous for their old wooden mosques. We owe them to the Polish Tatars who supported the Polish king John III Sobieski in 17th century. The king rewarded their loyalty giving them land in Podlasie and granting them many privileges. The Tatars married Polish women, taking their surnames, but preserved their religion and traditions. In Kruszyniany many festivals of Polish Tatars’ culture are organized every year.