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Sunday, 26 March 2017
VisitBiałystok.com - All about Białystok


Before 1749
The first mention of Białystok has been found to date back to 1514. The first mansion was probably constructed in the middle of the 15th century. It belonged to Raczka Tabutowicz, whom the Lithuanian duke, Michal Zygmuntowicz, awarded the wild forest surrounding the Biała River between 1437 and 1450. The first owner of the Białystok grounds had four sons and each of them then had his own mansion, built on the grounds of their father. Perhaps one of them had stood where later the Branicki palace was erected?

That we do not know. What we do, however, is that this was the place of the residence of the Wiesiołowski family, who were the next owners of Białystok. Initially, the mansion was a renaissance brick building, erected around 1570 by Piotr Wiesiołowski.

Later, probably around 1617, the residence was rebuilt into a fortified castle. In the 1570s, a wooden church was built next to the mansion. Next to it, a market palace was marked out, thus creating the beginning of the town to be.

After the death of the legal inheritors of the Wiesiołowski family, Białystok became the property of the Republic of Poland and was annexed to the province of Tykocin as royal land. In 1659, hetman Stefan Czarniecki, in return for his heroic deeds in the war against the Swedes, was awarded the Tykocin province, together with Białystok, to be his inheritable property. Czarniecki then gave the land to his daughter, Aleksandra Katarzyna, married in 1654 to the Royal Crown Marshall, a war hero and a brother in arms of the hetman, Jan Klemens Branicki. At that time Białystok was merely a village of no more than 40 houses, located along the three roads to Choroszcz, Wasilków and Suraż, which crossed by the church, creating a triangular market.

During the war called the "Swedish flood", the Wiesiołowski castle was destroyed. In its place, the Podlaski Voivode, Stefan Mikołaj Branicki, the son of Jan Klemens and grandson of Stefan Czarniecki, erected a mansion in the in the 1670s. In 1691, the architect Tylman of Gameren, began to remodel the estate so profoundly that the building initially constructed in the Tuscan style turned within six years into a baroque palace.

10 It was then that Białystok began to resemble a city. The first books of the city council date back to 1668 and it is that year that can be treated as the official foundation date of the city. Stefan Branicki received city rights for Białystok from King Jan III in 1692. The Magdeburg rights were awarded in February 1742 by August III the Saxon.

The residence fully satisfied the needs of the Podlaski Voivode, however it turned out to be too modest for his son - the Cracow Castellan, the Grand Crown Hetman and candidate to the throne - Jan Kazimierz Branicki, who changed his second name to Klemens in memory and honour of his grandfather. He hired the then famous architect, Jan Zygmunt Deybel, who began the reconstruction of the Białystok palace in 1726.

The palace was not the only interest of Jan Klemens Branicki as he also took care of the development of the city. He ordered and supported the construction of a hospital, a cekhauz, the townhall, an inn, a post office, a guest palace and the Abbey of the Sisters of Mercy. He also founded the Military School of Engineering and Construction, the School for Midwives, the Academic School with a dormitory for the students. He ordered the main streets to be planted with linden, support the wooden facades of houses by the main streets with bricks. Together with his wife, the hetman helped artists and scientists. The town became the meeting place of artists, architects and physicians.


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