Białystok is the largest city in the north-east part of Poland (294,000 citizens) and the capital of the Podlasie region. Due to historical conditions Białystok has become a place where people representing different cultures, religions and nationalities have lived together for ages. This situation shaped the specific character of the city. In Białystok we can find the largest concentration of Orthodox and Islam believers in Poland; it is also the center of Belarusian and Tatar communities. The coat of arms of Białystok itself depicts the Polish eagle and the Lithuanian Pogoń.
The heritage of Białystok is also the World’s heritage. In 1859 Eliezer Lewi Samenhof was born in this city. He was famous as Ludwik Zamenhof, a brilliant eye doctor and the creator of the universal Esperanto language. The Jewish community of Podlasie brought forth many outstanding personalities, including one of the Prime Ministers of Israel - Icchak Szamir. The Jewish community of Białystok was killed in World War II.