In the local tradition Bialowieza Primeval Forest is described as a favourite hunting place of Polish kings, especially the Jagiellons and Stefan Batory. There are many places on tourist trails that are connected with kings' stays in the Forest. This paper attempts to verify the popular information on royal visits to Bialowieza Primeval Forest in 1386-1586 basing on historical sources and results of archaeological excavations. In the time concerned Bialowieza Primeval Forest belonged to the grand duke's properties and was protected as a hunting reserve of Polish kings and grand dukes of Lithuania. Informations on 6 confirmed and 11 possible stays of Jagiellons and Stefan Batory in the Forest were found. Visit to the Forest was not always tantamount to hunting, as kings' mansion in Bialowieza was also a stop on the way from Vilnius to Cracow. Scarce historical sources did not allow to estimate the quantity of hunted animals, nevertheless 11 possible hunts during 157 years documented by sources indicate relatively low hunting pressure on the Forest. Another issue is the localization of the kings' manor in Bialowieza Primeval Forest. Archaeological excavations conducted in three sites connected according to custom with manors brought the discovery of 11th century cemetery in the Zamczysko Range, hunting manor from 17th century in today's Bialowieza, and so far unidentified manor in the Stara Bialowieza Range. (2 fig.)
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SYNAT - “Interdisciplinary System for Interactive Scientific and Scientific-Technical Information”.