Oct 09

Białowieża Forest (Padurea Bialowiza)

The Bialowieza Forest is located at the borderline between Belarus and Poland. The forest is actually the sole remaining portion from the vast forest that used to spread over the European Plain.

This article will solely look into the section of the Bialowieza Forest which is located in Belarus and which can be found at just 70 km north of the Belarusian town, Brest.  This is a natural biosphere which expands over more than 1,500 square kilometers, but the area the National Park consists of and which has been recognized as a World Heritage Site stretches over 876 square kilometers.


The natural reserve also comprises different types of facilities designated for the supervision and reproduction of animal life , as well as a zoo in which various species have found their home. This community consists of wisents, wild horses, wild boars, etc. While some of these animals have been reared inside the park, there are others which have their roots in these forests. The area has been once especially arranged so as to boost tourism and attract visitors to the area. Thus a restaurant was constructed, a small museum, and even accommodation facilities. But these were mainly built during the Soviet regime and the passage of time and lack of maintenance services had led to the deprecation of these facilities. The result was and is that not many venture into this part of the country and thus the area is not visited as it ought to be, especially since it seems a piece of heaven.


The Bialowieza Forest has a vast history. While the woodland was initially explored solely along the banks of streams, this later changed as several bridges and roads were constructed so as to ease traveling inside the forest.

The first legal document in which the forest is mentioned as a protected area goes back to the 16th century (1538), when King Sigismund I the Old issued a decree according to which anyone hunting wisents in the forest was sentenced to death.   The administration of the forests was bestowed on peasants who were acquitted of paying taxes in exchange of their commitment to taking care of the forest.


In 1992, the area became a part of the World Heritage List and it became widely recognized as a natural biosphere, protected under the UNESCO Program.

The part of the Bialowieza Forest which is located in Belarus has turned into an important tourist attraction mainly because an additional facility was constructed, the New Year Museum.

The beauty of the forest is striking as the woodland comprises a considerable number of ancient oak trees. Some of these grand trees are individually named due to their impressive characteristics. Their height and circumferences are colossal making the beholders see themselves as small and insignificant in front of the grandeur of these exquisite examples of nature.


For example, the Great Mamamuszi is among the thickest oak trees in the forest, its circumference reaching almost 7m. From all the ancient oak trees that exist in this part of the forest, this is the most relevant example, mainly because it is in the best condition possible, whereas the others show signs of decay. For instance, there is one such tree whose branches are no longer covered with leaves, while another misses its bark. But the rest of them are still standing proudly, and have reigned over the forest for 450 years – this is the age they are estimated to hold.

Sep 14

Kiskunsag National Park (Parcul National Kiskunsag)

It is of utmost importance to preserve intact the scare regions which have managed to maintain their naturelness in this time of urbanism and development which seems to engulf every remnant of wildlife that it runs across.

Hungary is home to ten national park, and Kiskunsag is one of them. This specific national park is situated in Bacs-Kiskun County and it has been created back in 1975. The total area it comprises within its borders is of 570 square kilometers. The park is not a unified component, so to speak, but it encompasses 7 distinct parts, each characterized by specific traits but which, brought together, capture the essence of the Hungarian natural environment.


One of the disconnected units is the Kiskunsag’s Puszta where, on a yearly basis, several events are organized with the purpose of revitalizing the ancient customs and traditions of the countryside.

Another part of the Kiskunsag National Park consists of Lake Kolon which is located in close proximity of the city Izsak. This region is an important ecosystem as it provides shelter to marsh tortois and herons. In terms of plant life, Lake Kolon is renown for the vast space covered with intact reeds and the 9 different species of orchids located in the surrounding area.


Kiskunsag National Park has been named a monument of nature and has become a part of the natural heritages of the world, under the program designed especially for this purpose by UNESCO. The unique examples of flora and fauna encountered here are the ones to convey such a special value to this specific park. Species of avocets, geese, and black-winded stilts have made the park their home.

Besides the permanent ‘dwellers’ of the park, there are also migratory birds which come by the tens of thousands to the area. With such an impressive population of birds it is no wonder that the park has been declared a biosphere reserve. Besides getting to see these beautiful species in their natural habitat, tourists also have the opportunity to find the perfect places where to experience nature to the fullest and this refers to discovering an idyllical location to set their tent and spend some time into the wild.


Even if the park has maintained its wilderness, this does not mean that there are no paths or delimitations set so as to help tourists guide themselves while venturing inside the park. These are aimed at creating the best experience for those interested in exploring Kiskunsag National Park. After visiting this park, you are bound to understand why the place bears the name of ‘House of Nature.’