Old Bialystok, bearing witness to its rich multicultural past, is more and more yielding room to rapid and slightly chaotic growth and modernization. It is a great pity that it is happening at the expense of old wooden and picturesque houses with twofold roofs, fabulous gardens, 19th century brick rent buildings and old, narrow and cobblestones streets. I do not mind growth and modernization. Bialystok (town in northeastern Poland) especially needs a modern arcihtecture, numerous innovative investments, new roads, airport, but municipality should thoroughly think over the vision of the town. Local officials ought to define the real identity of the town referring to its multicultural history. It is easy to build the town without the spirit, where there are no ideas uniting its inhabitants. In fact, no connection exists between Bialystok from the times before the World War II and contemporary Bialystok.
I heard a story about a Jewish woman who was born in Bialystok in 1920s or 1930s, who came here in the second half of 1990s and stated that she did not recognize her native town. In her opinion the old and present Bialystok were two different worlds.
Unfortunately many its inhabitants do not even know its rich history. Town without its history, inhabitants without consciousness of their native town’s history probably won’t be proud of living here. They won’t know that their town’s face was shaped by Poels, Jews, Germans, Russians, Belarussians. There is a deep necessitiy to refer to its roots.
Bialystok was significantly destroyed during the World War II. Presently we do not have many monuments witnessing its rich history. Those ones which survived do not appear to be especially spectacular and stunning, but they still retian spirit of the past and they are worth preserving.
I think that there is a possibility to save relics of the past and develop the modern architecture without destroying the old and apparently unspectacular buildings, streets or gardens of the town, where before the World War II several nations lived in relative peace. These places still hold the atmosphere of old times and are capable of arousing imagination.
Below there are presented pictures taken about one month ago, they depict old cosy houses, lush gardens which one day may just disappear…