Time on the trail – 1.5 hours
Trail difficulty - easy
Total length – 10 km
Time on the trail – 1.5 hours
Trail difficulty - easy
1. Red oak is a very beautiful, but a dangerous alien. Its homeland is North America. The oak appeared in the 20-30s of the last century in the Bialowieza forest, it was planted near the forestry as an ornamental tree. Decades have passed, and the intensive "guest" invasion into the ancestral forests began. Red oak lives much less than common oak, but it is unpretentious, and its seeds are quickly carried by jays and squirrels. Spreading, it displaces the native trees, so it is recognized as the most dangerous alien kind of woody plants.
2. The birch with the "Bison Head". Large growths on trees trunks are called knars. Knars are formed when some non-indigenous organisms are introduced into the living tissue of the trunks or branches. Most often mushrooms are in this role. A knar can be especially large on birches: sometimes their sizes are twice the thickness of a trunk! The fantasy of nature turns knars into fairy-tale works. The knar on this birch, reminiscent of a large bison head, was discovered more than 20 years ago. This is a great place for memorable photos.
3. The oak - "hermit". A swamp once stretched at this place. The oak, which grew on its outskirts, captured the former landscape in itself. The tree is unusual for the forest: its thick-set silhouette is typical for oaks growing on open space. Such bogatyrs are not too high, but tend to quickly "fatten". This tree is "only" 300 years old, and the diameter of its trunk is already 1.5 m! The oak had three main branches, but in the XX century one of them was broken in a hurricane. A large hollow opened in its trunk, which had been eventually settled by a family of timber carpenter ants. These insects are the forest janitors: without touching living tissue, they process the dead one.
4. The swamp "Tatar bagno". "Bagnos" are called swampy, impenetrable marshes in Belarus and Poland. Chronicles indicate that during the great Tatar-Mongol invasions nomads groups reached Belovezhskaya Pushcha. In the thirteenth century there was a Tatar camp surrounded by a bagno - the swamp protected from a sudden attack by the Slavs. A terrible swamp has now dried up, overgrown with bush and alder, but in the spring the "bagno" is still impassable.
5. The tract "Turlyui". Soon after the First World War, several large fires occurred in Pushcha. One of them completely destroyed this tract. In the early 1930s, Polish foresters, who were the owners of the Bialowieza region then, planted a huge black stain of fires with pine seedlings. Poor sandy soils prevented the growing trees from reaching "ship's" heights, and even now the eighty-year-old forest looks like a young thirty-year-old forest even in more favorable conditions. Nevertheless, "Turlyuy" is a great place for walking and mushrooms picking.
6. Attack of the bark beetle. Great Belovezhskaya Pushcha has a long-standing enemy. We are talking about an insect called a "bark beetle". Bark beetle, as you might guess, devours a sub-bark layer of trees, primarily coniferous species. A small beetle sometimes inflicts incredible damage to Pushcha. The decrease of groundwater level, which occurred as a rash reclamation result in the 60s of the last century, seriously affected the natural immunity of trees. Bark beetle attacks are therefore more often observed in arid summer seasons, when there is a prolonged heat. Employees of the national park are taking all measures for the timely elimination of bark beetles. In some areas a new forest is planted, some of them are protected so that deer don’t eat fresh underwood with relish.
7. The former narrow-gauge railway. In 1915, during the First World War, huge territories west of the Bug were occupied by Germany. The Germans immediately took up the industrial development of Pushcha. Using the slave labor of captured French and Russian soldiers, the new owners entangled the great forest with a network of narrow-gauge railways with a length of 325 km in just 18 months! Today, asphalt roads are laid on the sites of some narrow-gauge railways.
8. Oaks of the 30-ies. Massive deforestation of the World War I period, as well as of the 1920s of the last century was the largest logging in the whole Belovezhskaya Pushcha history. Fortunately, the Polish authorities, who operated it until 1939, sought to mitigate the damage from industrial exploitation. Pine and oak seedlings were planted at the cutting site. Part of the felling has overgrown by itself – the "derived" forest appeared more natural there. Today, a new forest has risen on vast tracts near the former narrow-gauge railway lines. The forest itself heals former wounds.
9. The tsar meadow. A place with a very unusual history. A vast meadow appeared at least several centuries ago in the dense forest. Till the present day, various versions of its names have come up: "guest", "tsar", "royal". According to the preserved data, Stanislav August Poniatowski, the king of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, hosted a hunting feast. Then the meadow turned into a place for feasts and a rich strecks (the so-called demonstrations of hunting trophies) for other nobles and their crowned guests. In the twentieth century, the tradition was continued by the General Secretaries of the Central Committee of the Soviet Union Communist Party and other representatives of the Soviet party elite. Today mass events and celebrations are held on the Tsar Meadow.
10. At the forest fork. The development of forest roads with a picturesque alcove keeps a piece of history. Thickets of bird-cherry unusual species, dogrose bushes will be opened to the observant eyes. Of course, these plants did not appear here themselves: once a forester's house was here. Most likely, the hamlet in the dense forest appeared in the forties of the XIX century, when numerous swaths were cut through Pushcha, dividing it into separate sectors. Then iron narrow-gauge railways were laid alongside them, turned now into ordinary roads.
11. The age-old pine forest. A magnificent example of an old pine forest. The average age of its trees is no fewer than 200 years. Only Belovezhskaya Pushcha has such splendid massifs, nowhere else in Belarus can they be found. Many of these strikingly beautiful and huge pines grew in places where a gigantic, apocalyptic fire raged in 1811, occurred on the eve of Napoleon's invasion. Now these forest glades are the most valuable landmarks of the living nature power – after all they reborned without any human help.
12. The giant spruce. Spruce is a typical taiga tree, which sometimes reaches phenomenal sizes in Belovezhskaya Pushcha. This "small fir", for example, could decorate the main square of a megapolis for Christmas and New Year: its top is at a height of over 40 meters! The trunk diameter of a gorgeous beauty is almost 90 cm, and it has been growing here for more than 200 years. However, the tree is not unique at all: there are many similar spruces in Pushcha, some, reaching almost 50 meters in height, considerably exceed this one by age. In general, spruce forests account for 4% of all Pushcha woods, but individual trees are found everywhere.