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Palace hill (Brincken)

The art of garden establishment in the heart of the primeval forest has a long and rich tradition, as certified by the monumental park establishments in existence today. These magnificent exhibits of the garden art, fragments of parks and zoos, remain of historic buildings, are all the last testimonies of the past of the Bia這wie瘸 Forest and represent magnificent cultural and natural heritage not only for the local but also national society.

Private hunting residence
of the Tsar of Russia

The Palace Park was established after 1895 as an integral part of the private hunting residence of the Tsar of Russia, erected between 1889 and 1894. The park's name i.e. "Palace Park", is closely linked with the most important object in this structure i.e. the Tsar's palace (which burnt in 1944 and was finally demolished in 1962). The palace was accompanied by a number of other buildings.

Tsar's Palace

 

Part of the remaining buildings were erected for the tsar's court and servants: orthodox church, Drivers' House, the Baths, Management House, Groom House, 安icki House, Marshal's House, Hunter's House. The remaining structures had an administrative an industrial character: Cossack stable, arsenal, mill, power plant, barn, garages. This particular hunting residence was surrounded with a more than 50 hectare park.

Kronenberg's Plan

This project was authored by Walerian Kronenberg (1859-1934), at the time one of the most outstanding and fashionable designers of park and garden establishments at the turn of the centuries. He authored also more than 300 large and small parks in the territory of Poland, Lithuania, Russia and the Crimea. In Warsaw, Kronenberg established among the others the area for horse races and Agricola.

 

Marshal's House

Even at the moment when the park was established, its spatial and artistic values were already very high.  The park in Bia這wie瘸 was designed following the English style, also called typically as a landscape style.  This style was established in the 18th century in England, as an expression of the existing trend to awake feelings through contemplation of life in the open. However, the park established this way were not a separated and fenced fragment of a natural environment but rather a well elaborated reflection of its ideal – according to the designer – form.

The park in Bia這wie瘸
was designed following
the English style

The main assumption for landscape parks included avoiding defining any clear borders between elements: thus fences were replaced with a hoarding or a moat. No geometric but only natural forms were used e.g. the tree crowns or bushes were not modelled in any way. Plants were deployed in groups, the so-called flowerbeds (e.g. one tall tree surrounded by several smaller ones), or alone altogether. The artistic expression was achieved through selection of various shades of green or by planting trees with various profiles e.g. with a shape of a pyramid, umbrella or sagging altogether.  Park avenues and paths were established along curves, were not hardened and the locations where individual paths crossed were planted with greenery.

Park avenues and paths
were established along curves

It was established from the very start, though in the project design there are visible author's connections to the former traditions of Bia這wie瘸.  Sight seeing axes were added to the sight seeing layout of the original park, which resembled closely classic royal gardens. The communication structure of the park has the shape of a ring path, characteristic for the landscape parks. Ponds which were created in the 16th century, were enlarged. The collected soil was used to increase the height of the hill.

Plants were deployed
in groups, the so-called
flowerbeds

Vast meadows were given "natural" character, which was maintained until nowadays, which means that they are not fertilized and cut once or at most twice a year. In May and June, it is possible to come across blooming fields of oxeye daisy, meadow clary, spreading bellflower or , eastern salsify, field scabious . In the selection of the plants for the garden composition, one can notice a significant increase of interest in botany and development of the natural sciences, so characteristic for this period.

Cluster distribution plan

The rich variety of the local plant forms was extended by addition of many new species e.g. sagging plants, column trees, adult specimen were also planted. Additionally, numerous foreign species were introduced to this area, originating mainly from the American continent. This was the expression of the taste of the owner of this area as well as the trends existing in the garden art of the times.

The ponds date back
to the 16th century

The resulting composition featured approximately 200 species of trees and shrubs. Stocktaking in the area of the park exhibits changes in the dendroflora; gradually certain planted species and types of plants disappear, while new species migrate to this area and expand their area of coverage. From approximately 200 species of trees and shrubs which were originally planted in the park, only approximately 90 remain today. The most interesting ones include: white pine, northern red oak, paper birch, Canadian hemlock, coast douglas-fir, hickory.

A cluster of oaks is
the remnant of the Saxon
garden established
in the 17th century

A cluster of oaks, located on the hill, is the remnant of the Saxon garden established in the 17th century. The oaks, now more than 250 years old, were planted in the courtyard of the 18th century hunting manor of August the IIIrd. Only 14 oaks remain today, from the total of 21 which were described in 1925. No maintenance can extend the lives of these magnificent and impressive trees, since their time has come to an end. The abundant quantity of acorns collected in 1996 makes it possible to plant their successors.  Between the old oaks, 31 special areas were isolated and planted with young trees. The area was fenced and in the following years, other types of trees and bushes are removed in the following years.

When walking in the park, it is possible to observe birds and animals closely related with humans (tree sparrow, white stork, house martin, eurasian collared dove as well as forest species e.g. chaffinch, old world flycatcher, wood peckers, Eurasian bullfinch, hawfinch, and also wild bores, deer, foxes, raccoon dogs and hares.

The oldest building in Bia這wie瘸,
the former hunting manor,
was constructed in 1845.
Ponds in the
Palace Park
A bird's eye view photo
of the Palace Park
- by Johan Hammar

 

Until today, the Palace Park is one of the most important existing park establishments in Poland, accompanying the Tsar's hunting residence. Apart from historic and natural value, it also has numerous utilitarian values, namely: currently it is only larger and well preserved historic fully functional park in the territory of the southern Podlasie.

Ewa Moroz-Keczy雟ka
BNP Library

 
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