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


Along Lipowa street
The corner brownstone (once the site of the inn "Under the Swan" which belonged to Andrushka - the lover of Jan Klemens Branicki) is the north end of the western row of Rynek Kościuszki and the beginning of Lipowa (Linden) street. Its name derives from the row of linden trees planted along the street in the second half of the 18th century, then called Choroska street, later renamed to Nowolipie. At the beginning of the 20th century the street was already named Lipowa, however it was changed again and the street was named after Marshall Józef Piłsudki only to be become the street of Adolf Hitler and then general Stalin, before becoming Lipowa again.

Walking down the street we pass by the Cristal Hotel, the first "real" hotel in post-war Poland, and reach two intersections with Liniarskiego and Malmeda streets.

On the other side of Liniarskiego street stands the St Nicholas the Miracle-worker Orthodox church, built in the years 1843 - 1846. The building is a classicist construction, erected on the plane of a Greek cross. The roof is topped with a dome which is slightly shorter than the bell tower with seven bells, located above the galilee. The relatively small interior can house just over 600 people. It was ornamented with polychrome in 1910 by Michal Anilov who followed the motives of the frescoes by Vasnietzov from the Validimirian Cathedral in Kiev. The ceiling of the dome presents Christ the Omnipotent, the Holy Mary and John the Baptist and below - the twelve apostles, prophets - kings and four Evangelists. The iconostasis dates back to 1844 and consists mainly of icons painted the Malachov - among which are the tonda, or round icons, portraying Evangelists, orthodox holidays and the scene of The Annunciation. By the tsarist portal hang paintings of Jesus Christ and the Enthroned Madonna, by the diaconal - paintings of the archangels Michael and Gabriel.

As in many Orthodox churches, this one also has the so called lower church, designed by Michal Bałasz and constructed in 1959. From 1959 St. Nicholas's Orthodox church has played the role of a cathedral and since 1994 it has been the Orthodox Army Church of the Polish Army. Next to the church is the seat of the Orthodox administration of the Białystok and Gdańsk diocese, the Centre of Orthodox Culture and the Department of Orthodox Theology of the University of Białystok.

Just in front of the church, Lipowa street intersects with Malmeda street which leads to a small square with the statue of Ludwik Zamenhoff - creator of the international language of Esperanto. He was born in Białystok in 1859.

Lipowa street runs on westward, towards the church of St Roch. When walking in that direction, one passes by "Pokój" cinema, a secessionist palace of Chaim Nowik (now the Headquarters of Army Drafting Office), and an old Jewish Handcrafts School (presently a vocational school) - a fine example of traditional brickwork. On the other side of the street there is the charming neoclassical brownstone with a balcony supporting caryatids.

The street ends with Roman Dmowski Plac Niepodległości (The Square of Independence) where the parish church of Christ the King and St Roch can be found. It is one of the first modernist churches in the world, built in the years 1927 - 1946 according to the design of Oskar Sosnowski, a professor at the Warsaw Technical University. The church was built as a votive for the Polish regaining of independence, in the place where a cemetery chapel of St Roch had formerly stood, and was founded in 1948 by Jan Klemens Branicki.

The main part of the temple is octagonal, with tall, narrow windows and an attic covering the flat roof, with a slim, 83-metre tower topped with a statue of Holy Mary. The interior is very modest. The skylight with a stained glass dove symbolising the Holy Spirit and the four Evangelists is supported by narrow, concrete pillars. The main altar, designed by Aleksander Wels, presents the figure of Christ sculpted by Stanisław Horno-Popławski.

The left altar contains the statue of St Anthony carved by the Białystok architect, Stanisław Bukowski, who finished the work of Oskar Sosnowski after the war. Further on, is the chapel of St Roch, sculpted by Aleksander Wels. Another altar of St Roch is located between the chapel and the main nave, presenting a painting of the saint by Augustyn Mirys, an artist supported by the Branicki family. The painting was moved to its present location from the 18th century chapel demolished in 1926. Another lateral altar is located to the left of the main one, presenting a statue of the Holy Mary of Milan. Next to it is a chapel with a copy of the Lady of Ostra Brama and a crucifix made by Bolesław Bałzukiewicz.

The whole church is surrounded by a wall with four towers. Above the main entrance stands a figure of Christ the Good Shepherd with a flock of sheep - also by Stanisław Horno-Popławski. The site is an excellent place to view the entire length of Lipowa street and a large part of the surrounding downtown area.

It is worthwhile to return to Rynek Kościuszki from here, taking a different route however. Just by the church hill runs Krakowska street. It starts between the hospital, located in the old building of Christain Moes's textile factory management office and the so-called Moes's Building. It then ends at the base of the hill of St Madaleine. A small Orthodox church is located on top of the hill. It was erected in 1758 under the patronship of Jan Klemens Branicki. Initially, it served as a Catholic chapel and later it was turned into a temple for Catholics of an Eastern Rite. It is a round brick building of one storey. Today it is a branch Orthodox church of St Madaleine.

An amphitheatre was built on the same hill in 1974. It is 200 m2 in area with a seating capacity of 3,500, and the Białystok Puppet Theatre is right behind it.

To reach Rynek Kościuszki from the hill of St Madaleine, one must take Kalinowskiego street which runs along Central Park. It ends at Plac Uniwersytecki (University Square) by the Monument of the Heroes of the Land of Białystok, built in 1975. It was designed by Bohdan Chmielewski and is composed of 9 concrete pillars, each 17 metres tall, resembling trees with the treetops intertwined. An eagle sits there in its nest, its wings stretched out.

The western end of the square is occupied by an example of sociorealism. It was built in 1954, as the headquarters of the Voivodeship Communist Party Committee. It is now the seat of the Białystok University.

The University Square is linked with Rynek Kościuszki by means of the short Suraska street. It starts at the north-eastern corner of the square, between the buildings of the Prosecutors Office and one which is occupied by a bookstore, among other institutions. A plaque hangs on the wall of the building at 1 Suraska, commemorating the death of 2000 Jews burnt alive in the synagogue and murdered by Germans who decided to liquidate the Jewish district of Hanajki. A monument was erected by the buildings of the BGŻ and PZU on Suraska street, composed of an obelisk and fragments of the great dome of the destroyed synagogue. It is here that one of the main Jewish temples of the Białystok region was located before the war. It was a grand, two-storey building with a three-dome roof. The ground floor hall could house as many as 600 men, while the first floor hall - 500 women. The synagogue, filled with about 700 people, was burnt by Germans on 27 June 1941.


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