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Meet the multicultural Podlasie region. Tatars
The Tatars or Podlasie Muslims are a one-of-a-kind, unique ethnic minority, inscribed in Polish history for hundreds of years. Today, they mainly live in Białystok but their ancestral nests are villages near Sokółka. Bohoniki and Kruszyniany, invariably since 1679, preserve their Asian traditions. Past and present, cuisine, culture and religion – every aspect of Tatar life is colorful and multithreaded. See for yourself how they live: visit two historic mosques and mizars (Muslim cemeteries), taste the kołduny (type of dumplings) and pierekaczewnik, listen to stories about religious practices, traditions and annual holidays. Meet the descendants of the Golden Horde personally. In the pictures you can see only a part of the Podlaskie Orient.
The Podlasie Tatar Trail in two versions
When planning your trip, take into account the fact that the Tatar Trail runs through Białystok – Sokółka – Bohoniki – Krynki – Kruszyniany – Krynki – Supraśl – Białystok and consists of two versions: The green Large Tartar Trail (54 km), situated among the Sokólskie Hills and partly in the Knyszyńska Forest, and the blue Small Tartar Trail (19 km), connecting towns associated with the Tatar settlement in Podlasie.
The most comfortable form of traveling is, of course, a car or a bus. Do not count on public transport, though. I suggest renting a car, hiring a guide with their own car, e.g. me 😉 or a bicycle trip. On the route you will find a lot of attractions and contact with the indescribable nature of Podlasie. On the way you can visit the unique Forest Garden in Poczopek, arboretum in Kopna Góra, the grave of the November insurgents, Orthodox churches in Sokółka and Krynki, the monastery in Supraśl, an amazing museum of icons and many other attractions…
In addition to the Tatar culture, you will come across the Orthodox Church, Belarusian minority, traces of Podlasie Jews and along the way you can also visit the famous Catholic sanctuaries.
I highly recommend you to rent agritourism accommodation in Bohoniki or Kruszyniany contact: http://www.bohoniki.eu/ or http://www.kruszyniany.com.pl/
Wise planning of such a trip requires a little skill and knowledge, so please do not hesitate and e-mail me, contrary to appearances, guide services in Podlasie are within the financial reach of every tourist!
We invite you to Podlasie!
Photos of Podlaskie Tatars from the New York Times – HERE
How the New York Times article was written.
Many thanks to photographers: Ryan Schuessler, Iwona Ejsmund, Dorota Roszak and Sylwia Czarnecka.
Tatarian Gallery – Tatars in the Podlasie region