Wooden Architecture in Podlachia. Kuriany Białowieża route
If we want to feel the spirit of old times and know the region’s culture you only need to look closely through your car window on your way to Białowieża Forest. The beauty of wooden architecture of houses in villages and small towns is astonishing. On the way we can see part of the “Land of open Shutters” going through Trześcianka village. The route of this trail was supposed to get tourist’s attention on rich woodcarvings on wooden buildings and the parts such as: shutters, drips, windowsill, wind braces and corners, it is the only trail of this kind in the country. Additionally we can see the elements sometimes painted with many colours and interesting ornaments. Many places will draw our attention to beautiful wooden orthodox churches, also richly decorated with woodcarvings and painted blue. Blue colour is a symbol of Heavenly Kingdom and the colour of Holy Virgin Mary.
We bring your attention to those details and buildings since we firmly believe that this atmosphere cannot be found anywhere else. We will try to prove that Podlachia is a region, which is worthy of your visit and stay. People often ignore those elements when on the way to Białowieża forest.
In the last two decades, Polish landscape suddenly lost a lot of wooden buildings with lath or shingles roof. Until now traditional architecture survived only in rudimentary form and its resources shrink with every passing year. Almost entirely disappeared windmills, mills, forges and inns, which used to be an inherent part of podlaskie architecture. Those parts of traditional polish architecture while disappearing from polish landscape, survived here in Podlachia. This region offers building still in use, alive and natural not the one offered in forecastles.
The growth of traditional polish architecture happened in XIX century and were influenced by socio-economic changes that’s why most of the surviving buildings comes from this period. The regulations of grounds from that time disturbed the landscape of serfdom villages. Next to the compact villages, the others with more loose structure appeared.
Homesteads built at that time were already bigger than the ones used by serfdom peasants, more functional, adjusted to new methods of farming and higher life standards. Differences in regions of Poland developed. The main material in polish village was wood. When speaking about traditional polish architecture we usually mean those made of wood, forgetting those made of clay, bricks and stone. The value of those materials has only risen in after affrachisement rebuild of Podlaskie villages.
It is a magical world, which is slowly fading into oblivion, where the time seems to have stopped, or did it? Perhaps the pace of life here was always the same and it is only us – used to fast pace of life – that it seems so.