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Białystok

Administration
Full nameBiałystok
CountryPoland
VoivodeshipPodlaskie
Countycity county
Established1437
Town rights1692
Government
City presidentTadeusz Truskolaski
Geography
Total Area39.4 sq mi (102.12 km2)
Highest Elevation524.9 ft (160 m)
Lowest Elevation393.7 ft (120 m)
Demography
Total Population294399 (2009)
Density (pop.)auto/km2 (0/sq mi)
Metro (pop.)370000
Other information
Time zoneCET (UTC+1)
- Summer (DST)CEST (UTC+2)
Postal code15-001
Area code+48 85
Car platesBI

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Białystok (c-plAUDPl-Białystok is the largest city in northeastern Poland and the capital of the Podlaskie Voivodeship. Located on the Podlaskie Plain on the banks of the Biała River, Białystok ranks second in terms of population density, eleventh in population, and thirteenth in area, of the cities of Poland. It has historically attracted migrants from elsewhere in Poland and beyond, particularly from Central and Eastern Europe. This is facilitated by the fact that the nearby border with Belarus is also the eastern border of the European Union, as well as the Schengen Area. The city and its adjacent municipalities constitute Metropolitan Białystok. The city has a Warm Summer Continental climate, characterized by warm summers and long frosty winters. Forests are an important part of Białystok's character, and occupy around 1,756 ha (4,340 acres) (17.2% of the administrative area of the city) which places it as the fifth most "wooded" city in Poland.

The city charter dates back to 1692, but settlement activity in the area dates back to the 14th century. Białystok has traditionally been one of the leading centers of academic, cultural, and artistic life in Podlaskie and the most important economic center in northeastern Poland. In the nineteenth century Białystok was an important center for light industry which was the reason for the substantial growth of the city's population. However, after the fall of communism in 1989 many of these factories faced severe problems and subsequently closed down. Through the infusion of EU investment funds, the city continues to work to reshape itself into a modern metropolis. Białystok in 2010, was on the short-list, but ultimately lost the competition to become a finalist for European Capital of Culture in 2016. Over the centuries Białystok has produced a number of people who have provided unique contributions to the fields of science, language, politics, religion, sports, visual arts and performing arts. This environment was created in the mid-eighteenth century by the patronage of Jan Klemens Branicki for the arts and sciences. These include Ryszard Kaczorowski the last émigré President of the Republic of Poland, L. L. Zamenhof the creator of Esperanto and Albert Sabin the co-developer of the polio vaccine.


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