The Białowieża Forest is one of the last and largest remaining parts of the immense primeval forest that once stretched across the European Plain. The forest is home to 800 European bison, Europe's heaviest land animal (an adult male can reach a height of 180cm and 900 kilograms).
Often called the "last untouched wilderness of Europe", the Białowieża National Park is the only one of its kind among the 23 national parks of Poland. Its inner zone belongs to the realm of old-growth forest which has been living without much human intervention for almost 800 years. Only scientists can navigate the strictly protected area freely. Each group of tourists is limited to no more than 20 people, and the presence of an official guide is mandatory.
The forest has been designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site and an EU Natura 2000 Special Area of Conservation. On the Polish side, the Białowieża National Park has an area of about 105 km2. There is also the Białowieża Glade (Polish: Polana Białowieska), with a complex of buildings once owned by the tsars of Russia during the Partitions of Poland.
Old, primaeval forest stands in Białowieża National Park are characterized by large amounts of deadwood at the various stage of disintegration, and by the presence of typical natural forest species.
The characteristic feature of the park is its biological diversity. The Park comprises, inter alia, 809 vascular plants species, over 3 thousand cryptogams and fungi species, almost 200 moss species and 283 lichen species. There have been more than 8 thousand invertebrates species, approximately 120 species of breeding birds and 52 mammal species.
At present, a hotel and restaurant with a car park is located there. Guided tours into the strictly protected areas of the park can be arranged on foot, bike or by horse-drawn carriage.