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Photographer's Note

Branicki Palace in Białystok, the "Versailles of Podlachia," was built for Count Jan Klemens Branicki, Great Crown Hetman and patron of art and science, raised in the French milieu of the Polish aristocracy, who transformed a previous house (by Tielman van Gameren) into the suitably magnificent residence of a great Polish noble, a rival to Wilanow, making a start in 1726. He also laid out the central part of the town of Bialystok, not a large place in the 18th century, with its triangular market.
With the first Partition of Poland it went to the Prussian Kingdom and, after 1807, to Russia. In the summer of 1920, briefly, the palace was the headquarters of the Provisional Polish Revolutionary Committee. Branicki Palace was destroyed by the Nazis. The Poles rebuilt it after World War II as a matter of national pride. The Medical University is housed in the Palace.A straight avenue centered on the palace passes across the river on a three-arched bridge across the river, which is confined with deep stone embankment walling, to the large enclosed paved forecourt. The central block has two storeys upon a high arcaded basement story, with a pedimented central block displaying Branicki's coat-of-arms and end pavilions that have squared domes in two tiers (illustration, right). The roofline is an Italianate balustrade that masks a low attic story, and the heroic sculptural group of Atlas crowning all.

Surrounding the Palace are the grounds. The garden front has a terrace raised on columns, which forms a podium for viewing the parterre in the French taste with a main central allée and French sphinxes, and a later "English garden," in the naturalistic taste associated with the English park, surrounding the grounds. The central axis continues to a guest pavilion. Other outbuildings include the Arsenal (1755), Orangery and Italian and Tuscan Pavilions.

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Additional Photos by Pawel Chmur (cloud) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Workshop Editor/Silver Note Writer [C: 54 W: 96 N: 33] (766)
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