The Podlaskie Voivodeship is a multicultural and multinational region, as apart from Polish people, it is inhabited by Russians, Tatars, Ukrainians and also Jews before the World War II. There are numerous cultural buildings related to the culture of these nations. The natural environment of the Podlaskie Voivodeship is characterized by the high degree of naturalness. This is proved by local forests and greatest complex of marshes in Europe. A special natural, historical and tourist value is ascribed to four national parks, i.e. Białowieża, Biebrza, Narew and Wigry with a total area of 92 thousand ha. The Białowieża National Park is one of four biosphere reserves in Poland and the only Polish natural object entered into the UNESCO World Cultural Heritage List. In addition, there are three landscape parks, i.e. the Łomża Landscape Park of the Narew River Valley, Knyszyń Forest Landscape Park and Suwałki Landscape Park with a total area of 88.1 thousand ha. An important natural area is also the complex of Augustów Forest. In the Podlaskie Voivodeship, 14 thousand ha is covered with reserve protection (85 reserves), 15 separate areas of protected landscape with a total area of 471.8 thousand ha were designated and more than 2 thousand natural monuments were established. The whole terrain of the voivodeship is within the area of the Green Lungs of Poland. The territory of the region is covered with protection in 32%, what places the Podlaskie Voivodeship at the top of the country. There are conditions favorable for the development of nature tourism. The Podlaskie Voivodeship is characterized by quite high level of forest cover, diversified terrain relief and relatively poor hydrographic network. The major watercourses include the Narew, Biebrza, Rospuda and Bug Rivers with the latter one being a border river. An area with numerous lakes is the norther part of the voivodeship. The major building material on this area was wood. Only sacred buildings and large seats of magnates were built out of bricks. Landscape and natural values as well as cultural heritage of the Podlaskie Voivodeship provide a wide range of opportunities for the development of tourism. Tourism in the Podlasie region plays an important economic function and it should be a causative force for the development of entrepreneurship


source: www.zielonewrota.pl