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An update from Evaneos

Hajnówka (Poland)

Practical information about Hajnówka

  • Nature Reserve / Wildlife Observation / Safari
  • Hiking / Trekking
  • Place or Religious Monument
  • Festivals
  • Music
  • Off the beaten track
4 / 5 - One review
How to get there
One hour from Białystok by car
When to go
All year round, but visit in May if planning to attend the festival
Minimum stay
1 to 2 days

Reviews of Hajnówka

Nicolas Landru Travel writer
117 travel articles

Lying at the heart of the great forests of Eastern Poland and at the gateway to Białowieża National Park, where European bison still roam, Hajnówka is the cultural centre of Belarussian Poland. Its international festival of Orthodox music is a major event of its kind.

My suggestion:
Visit when the festival is taking place in mid-May. It's an incredible cultural event bringing together not only liturgical musicians but also people and traditions from the various different countries where Orthodox cultures are to be found: Belarussians, Russians, Ukrainians, Bulgarians, Romanians, Georgians, Greeks …

Personally speaking, I absolutely adored Hajnówka and the whole region around it. Lying at the gateway to one of the last remaining portions of Eastern Europe's great primeval forest, which today enjoys protected status as Białowieża National Park, and traditional in character, with its minority Belarussian culture, its wooden houses and its majestic Orthodox church: say hello to the genuinely exotic and out-of-the-ordinary! Hajnówka encapsulates many of the stereotypical, cliched aspects people have about Eastern Europe.

Standing at the gateway to the forest, Hajnówka gives the impression of being a sort of eastern cousin to the towns of the far west regions. It's true to say that apart from the the large modern church, decorated with all its frescos and which acts as the focal point for the religious fervour of the whole Orthodox community here, there isn't really that much of interest to see in the town. However, what there is at Hajnówka is that indefinable atmosphere and ambiance you get in towns located right out at the very edge of a place, forming a border between two different cultural worlds. This is something that is palpable everywhere here, and I found it fascinating. And then there's the superb national park, which begins on the outskirts of the town and is therefore easy to get to: a world of wild forests, wooden lumberjacks' houses, and home to deer, elk and bison.

Street in Hajnówka