Part of the urban area, Białystok
Narodowy Instytut Dziedzictwa pl
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The spatial design of the city of Białystok, centred around a magnate’s residence forming an inseparable whole with the urban area that surrounds it, is an excellent example of the practical application of a popular 18th-century urban planning trend. The Branicki noble family, who initiated the entire project, ensured the involvement of the most eminent architects of their time: Tylman van Gameren, Jan Zygmunt Deybel, Jan Henryk Klemm and Józef Sękowski. The resulting urban complex presents an exceptional historical and artistic value, making it a landmark of national importance.

History

Initially, the town of Białystok was located at the intersection of two local roads and featured two major landmarks: the church (with the current, brick church dating back to 1626), accompanied by a market square, as well as the Gothic castle of the Wiesiołowski noble family, the erstwhile owners of the town. The current layout of the market square is the result of the urban project implemented by two members of the Branicki noble family - Stefan Mikołaj and his son, Jan Klemens. The entire project, aimed at remodelling the layout of the town of Białystok, was initiated by Stefan Mikołaj Branicki towards the end of the 17th century and in the early 18th century. It was he who established the so-called New Market Square (which today forms part of the existing market square with the town hall, positioned on the western side of Sienkiewicza street). The route leading towards Suraż was moved to a new location, becoming a straight, purposefully designed road section ending at the southern corner of the market square and forming a new view corridor in the process. This design decision made it possible for new buildings to be erected so that the old part of the settlement with its Jewish district would no longer be visible. A second view corridor was created by moving the former route leading towards Choroszcz to the northern corner of the market square, thereby forming the new Choroska street, known today as Lipowa street. Jan Klemens Branicki continued the work started by his father, erecting a new town hall in the market square, compositionally linked to the nearby church. The old, 16th-century residence of the Wiesiołowski family was replaced with a palace and garden complex centred around a monumental, opulent palace. The main idea was to create an ensemble of buildings around the market square and alongside the Choroska, Suraska, Wasilkowska and Zamkowa street which would be characterised by a consistent design theme, performing a representational function and blocking the view of old, dilapidating wooden structures beyond. Each of the new houses therefore featured a similar outline, form and layout; the buildings erected at the corners of the main market square and the streets leading up to it were much grander and larger than the rest. A convent of the Sisters of Mercy, designed to form part of the southern frontage, was erected opposite the church; a new infirmary was built also in the vicinity of the convent.

Description

The historical urban complex, dating back to the Baroque period, was shaped in the 18th century and encompasses the triangular market square with the town hall in the middle. East of the town hall lies an important local landmark in the form of an ecclesiastical complex consisting of a 17th-century church adjoined by a monumental, Gothic Revival basilica from the early 20th century. The representational Lipowa street leading off from the market square towards the west and running alongside the Classicist tserkva of St Nicholas, erected in the mid-19th century, ends with the St Roch Hill which, back in the times when the Branicki family owned the town and the surrounding lands, had been the site of a chapel, subsequently replaced by the church designed by Oskar Sosnowski, forming an outstanding example of modernist architecture. A view corridor leads from the St Roch Hill towards St Mary Magdalene Hill, where the tserkva of St Mary Magdalene is located, dating back to the 18th century, with subsequent alteration works being made during the 19th century. A Baroque palace and garden complex lies south of the market square and the parish church. Apart from the aforementioned Lipowa street, the Baroque urban complex also encompasses the Warszawska street, where a number of historical houses from the 19th and early 20th century have survived, as well as the former Evangelical church of St Adalbert, designed in the Romanesque Revival style and currently serving as a Catholic church.

The site is open to visitors.

compiled by Grażyna Rogala, Regional Branch of the National Heritage Board of Poland in Białystok, 23-12-2014.

Bibliography

  • Dolistowska M., W poszukiwaniu tożsamości miasta. Architektura i urbanistyka Białegostoku w latach 1795-1939, Białystok 2009, pp. 15-260.
  • Oleńska A., Jan Klemens Branicki „Sarmata Nowoczesny”. Kreowanie wizerunku poprzez sztukę, Warszawa 2011, pp. 209-252.
  • Sztachelska-Kokoczka A., Białystok za pałacową bramą, Białystok 2009, pp. 54-107.
  • Trzebiński W., Działalność urbanistyczna magnatów i szlachty w Polsce XVIII wieku, Warsaw 1962, pp. 110-117.
  • Wróbel W., Działalność Stefana Mikołaja Branickiego herbu Gryf w Białymstoku w latach 1689-1709, “Biuletyn Konserwatorski Województwa Podlaskiego”, issue 14, 2008, pp. 40-80.

General information

  • Type: spatial layout
  • Chronology: XVIII w.
  • Form of protection: register of monuments
  • Address: Białystok
  • Location: Voivodeship podlaskie, district Białystok, commune Białystok
  • Source: National Heritage Board of Poland

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