The "green lungs of Poland" is how the Podlasie region is called by many. It is a land of wonderful forest landscapes, four national parks, lakes and rivers. It is also a region where both cultural differences and traditional architecture have survived the test of time.
Land of Open Window Shutters is the name given to a so-called cultural trail, located in the Podlasie province, in the Narew river valley in Eastern Poland. Although it officially leads through three villages: Trześcianka, Soce and Puchły, the whole area is famous for its unique and richly decorated wooden architecture.
The Colourful facades, window shutters and carved ornaments on the local houses truly stand out. The trail however is not some kind of inauthentic open-air museum. Ordinary rural life takes place here every day. Friendly people, happy animals and gardens full of flowers perfectly complement this fairytale land.
The Skete of Saints Anthony and Theodosius Pechersky is an Orthodox monastic hermitage located in the Narew river valley, near the village of Odrynki. It was initiated by the clergyman Archimandrite Gabriel, known for his expertise in herbal treatments. The Skit, together with the church, is located far from civilization, surrounded by wild nature, rich in plants and animals. The closeness of nature particularly emphasises the holiness of this place.
Roadside shrines and crosses are an inseparable element of the Polish landscape. In the Podlasie province you can come across them in practically every village. The tradition of erecting shrines is several hundred years old, and particularly flourished in the 19th century. The shrines were erected to protect against illness, to commemorate a site where a temple used to be, or to thank the Lord for something. To this day it is still believed that a tree with a cross or a shrine is sacred, and cannot be cut down.