The Branicki Palace is a historic palace in Białystok. The Palace is one of the best-preserved magnate residences of the Saxon period in the former Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth in late Baroque style. It is also known as “Versailles of Podlasie”, “Versailles of the North”, and “Polish Versailles”. The origins of the palace go back to the 16th century.
The history of the Branicki Palace is very interesting. Originally, in the 16th century, the palace was a defensive castle built by the Wiesiołowscy family – the owners of Białystok at that time. The greatest bloom of the palace and gardens surrounding the residence fell during the reign of the Branicki family in Białystok.
Stefan Mikołaj Branicki began rebuilding the castle into a Baroque palace in the 1790s. His son, Jan Klemens Branicki, continued to develop the residence for another fifty years. During this time as well as the palace, the beautiful gardens around it, and the city of Białystok itself acquired such a beautiful character that the place was hailed as the Versailles of Poland. After the death of Jan Klemens Branicki, the palace was sold. During the partitions, it was a summer residence of the Tsars.
The Branicki Palace and Park Complex consist of the Great Gate, Palace courtyards, the Branicki Palace, the Museum of the History of Medicine and Pharmacy, and Upper and Lower Gardens.
The Great Gate leading into the palace and park area is very impressive and allows us to assume that what lies behind it, will delight us as much as the gate itself. On its top, there is a golden Griffin, which is a symbol of the Branicki family.
Palace courtyards consist of two parts: introductory and parade (honorary). The introductory part is located just behind the Great Gate, while the parade courtyard is located in front of the palace and is surrounded on three sides by buildings: in front of the Palace, on the right the Museum of the History of Medicine and Pharmacy, and on the left the Great Hall.
The Branicki Palace is currently the seat of the Medical University authorities. However, the interiors have retained the palace’s Baroque style, and the rooms contain original stucco work and fireplace panels with the Branickis’ coats of arms.
The Museum of the History of Medicine and Pharmacy is located in the right wing of the Branicki Palace and has been operating since 2003.
Upper and Lower Gardens are divided into two parts. This division was created at the end of the 17th century and is still visible today. The upper part of the garden has the shape of a regular quadrangle and is directly adjacent to the palace. It is a French garden characterized by numerous fountains and flower beds. The lower garden, so the English part of the park is slightly different – gazebos, pavilions, promenades, boulevards decorated with monuments, statues, and ponds.