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Bialowieża Forest National Park

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dab, puszcza bialowieska, forest, bialowieza, national park, unescoPuszcza Białowieska / Białowieża Forest, is an ancient woodland straddling the border between the two countries, located 70 km (43 mi) north of Brest (Belarus) and 62 km (39 mi) south-east of Białystok (Poland). It is one of the last and largest remaining parts of the immense primeval forest which once spread across the European Plain.

This UNESCO World Heritage Site and Biosphere Reserve lies in parts of the Brest Voblast (Kamianiec and Pruzhany districts, BE) and Hrodna Voblast (Svislach district) in Belarus and on the Poland side near the town of Białowieża in the Podlaskie Voivodeship (190 km (120 mi) north-east of Warsaw).

The border between the two countries runs through the forest. There is a border crossing for hikers and cyclists. The forest is home to 800 wisent, the continent's heaviest land animals. A security fence keeps the wisent herds physically and genetically separated.

On the Polish side, part of the Białowieża Forest is protected as the Białowieża National Park (Białowieski Park Narodowy), with general area of about 100 km2 (39 sq mi). There is also the Białowieża Glade (Polana Białowieska), with a complex of buildings originally owned by the tsars of Russia – the last private owners of the forest (from 1888 to 1917) when the whole forest was within the Russian Empire. A hotel, restaurant and parking areas are located there. Guided tours into the strictly controlled areas of the park can be arranged on foot or by horse-drawn carriages. Approximately 200,000 tourists visit the Polish part of the forest annually. Among the group offers are: bird watching with local ornitologist, watching bisons in their natural environment,[3] and sledge & carriage rides with bonfire. The popular village of Białowieża lies in the forest.

Named oaks

dab, puszcza bialowieska, forest, bialowieza, national park, unescoThe forest contains a number of large, ancient pedunculate oaks (Quercus robur), some of which are individually named. Trunk circumferences are measured at breast height: 130 cm (51 in) above the ground.

1. Great Mamamuszi. Circumference 690 cm (270 in) (2005), height 34 m (112 ft). One of the thickest oaks in the forest, with a beautiful column-like trunk. The tree's name stems from Molière's The Bourgeois Gentleman, in which the main protagonist (Mr Jourdain) was appointed the Mamamouchi by a Turkish ambassador. Since 1989 the tree's circumference grew by 10 cm (3.9 in). Of all the oaks in Belovezhskaya Pushcha with a circumference above 600 cm (240 in), it is in the best condition.

2. The King of Nieznanowo. Circumference 620 cm (240 in), height 38 m (125 ft). This tree has one of the most columnar trunks among the oaks in Belovezhskaya Pushcha, interestingly set in the ground. The first branches arise at the height of 18 m. It has been gradually dying since 1998. As of 2005, only two small branches still have leaves. Since the mid-1960s its trunk circumference has grown by about 45 cm (18 in).

3. Emperor of the South. Circumference 610 cm (240 in), height 40 m (130 ft). The tree shows no clear signs of dying.

4. Emperor of the North. Circumference 605 cm (238 in), height 37 m (121 ft). The tree has a very regular trunk and shows no clear signs of dying.

5. Southern Cross. Circumference 630 cm (250 in), height 36 m (118 ft). At the base of the trunk it has a considerable lesion in the bark on the eastern side. From the mid-1960s its circumference has grown by 65 cm (26 in). The name stems from the shape of its crown, whose main branches evoke a cross (see photo of the crown).

6. The Guardian of Zwierzyniec. Circumference 658 cm (259 in), height 37 m (121 ft). This is one of the thickest oaks in the forest. The tree is largely bent down westwards, which most probably has contributed to the large circumference of the trunk at its base. All the branches are live, indicating that the tree is in good condition.
7. Barrel Oak. Circumference 740 cm (290 in), height over 30 m (98 ft). This tree is named for its barrel-shaped trunk, and is the oak which reaches the greatest trunk circumference among the Białowieża oaks. The tree is dead and largely devoid of bark, and is estimated to be around 450 years old.

8. Dominator Oak. Circumference 680 cm (270 in), height over 36 m (118 ft). One of the thickest oaks of the Belovezhskaya Pushcha, the tree has been dead since 1992 and its trunk is now largely devoid of bark. For many years it dominated the Puszcza Belovezhskaya Pushcha as far as size is concerned. Its age is estimated at 450 years.

9. The Jagiełło Oak. Circumference (when growing) 550 cm (220 in), height 39 m (128 ft). It blew down in 1974, but is probably the most famous of the trees in the forest. It is said that King Władysław II Jagiełło rested beneath it before the Battle of Grunwald in 1410, although in fact the tree is believed to have been only 450 years old when it blew down.

10. Tsar Oak (Polish) (Polish: Dąb Car) of Poland. Circumference 640 cm (250 in), height 41 m (135 ft). The tree's volume has been estimated at 75 m3 (2,600 cu ft). It died in 1984, and for over 20 years it has been standing dead on the edge of the valley of Leśna Prawa river. Today the trunk is totally devoid of bark and some of the branches have broken off and lie at the base of the trunk.

11. Tsar Oak (Belarusian) (Cyrillic: Царь-Дуб) of Belarus. Oldest Belarusian oak, standing 46m tall, having a diameter in excess of 2m, and being over 800 years of age. It stands 2 km from Staroje Romatowo. It has been a national monument since 1963.

Source: Wikipedia
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