South of the capital of Podlaskie Voivodeship and the Narew River, near the Białowieża Primeval Forest and in the area of the Green Lungs of Poland, Bielsk Podlaski, the fifth largest city in the Podlaskie Voivodeship, has a population of over 25,000.
Despite this fact, many centuries of buildings have been preserved in the city’s landscape.
Bielsk Podlaski connects people of different cultures and religions. Until now, it has remained a city of diversity that coexist and complement each other. Orthodox, Catholic and Protestant parishes operate side by side here, and religious holidays are celebrated on two dates – according to the Julian and Gregorian calendar, which means that you can feel the festive mood in the city for longer.
The city of Bielsk Podlaski, next to Poles, is inhabited by national minorities: Belarusian and Ukrainian, which have the opportunity to cultivate their culture and tradition, present it during local holidays, festivals and cultural events. The place where Polish culture meets the culture of minorities is, among others, the Bielsko Cultural Center, which makes efforts to integrate a rich cultural mosaic, supporting the organization of numerous festivals, concerts and competitions. It is worth coming to Bielsko Podlaski to, among others, the National Children’s and Youth Festival of Carols and Contemporary Pastorales Kantyczka, the International Festival of Songs Podlaska Nuta, which takes place as part of the Days of Bielsko, the International Festival of Music, Art and Folklore Podlaska Oktawa Cultures, The Festival of Belarusian Singing Poetry and Authors’ Songs Bardów Autumn or the Festival of Ukrainian Culture Podlaska Autumn. Museums in Bielsko also contribute to the promotion of regional culture.
Bielsk Podlaski is a city known for its thriving economic sector. Many companies from Bielsko-Biała are realized by building a strong position in Podlasie, but there are also those known in Western Europe, Scandinavia, as well as Russia – Moscow or St. Petersburg. These are mainly house-building factories, construction and road construction companies, food processing plants: milk, meat, fish and commercial networks.
In the era of globalization, tangible benefits are brought by international cooperation. The city has signed partnership agreements with local governments from the European Union and Eastern Europe. For several years, Bielsk has been the initiator of international cooperation in the field of culture, sport and youth exchange – by organizing, among other things, summer recreation or enabling the inhabitants of Bielsko to meet the culture of other nations. It also implements projects with partner cities from EU and national funds, and is one of the few local governments in Poland to implement infrastructure projects for the partner local government under the Eastern Partnership program.
Contemporary Bielsk is an important service and industrial center in the southern part of the Podlaskie Voivodeship. Certainly, it is also a town that boasts many beautiful monuments, rich cultural and religious heritage, which reflects the diversity of rituals, traditions and local customs, as well as a kind of Podlasie hospitality.