The largest city in North-East Poland, Bialystok is also one of the most populous cities in the country. It has historically been an extremely popular destination for expats, with cultures from many parts of the world influencing the modern city. With its name literally translated as ‘White Slope’, the city is a gateway to the area known as the Green Lungs of Poland, which includes many large national parks – indeed 17.2% of the administrative area of the city is forested. A major attraction in the area that expatriates in Bialystok should not miss out on is the Branickis’ Palace, once the homestead of the powerful Branicki family, who used to own much of the city. Although their most famous family member, Count Jan Klemens Branicki, was unsuccessful in his aspirations to the Polish throne, he did help the city to prosper and become one of the principle economic centers of the area. Although sustaining bomb damage in World War II, the palace building was restored, and now serves as the Medical University of Bialystok. It is widely credited as the home of some of the most beautiful gardens in Poland.
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In 2010, the city’s population was nearly 300,000, which includes a number of expats moving to Bialystok from around the world. Although the number of expatriates relocating to the city is not as high as it has been at other times in the country’s history - there are still a number of established expat communities, with their own cultural centers in the city. As a member of the European Union, it’s a popular relocation destination for those across Central and Eastern Europe. Strong networks of Belarusians, Russians and Ukrainians exist to name a few, with many organizations springing up to serve these expatriate communities. Expat Magazine, published by InterNations, has more information and guidance for anyone looking to work or live abroad, including articles on insurance, finance, and adapting to life in a different country. As a member of InterNations, you also have the opportunity to socialize with other expats in Bialystok and from all over the globe, using the forums and discussion groups to find the answers to any questions you might have, or direct messaging to arrange a meet up if you make a local friend.
The largest city in the Podlaskie Voivodeship, Bialystok is the administrative, economic and cultural center of the region. Construction, food preparation and the textile industry have traditionally all been key components of the Bialystok economy, although it now also has a growing high-tech industry, priding itself on software and technological developments. Since 2007, encouraging scientific entrepreneurship in the city has been identified by the governing authorities as a significant focus for the economic development of the city. South-East Bialystok is home to the Bialostocki Park Naukowo-Technologiczny (Bialystok Science and Technology Park), a project funded by the European Regional Development Fund. The Park was established to support the development of innovative local firms, and inspire entrepreneurship in students, graduates, and scientists alike. The Park supports the development of technological projects, and helps match scientists with investors.