The legend of Białystok’s creation
The legend of Białystok’s creation is connected to Biała river and a Lithuanian character of prince Diedymin, who ruled Lithuania in 1316-1341. If the legend is to be believed, the settlement in place of current city was created in 1320. Duke Giedymin is for Lithuanians a very important historic character, believed to be the founder of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania’s power. Giedymin is a grandfather of later king of Poland Władysław Jagiełło. To stay on topic, what has Gedymin to do with our city, the legend says:
One day Duke Gedymin of Lithuania during his hunt in Bielski Forest run after a aurochs or a deer far to north-eastern border, close to Mazovia. It was already evening when he finally caught his pray by Unnamed brook. The closest city of Suraż was far away and this uninhabited area didn’t even have a hunting lodge that were popular at that time. Dukes used to build those on the grounds they liked hunting on. Not surprisingly as the grounds were a new to Lithuania, yet the lords demanded to keep them forever. The duke was not sure if they would not go back into Mazovian hands, thus he spent the night in provisional tent. The workers started to work lively and soon prince’s tent stood on one of the hills. While the riflemen were cutting the prey, duke rested upon the brook. It was quite rapid and contrary to most other rivers and brooks in area – unbelievably clean. Most likely because the bottom was of sand and the brook was not surrounded by moor.
“Clean, white hill” said the duke – great place for a hunting lodge. The will of the duke had been done. Soon after a residence by the brook was built with a settlement built around it called Biały Stok (White Hillside).
This is what the legend says, there are no proofs however from that time or any written documents. In written sources the name Białystok shows up only in 1514, that doesn’t mean that those regions were uninhabited earlier. A proof to that are Neolithic stone age findings around city.