MID-6. Narew Valley and Tykocin – landscapes of natural and historical heritage of Podlasie Region

The excursion will explore the landscapes in the area north-east from Warsaw (Podlasie Region), located in the Narew River Valley, one of a few natural unregulated rivers in Poland. It will pay attention to the two specific areas.

In the morning, we will visit the Narwiański National Park, created in 1996, which is also a Natura 2000 site. The park covers a 35-kilometre section of the Narew River. The lowland river follows a sinuous path through the moraine hills of the wide valley with a well-developed system of meanders and oxbows. Most of the swampy valley is inaccessible to people and provides excellent refuge for a rich flora and fauna, especially local and migrating water birds. We will walk along footbridges passing through the valley to observe the unique system of a multi-bed river and well-developed vegetation with the dominance of rushes and wet meadows. The open landscape with only single clumps of forest is a result of a traditional way of land use. Nowadays, active protective and economic activities are required to maintain this landscape, because abandoning of meadow management (economically unprofitable) causes that it overgrows with bushes.

In the afternoon we will visit Tykocin, a small town located on the Narew river bank. Tykocin was a town as early as the beginning of the 15th century; however, its deeper past is evidenced by a nearby fortified settlement, functioning between the 11th and 13th centuries. The town was located at the crossroads of two land and water trade routes that is why it quickly became an important trade center and witnessed many important historical events. The current shape of the town comes from the first half of the 18th century. The traditional urban layout, with a large number of buildings and monuments, along with a market square of trapezoidal shape and baroque style, has been preserved until today.