Water tower, currently serving as a hotel, Białowieża
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Water tower, currently serving as a hotel

Białowieża

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The water tower is one of the few well-preserved structures of this type in the Podlaskie province. The water tower forms part of the Białowieża Towarowa (Białowieża-Freight) railway station complex, erected to serve the needs of the now-vanished tsar’s palace in Białowieża. Its architecture is clearly reminiscent of other Imperial Russian railway buildings that were erected across the region at the end of the 19th century and in the early 20th century. Today, it remains a valuable industrial monument dating back to the early days when rail transport was only just beginning to make inroads into the region.

History

The water tower was built in 1903 or thereabouts; it forms part of the Białowieża Towarowa freight railway station designed as an auxiliary facility intended to support the operations of the now-defunct Białowieża-Palace station, erected in 1897. The railway station was also intended to cater to the needs of the now-vanished Imperial residence. In the 1990s, the railway line was finally closed down, with both the water tower and the surrounding buildings slowly succumbing to decay. In 2003, the historical complex (including the water tower) was sold to private individuals, who have conducted a comprehensive restoration of the buildings. Today, the former railway station serves as the Imperial Restaurant, with the water tower having been converted to serve residential purposes. The apartments within the structure are available for rental.

Description

The former water tower forms part of the complex of railway buildings known as the Białowieża Towarowa railway station, located about 2 kilometres to the south-west from the centre of the village. The tower itself is positioned about 90 metres east of the railway station. The structure was designed on an octagonal floor plan; it is a three-storey building, its third storey being wider than the lower two. The water tower is covered with a multi-pitched roof surmounted by a decorative pinnacle. It is a masonry structure made of yellow brick, its foundations made of stone and bound using mortar. The roof is clad with sheet metal. The individual storeys are separated by brick cornices. The entrance door topped with a flattened arch and covered by a metal rooflet is positioned on the ground-floor level of the structure. The entire tower is entwined by an outdoor metal staircase leading up to the third storey. Back in the 1980s, the tower still contained its original fixtures and fittings, including a steel water tank positioned between the first- and second-floor level, connected to the heating apparatus using a system of inflow and outflow pipes. A steel coal furnace manufactured by a company known as “J. John”, based in Łódź, was positioned beneath the tank, its task being to prevent the water within from freezing when the outside temperature dropped below zero. Today, the tower contains luxurious guest apartments.

The building can be viewed from the outside.

compiled by Grzegorz Ryżewski, Regional Branch of the National Heritage Board of Poland in Białystok, 20-10-2014.

Bibliography

  • Ryżewski G., Zabytki techniki, [in:] Perły architektury województwa podlaskiego, Białystok-Bydgoszcz 2010, pp. 107, 112.
  • Stankiewicz D., Dworzec kolejowy w Białowieży Towarowej laureatem konkursu Generalnego Konserwatora Zabytków, “Biuletyn Konserwatorski Województwa Podlaskiego, issue 11, 2005, pp. 229-240.
  • Bajko P., Z historii linii kolejowej Hajnówka-Białowieża, “Białostocczyzna”, no. 1, 1988, pp. 13-15.
  • Record sheet, Białowieża. Wieża wodna w zespole PKP Białowieża - Towarowa, compiled by M., H., Grabski, Białystok 1987, Archive of the Regional Monuments Protection Office in Białystok.

General information

  • Type: industrial architecture
  • Chronology: pocz. XX w.
  • Form of protection: register of monuments
  • Address: Białowieża
  • Location: Voivodeship podlaskie, district hajnowski, commune Białowieża
  • Source: National Heritage Board of Poland

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