This section is dedicated to take away all your "I wish someone had told me that before I went!" experiences. This way, you are better prepared for what to expect, what not to expect and can spend less time settling in, and more time making new friends in your chosen hostel. We share our insider knowledge of tips, tricks and important things to look out for in Białystok. To help you make friends with Białystok before you visit, we've included a few helpful and fun things you should know about the area. Enjoy!
Bialystok was first mentioned in the sixteenth century -- around this time, it belonged to the Branicki family that chose the city for their residence. Bialystok and the surrounding region came under Prussian rule in the late eighteenth century; by the early nineteenth century, it was under Russian rule. This fact and the introduction of tariff barriers between Poland and Russia accelerated the development of the city.
In at the turn of the twentieth century, more than half of the residents were Jews and the city was as an important Jewish center. After World War I, it became part of Poland. Bialystok was occupied in the early forties by the Wehrmacht that burned the Great Synagogue of Bialystok. A few years following this, the city was occupied by the Red Army; in the mid-forties, it was returned to Poland.
Today, Bialystok is the capital of the Podlaskie region in Poland and has a population of almost three hundred thousand people. Sights worth seeing are the Baroque Town Hall; the Branicki Palace; Medical University; and the Cathedral Ensemble, an old cathedral from the sixteenth century with a magnificent interior. In Bialystok, there are also several Orthodox churches, of which the St. Nicholas Cathedral and the Haghia Sophia are the most famous. About eighty kilometers from the city is the Białowieża National Park, where you can see many rare animals, including bison.
The number of Bialystok hostels is quite limited, which is strange, as the city attracts enough tourists (it is a significant cultural center in Poland with many historical sights). The best things about Bialystok hostels are their very low prices and their excellent location in the center of the city. Moreover, living conditions are quite good, although not spectacular -- but considering the low price, hostels in Bialystok have a great value for your money. Of course, a larger variety of Bialystok hostels would be nice, but generally, you should not have problems booking a hostel in Bialystok.
Written by local enthusiast for Białystok hostelsGeorge Traveller