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Old, little Towns
When staying in Białystok for a few days, it is worthwhile visiting the more interesting of the towns, which lie in the vicinity of the city.

Just outside the city limits, lies the town of Choroszcz, especially known for the summer residence of the Branickis, located in a baroque palace. It is now a Museum of Palace Interiors, surrounded by a large park. Choroszcz is also known for the late baroque church of St John the Baptist and St Stephen the Martyr, a Dominican monastery and a beautiful temple of the Catholics of Eastern Rite.

A little bit further down - about 28 kilometres from Białystok - lies Tykocin. It also owes its baroque beauty to the Branickis. The arcade galleries of the church of the Holy Trinity embrace, like a pair of arms, the Old Market with its rows of groundfloor houses which once used to be gentry homes. These were moved here from the neighbouring settlements. A stone statue of Stefan Czarniecki is located here - the first statue of a lay person erected in Poland. There is also the last seminary for war veterans in Poland and the hospital building, constructed 250 years ago. The Branickis also founded the presbytery buildings and the Administrator's Mansions, the Bernardine monastery with the Assumption of the Virgin Mary and a Talmudistic House which has now been turned into a museum. Only the magnificent synagogue and the castle of king Sigismund August (of which there are only picturesque remains left) do not owe their origin to the Branickis.

Several kilometres separate Tykocin from Knyszyn - once almost a capital of the country during the reign of king Sigismund August. By the road connecting the two towns lies Morusy, the beloved village of Włodzimierz Puchalski, the renown biologist, nature photographer of film-maker. The old house where he once lived still exists, and has been turned into a museum.
The parish church still hides somewhere the urn with the heart of king Sigismund August.

Despite the fact that there are no historical buildings in Suraż, it is worth paying a visit to due to its beautiful location, the wonderful view from the castle hill (where Queen Bona's favourite castle once stood) of the Narew river meandering below. The other reason is the social archaeological museum, founded before World War II by the local farmer, Stanisław Litwińczuk. Among the most precious exhibits are the objects dating back 4500 years.

Just 16 kilometres north-east of Białystok, by the river of Supraśl, lies a small town of the same name, surrounded by the deep forests of the Knyszyńska Wilderness. The most interesting relic of Supraśl's architecture is the fortified Orthodox church from 1510. It is surrounded by the buildings of the Basilian monastery, destroyed in the last world war and now the property of an Orthodox monastery of the Annunciation of the Holy Mary. Among the buildings is the palace of the archimandrites erected in the years 1645 - 1652. The palace chapel and the old refectory of the monks are a branch of the Podlaskie Museum in Białystok and is open for tourists. The old mansion of bishop Jaworowski is a place of ethnographic exhibitions organised by the management of the Landscape Park of Knyszyńska Wilderness. All the exhibits come from the forest.


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