Suraż [ˈsuraʂ] (Belarusian: Сураж) is a town in north-eastern Poland situated in the Podlaskie Voivodeship since 1999 and, from 1975 to 1998, in the Białystok Voivodeship.

Church of Corpus Christi in Suraż seen from the Narew riverside
Church of Corpus Christi in Suraż seen from the Narew riverside
Coat of arms of Suraż
Coat of arms
Suraż is located in Poland
Coordinates: 52°57′19″N 22°57′19″E / 52.95528°N 22.95528°E / 52.95528; 22.95528Coordinates: 52°57′19″N 22°57′19″E / 52.95528°N 22.95528°E / 52.95528; 22.95528
Country Poland
 • Total33.86 km2 (13.07 sq mi)
 • Total1,012
 • Density30/km2 (77/sq mi)
Postal code

Suraż, which has a long and rich history, and was a royal town in the Kingdom of Poland, currently is one of the smallest municipalities of the country, with a population of only 1012 (as of June 30, 2012).

The history of Suraż dates back to the 11th century, when a defensive gord was established on the right bank of the Narew river. In 1390, King Władysław II Jagiełło handed Suraż, together with other towns in the area, to Mazovian Duke Janusz I of Warsaw. The Suraź Castle is mentioned in a 1392 Teutonic Knights chronicle, when it was destroyed by forces of Grand Master Engelhard Rabe. Some time in the late 15th century, a new castle was built, with a brick tower, and a prison. The castle was destroyed during the Swedish invasion of Poland (1655-1660).

Suraż received Magdeburg rights on September 16, 1445, from King Casimir IV. In 1520, it became seat of a powiat in the Land of Bielsk Podlaski, and in 1569, following the Union of Lublin, Suraż was annexed by the Kingdom of Poland: until the Partitions of Poland, it was part of Podlaskie Voivodeship (1513–1795). The town was inhabited by three communities - Polish, Jewish and Ruthenian.

Since 1795, Suraź belonged to the Russian Empire. Its area was one of centres of the 1863 January Uprising: here a clash between rebels and Russians took place in May 1863. After the rebellion, the Russians imposed heavy taxes on its residents, and the population of the town rapidly declined. Furthermore, construction of the Saint Petersburg–Warsaw Railway (1862) bypassed Suraż, which deepened its decline.

Buildings and structuresEdit