The most spectacular and expansive visit from turkey diplomat in 1755
It was a common tradition that before Turkish representative would have the first audience with the king he would have to officially visit Great Crown Hetman. Part of hetman responsibilities was to appoint osculation and military squad and to take care of the delegation’s spending and needs in the country. The spending would later be partially cowered from Treasury. Usually their stay would last for at least few months, often extended extensively. Both sides tried to limit number of guests and the travel time but it just didn’t work. It was contrary to delegate interests who was often well rewarded and heavily gifted during visits.
The visit of the representative of Sublime Porte in Białystok was a great event and widely described and commented.
Delegacy travelled at first 48 days to Dubno then to Białystok (through Brody, Zamość, Lublin, Bielsk) to hetman’s main residence where it stayed for 17 days. Then it went to Wschowa to meeting with Augustus III, which took place 22 May 1755 at specially convened Senate council. On the way delegates stopped by in capital city of Warsaw in Branicki’s palace at Podwale.
General costs for Branicki due to delegations spending were enormous, it was over 57 500 polish zlotys. Most of the costs were spent on countless gifts for representative, his servants and sultan. Mostly on golden and silver jewellery (snuffboxes, watches, rings), above that a “Parisian fusion twin-tube with pistols”, clothes and materials (velvet and cloth robes, satin zupans, sajet, French cloth) were given. Sultan was sent dogs as a gift (12 mastiffs especially valued by Turks) and even “a furnace from Białystok’s factory on heavily gilded pedestal” (sent in 1757).
In relation to this visit Hetman ordered to redecorate his palace in Warsaw by Podwale Street where the guests were to stay. That also could not be cheap. Generous and lavishly taking in Turkish diplomats Hetman probably had his own agenda.
Medical University of Białystok since 1950 is the owner of Branicki residence. Palace is the main seat of Białystok University, which performs systematic renovation-preservation works intending to return the residence to its XVIII-century glory.