Four seasons of Suwałki

Suwałki is a town in North-Eastern Poland. It’s also my birthplace. I lived in that town for around 25 of my almost 30 year life. I obviously got to know it very well. I have some pictures of it covering all the seasons. There are four, at least technically :)

Suwałki are famous for several reasons. One of them is the weather. We are considered to be the coldest place in Poland that is not in the mountains. At the same time – the amplitude of temperatures over the year is very high. That is why Suwałki are probably the smallest town that is marked on weather maps by any Polish TV’s weather forecast!

Pogoda

I took this picture from TVN24 channel at 03.07.2012. It’s not hard to find Suwałki :)

What is characteristic for Suwałki is the fact that we can boast about the longest classicistic street in the whole Poland and probably – in Eastern Europe. The street has the name of Tadeusz Kościuszko – famous Polish war engineer who participated in several wars – for example in the United States of America.

Before I share the pictures of “all seasons” – I want to show you a video of my town made from drone. The authors are the students from the Technical High School of Suwałki. If I miss my town, I look at such videos (or watch live web-cams):

The town of Suwałki has around 70 000 inhabitants. However many people, even though officially registered, live somewhere else (I am one of the examples). The reason is very unfortunate: no well paid jobs, mostly physical work and just a few companies that offer you any perspectives to develop. Especially younger people cannot find a good employment so they emigrate – to bigger city in Poland or abroad.

From the interesting things I can say that despite of the fact that people of Suwałki are rather conservative in their views, the city includes several ethnic and national minorities. In Suwałki you can find Russians, Jews, Lithuanians and… Gypsies. Though our Gypsies are somehow different than the Gypsies associated with Bulgaria and Romania. In 1993 the school for Gypsies was opened and since then – they are getting their basic education there. This school is private and run by catholic church.

We also have a lot of visitors from Lithuania, Kaliningrad area, Belarus, Latvia and… even Estonia. But no, they are not tourists, they are making the grocery shopping that apparently seems to be cheaper than in their countries. Honestly, I do not see like a grand difference between Estonia and Poland, but maybe for Lithuanians or Russians it makes some sense? No idea.

The weather of Suwałki

As I mentioned, we technically have four seasons. Though – some of them are very short and very unstable :)

Winter

I am starting with winter as it is definitely the longest season in Suwałki area. It usually last 4-5 months, but sometimes even 6. It is being sad that astronomical winter is twice longer as on the western side of the country. Winter is very mixed – for quite a lot of years now we could not really be sure about having snow on Christmas. This year it was the same (check the last picture in the slideshow. It was made on 24.12.2015!).

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From my own perception: the coldest months are January and February. It’s normal to have temperatures at around -15 to -20 degrees Celsius. This gives the possibility to spot the “double sun” (parhelion) – you can see that in the slideshow. But if it’s cold – the sunsets are also stunning! And they allow to make fantastic pictures!

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And of course, just like winter here in Estonia, it likes to fool us! Gives a lot of signs it is over and then comes back after a few days! One more comparison to Estonia: here at winter it’s very dark, the sky is just black at night. In Suwałki it’s much lighter and also, even though it’s rather cloudy during that period, clouds are less thick so more natural light comes through them.

Spring

Springs in Suwałki are not too long. I am rather convinced to call them “pre-summer” as sometimes, out of nowhere, there are 30 degrees Celsius in May and after that – 16 degrees in June. But it’s not always a rule – sometimes we will have +32 in April and +3 in May and some snow! Typical for my area :)

Usually spring starts around end of March / beginning of April. At more or less the same period we have Easter, and for me Easter holidays always kind of reminded of fresh flowers growing and trees getting greener. Below, there is a picture from the Easter Day of 2014. It was in April and it was with the temperature of +17 degrees Celsius:

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As you can see – the picture is sunny. But it’s not always the case. Sometimes it is very rainy. And even though that it’s hard to catch the rain on picture, you may clearly sea the drops on it (yes, it was heavy!):

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The weather can change rapidly and may be unpredictable, I always carry some umbrella and some blouse with me even if it’s +30 when I go out. It may become like +15 in 2 hours.

Spring usually ends with the end of May / beginning of June. Then summer starts.

Summer

Summer in Suwałki is quite long. I would say it’s normal to have it from June till September, for around 3-3,5 months. Of course – summer of Suwałki is a little different than summer in the Southern Europe – not only because of the temperatures.

The most common temperature in summer in Suwałki is 24-26 degrees Celsius, but over the past few years we have been getting some very strong heat – up to 32-37 degrees during the day. It usually lasts for a few days, but this year it was definitely over 2 weeks in August (which in my opinion is the warmest month in general). The weather in August seems to be the most stable and sunny too. Few years ago we had a July that was rainy for almost the whole month and the temperature rarely exceeded +15 degrees. At least farmers were happy :)

Here are some pictures of my area and places in the center taken in the some certain moments of summer (some might be from late spring too). Note the rainbows – yes, that’s common in summer if the weather changes quite fast:

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One of my favourite places in Suwałki during summer is “The Park of The 3rd May Constitution” – this park is quite famous for open air summer events (like concerts for example), any kind of official city celebrations, generally speaking – it’s a place to relax, but also – to enjoy the local entertainment. It’s not very big, but it’s surely beautiful!

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The benches on the first picture are set when there are some concerts at the stage. Usually it’s for free of charge events that are covering local folklore or some less “commercial” events.

And then we have…

Autumn

I will admit – I have a very little amount of pictures from autumn. It’s horribly depressing yet – short. Usually it’s October and a bit of November – it’s rainy, sad, cold, windy, cloudy, nothing nice at all! If I did not have to, I would stay home under my blanket for all day long.

Still, here are two “autumny” pictures:

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The building on the second picture is a catholic church, just next to my block. My block is 9 floors and the church… might be close to similar size! Maybe slighly smaller, but at least 6 floors.

Bonus!

I have some more pictures and I have no idea when I took them. This might have been early spring, late winter or middle of autumn. Still, there is a river going through Suwałki – Czarna Hańcza. From my Polish block it takes me only 5 minutes to go there:

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Suwałki is also a great place to enjoy the nature right outside it. I would say that 15 minutes driving takes you to several lakes, rivers, hills and forrests. You can also take a trip to Wigry monastery that is a popular tourist spot. And of course – you shall not be afraid of trying the local food that I wrote about few days ago!

As of today, I am starting a new hashtag: #VisitSuwalki :) And of course if you plan to go there, you can ask me about anything.

All the best!
Adam

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