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History of the city

  • 1514 – first written record of Białystok;

  • 1547-1645Białystok belongs to Wiesiołowskis' family. Building of a gothic defensive castle. In 1617 Great Marshall Krzysztof Wiesiołowski decides to finance the building of the first brick catholic church in Białystok (currently known as the White Church);

  • 1645Białystok becomes a part of Tykocin Starostwo (administrative unit) and therefore property of Polish state.

  • 1659 – Hetman Stefan Czarniecki for his achievements in Swedish war receives property rights to Tykocin Starostwo with Białystok. His daughter – Aleksandra Katarzyna - brings Białystok as her dowry to the house of Jan Klemens Branicki. At the time Białystok is only a village of 40 houses built along three roads: to Choroszcz, Wasilków and Suraż.

  • the 90s of 17th century – Stefan Mikołaj Branicki (son of Jan Klemens) builds his new residence on the foundations of former defensive castle of Wiesiołowskis' family. The project's author is a prominent architect: Tylman of Gameren;

  • 1692Białystok gains town rights from King John III Sobieski;

  • 1726 – beginning of rebuilding the palace (architect: Jan Zygmunt Deybel);

  • February 1749Białystok receives its city charter from Augustus III of Poland

  • 18th century– further extending of the palace by Jan Klemens Branicki – Great Crown Hetman, first secular senator of Poland who ran in the election of the King of Poland, but was beaten by his brother-in-law Stanisław Poniatowski. Establishing/erection of a hospital, arsenal, town hall, post office, inn, guest palace, and monastery. The palace and its surroundings obtain the final shape, which results in coining a name of “Podlachia's Versailles” for Branicki Palace. The residence becomes an important cultural centre owing to the patronage of the hetman and his spouse Izabela. In 1750–1771 a theatre is being established and the most prominent opera singers of the time perform in Białystok;

  • 1862 – opening of WarsawPetersburg railway and consequent rapid development of the town and its textile factories;

  • turn of the 19th and 20th century – first telephones, water pipes and trams; 70 thousand people live in Białystok;

  • February 1919 – after regaining independence Białystok becomes the capital of the newly formed Białostockie Voivodeship;

  • 1939-1944 – Second World War –oppression of the citizens, 75 per cent of the buildings are eradicated;

  • 27th July 1944 – liberation of Białystok from German occupation;

  • 1992 - Białystok becomes a metropolitan capital of archdiocese;

  • 1 January 1999 – old town founded by Branickis' family becomes a capital of newly formed Podlaskie Voivodeship

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