Bielsk Podlaski

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For other places with the same name, see Bielsk (disambiguation).
Bielsk Podlaski
Basilica
Basilica
Coat of arms of Bielsk Podlaski
Coat of arms
Bielsk Podlaski is located in Poland
Bielsk Podlaski
Bielsk Podlaski
Coordinates: 52°46′N 23°12′E / 52.767°N 23.200°E / 52.767; 23.200Coordinates: 52°46′N 23°12′E / 52.767°N 23.200°E / 52.767; 23.200
Country  Poland
Voivodeship Podlaskie
County Bielsk
Gmina Bielsk Podlaski (urban gmina)
Established 12th century
Town rights 1495
Government
 • Mayor Eugeniusz Berezowiec
Area
 • Total 26.88 km2 (10.38 sq mi)
Population (2007)
 • Total 26,577
 • Density 990/km2 (2,600/sq mi)
Time zone CET (UTC+1)
 • Summer (DST) CEST (UTC+2)
Postal code 17-100 to 17-102
Area code(s) +48 085
Car plates BBI
Website http://www.bielsk-podlaski.pl

Bielsk Podlaski [ˈbʲɛlsk pɔdˈlaskʲi] ( ) is an Urban Gmina (Polish: gmina miejska) (Town) in Bielsk County, Podlaskie Voivodeship. It is located north-eastern Poland.

Geography[edit]

Bielsk Podlaski is located in the geographical region of Europe known as the Wysoczyzny Podlasko – Bialoruskie (English: Podlaskie and Belarus Plateau) and the mezoregion known as the Równinę Bielską (English: Bielsk Plain).

The town covers an area of 32.43 square kilometres (12.5 sq mi).

Location[edit]

It is located approximately:

  • 195 kilometres (121.2 mi) northeast of Warsaw, the capital of Poland
  • 50 kilometres (31.1 mi) southwest of Białystok, the capital of the Podlaskie Voivodeship

History[edit]

Bielsk Podlaski has a long and rich history, dating back to the 12th century, when this area of Poland belonged to Kievan Rus'. The gord of Bielsk was probably founded by Ruthenian dukes, and its existence was first mentioned in 1253, in the so-called Hypatian Codex. In 1273, Bielsk was captured by Lithuanian duke Traidenis, and in the early 14th century, whole province of Podlasie became annexed by the Grand Duchy of Lithuania. The region was subject to Teutonic Knights raids, which took place in 1346 and 1379.

In 1382, Mazovian Duke Janusz I of Warsaw captured Bielsk, Drohiczyn, Suraz and Mielnik, taking advantage of the Lithuanian Civil War (1381–84). Next year, Jogaila pushed the Mazovians out of Bielsko, handing the gord over to Vytautas. In 1390, Jogaila, who had become King of Poland, handed Bielsk, Suraz, Drohiczyn and Mielnik over to Janusz I.

Due to its covenient location along a merchant route from Kraków to Vilnius, Bielsk became an important center of trade and administration. In late November 1412, it was visited by King Jogaila, and 1413, the Land of Drohiczyn, together with Bielsk, became part of Trakai Voivodeship. In 1430, Duke Vytautas named first vogt of Bielsko, a man named Andrzej. A number of Poles from Mazovia begin to settle in Podlasie.

Bielsk received its Magdeburg rights town charter on November 18, 1495, from King Aleksander Jagiellonczyk. In September 1501, a meeting of Lithuanian szlachta took place here. Several Polish rulers visited Bielsk, such as Wladyslaw Jagiello, Aleksander Jagiellonczyk (1505), Zygmunt Stary (1506, 1509), and Zygmunt August (1564). In 1513, Bielsk was named capital of the newly created Podlaskie Voivodeship; by 1563, the town had 830 houses, and was also main center of the Land of Bielsko.

In early summer of 1564, when king Zygmunt August stayed here with Primate Jakub Uchanski, to discuss the new Polish - Lithuanian union (see Union of Lublin), the wooden castle of Bielsk burned to the ground, with the king watching the incident from the stables. New castle for the local starosta was built in Holowiesko, while land court was moved to Bransk.

Following the Union of Lublin (1569), Bielsko was transferred from Grand Duchy of Lithuania into the Kingdom of Poland. The town prospered, with churches, hospital, mills, shops and 265 artisans (as for 1576). Bielsko burned in 1591, and Swedish invasion of Poland brought almost complete destruction (1655).

Following the Partitions of Poland, Bielsk briefly belonged to the Kingdom of Prussia (1795-1807): after the Treaties of Tilsit, it was transferred to the Russian Empire. From 1843, it belonged to the Grodno Governorate. Residents of the area actively participated in both November Uprising and January Uprising. In 1873, Bielsk received rail connection with Brest Litovsk, and in 1915, German troops burned the rail station. Germans retreated from the town in February 1919, and were replaced by Polish Army units. In late July 1920, during the Polish-Soviet War, Bielsk was briefly occupied by the Red Army.

In the Second Polish Republic, Bielsk belonged to Bialystok Voivodeship. During the 1939 Invasion of Poland, the town was captured by the Wehrmacht, which on September 23 handed it over to the Soviets, who remained here until June 23, 1941, forcibly sending thousands to Siberia. In 1941 - 1944, the town was occupied by the Third Reich. Germans murder its Jewish minority, and in a nearby forest kill app. 800 Poles. Bielsk was captured by the Red Army on July 30, 1944.

The Carmelites Church in Bielsk and monastery was founded in 1641 by Adam Kazanowski (Starost of Bielsk from 1638) and dedicated to the Mother of God of Mount Carmel. The project was also financed by his wife Elżbieta (Halszka) Słuszczanka (about 1619-1671).

Bielsk Podlaski has a rich Jewish history which was wiped out in the Holocaust. More information can be found at Bielsk Podlaski JewishGen including the full text of the English section of the Bielsk Podlaski Memorial Book and documents of the organization of US immigrants from Bielsk Podlaski called The Bielsker Bruderlicher Unterstitzungs Verein. [1]

Demographics[edit]

Detailed data as of 31 December 2007:[1]

  Total Women Men
Unit Number  % Number  % Number  %
Population 26,577 100 13,775 51.8 12,802 48.2
Population Density
(persons/km²)
988.0 512.1 475.9

Municipal Government[edit]

Bielsk Podlaski (Town) in Bielsk County

It is the seat of Gmina Bielsk Podlaski, but is not part of Gmina Bielsk Podlaski.

Executive Branch[edit]

The chief executive of the government is the Mayor (Polish: Burmistrz).

Legislative Branch[edit]

The legislative portion of the government is the Council (Polish: Rada) composed of the President (Polish: Przewodniczący), the Vice President (Polish: Wiceprzewodniczący) and thirteen councilors.

Neighbouring Political Subdivisions[edit]

Bielsk Podlaski (town) is bordered by Gmina Bielsk Podlaski.

Climate[edit]

The region has a continental climate which is characterized by high temperatures during summer and long and frosty winters. The average amount of rainfall during the year exceeds 550 millimetres (21.7 in).

Climate data for Bielsk Podlaski
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Average high °C (°F) −3
(29)
−3
(31)
4
(40)
11
(52)
17
(63)
20
(68)
21
(70)
21
(70)
16
(61)
11
(51)
4
(39)
1
(33)
11
(51)
Average low °C (°F) −6
(21)
−6
(21)
−2
(28)
2
(35)
7
(45)
10
(50)
12
(54)
11
(52)
8
(46)
4
(39)
0
(32)
−4
(25)
3
(37)
Source: Weatherbase[2]

Transport[edit]

Roads and Highways[edit]

Bielsk Podlaski is at the intersection of two National Road and a Voivodeship Road:

International relations[edit]

Twin towns — sister cities[edit]

Bielsk Podlaski is twinned with:

People from Bielsk Podlaski[edit]

Photo gallery[edit]

References[edit]