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Legend of the founding of Bialystok

Once upon a time, Lithuanian prince Giediminas was hunting in Bielski Great Forest. He was chasing an urus or a dear, far to the north-west end of the Great Forest almost to the Masovian border. Dusk was already falling when he eventually caught the animal at an unknown spring. It was a long distance to Suraż castle and in this wild and uninhabited area there was not even a hunting lodge which noble men tended to build for their comfort in these old times. No wonder, this soil had not belonged to Lithuania for very long, and even though the aristocrats wanted to keep it, the prince was worried that the forest could be returned to Masovia. In fact there were some poorly built sheds nearby which maybe one day could deserve the name of a house and which their inhabitants called “Old Village” but the prince preferred to stay in a quickly erected hut rather than in a stuffy old shed.


Prince's consorts got together and in no time there was a lovely hut for the prince to sleep in. When the archers were busy cutting the meat the prince was taking a rest at the nearby spring. The water was flowing from it rapidly and unlike other springs they had come across it was very clean. Probably because it had a bed of sand and didn't flow like other ones through peat swamps.


- Clean, white river*—said the price.—We could build here a hunting lodge or even found a village…


They did as the prince said. Soon they built a prince's residency at the spring and after that a village which they called White River – Biały Stok.


Rzeka Biała zimą


* white river in old Polish: biały stok

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