Hajnówka and surroundings

 

Hajnówka is the largest town situated on the verge of the Białowieża Forest. The town owes its name of ’’The Gate to the Forest” to its location. All the main roads from Warsaw, Lublin and Bialystok intersect here and go further directly to Białowieża. Hajnówka also has a train connection with Warsaw.

Turbulent history of Hajnówka associated with the pre-war development of timber industry and the influx of people from various parts of the country had big influence on local culture and mentality, combining attachment to the local tradition and hospitality towards visitors.

Today, the town has several cultural institutions, presenting a rich mosaic of ethnic and religious diversity of the region. In Hajnówka there are also historical monuments and a few Christian temples : three Orthodox and three Catholic churches as well as other confessions’ houses of prayer.

Hajnówka, in the past a vibrant center of timber industry, today is transforming into a tourist friendly town, offering to its visitors a rich calendar of interesting events. During the summer, at weekends,  the municipal park with its amphitheater gathers crowds at various concerts, happenings and displays.

 

The town is a perfect starting place to visit the forest as well as its surroundings. Although the best-known forest attractions are closer to the Bialowieża, people looking for less frequented trails and wild forest trekking certainly will not be disappointed.

Close to Hajnówka you will find a picturesque valley of Leśna river with its numerous nature reserves. Attraction of the region is the forest narrow-railway that goes to the village Topiło,  beautifully situated by the forest lake.

 

Orzeszkowo

It is a big village on the verge of the forest and surrounded by picturesque meadows. The first mention of Orzeszkowo comes from the 17th century. In the village there is a wooden Orthodox church with a cemetery. Not far from the church, on the opposite side of the road, there is a tiny railway station on Warszawa – Hajnówka route. From the main road from Hajnówka a field well with a typical well pole can be admired. 

Łozice and Długi Bród

These small, peaceful villages with traditional wooden houses are located by the forest. Both of them overlook beautiful meadows rimmed by the line of trees. Entering Łozice, it is worth to pay attention to an old stork nest among branches of an ancient elm.

Topiło

It is a forest village by a charming water reservoir on Perebel River. In the past the reservoir served purposes connected with local wood industry, now it is getting more and more wild and has the air of a natural lake. Topiło is the last stop on the narrow-railway train that leaves from Hajnówka and goes through the forest. It is also a much-liked destination for cyclists. The route from Hajnówka leads along the narrow-railway tracks and over a little bridge on Leśna River with a beautiful panorama of the river’s valley. From Białowieża bike and walking routes cross interesting reserves of Podcerkwa, Berezowo, Olszanka-Myśliszcze (a perfect viewpoint on Leśna River) and Michnówka. Having reached Topiło, it is wonderful to have some rest in the sun on a little wooden mall and enjoy wildlife. The site is also popular with anglers.

poranek Topiło

Not far from the narrow-railway route there is an already dead oak, called Car Dąb (Tsar Oak), of imposing size. This over 500-year-old tree is most probably the oldest oak in the forest. It is worth to know that in Belarusian culture the name of Tsar Oak was given to the most enormous oak specimens.

Nowoberezowo

This big village dates back to the 16th century. In the village there are two Orthodox churches: a wooden one from the 18th and a brick one from the 19th century. In Nowoberezowo there are also two 19th-century Orthodox chapels – by the road from Hajnówka and by the one leading to Czyżyki. It is also a place where some nice examples of traditional wooden architecture can still be seen, as well as a small open air museum.

chata2

Stary Kornin

The village is known to have existed already in the 16th century. In the 17th century a wonderworking icon of Virgin Mary is said to have appeared here. Numerous examples of healings made Stary Kornin a local pilgrimage centre. In 1915 the icon was taken by the villagers to Russia and the trace of it was lost. In the village, next to each other, there are two wooden Orthodox churches – of Archangel Michael from the 19th century and of St. Anne from the 18th century. Merged into peaceful rural landscape they are very picturesque. For those who would like to see and experience the atmosphere of a typical regional parish feast, it might be interesting to come to Stary Kornin on the feast of St. Anne on August 7, which is one of the most famous regional festivities.

Dubicze Cerkiewne

The village was already mentioned in documents from 1553. There is an Orthodox church in the village and, to the west, a cemetery with examples of colourful clover-shaped crosses that were typical of graves in the past. In the vicinity of Dubicze Cerkiewne there is a water reservoir, which is a popular recreation site. Each year in June Noc Kupały (St. John’s Night) takes place here with concerts and bonfires.

Szostakowo, Czyżyki, Trywieża

In these villages, stretching among fields and meadows, some interesting examples of traditional wooden architecture can still be seen. Apart from newer houses there are quite a few old ones with colourful shutters as well as window and gable ornaments. Nearby open spaces are good sites for watching birds on their migrations. It is also worth setting off in this direction by bike in order to experience the rhythm of country life and nature better.

Czyżyki

Dubiny

It is an old village created as a forest guards’s settlement. Nowadays its buildings border on the last houses in Hajnówka, yet, Dubiny is much older that the latter. By the road to Hajnówka there is a 19th-century brick Orthodox church. On the outskirts of the village, invisible form the main road, there is also a 19th-century chapel and a cemetery where people from Hajnówka were first buried. In the vicinity of Dubiny, though not every year, bee-eaters can be observed.

Przybudki

By the gravel road on the outskirts of the village grows an exceptionally spectacular oak, one of the most imposing and fairy-tale-like ones in the area.

 


Europejski Fundusz Rolny na rzecz Rozwoju Obszarów Wiejskich. Europa inwestująca w obszary wiejskie. Projekt współfinansowany ze środków Unii Europejskiej w ramach osi 4 Leader. Program Rozwoju Obszarów Wiejskich na lata 2007-2013. Projekt zrealizowany przez Stowarzyszenie Metamorphosis. Instytucja zarządzająca Programem Rozwoju Obszarów Wiejskich na lata 2007-13 Minister Rolnictwa i Rozwoju Wsi