Suprasl is a city is an administrative part of Bialystok County which is found in Podlaskie Province. The city is also the seat of the urban and rural municipality of Suprasl and included in the agglomeration of Bialystok. It stands on the River Suprasl on the Bialystok Uplands and in the heart of the Knyszyn Forest Landscape Park. It is an area of unspoilt natural beauty, where the levels of dust and gas pollution are well below national standards and excellent low and mildly stimulating climatic conditions which predestines the city to operate as a spa.
In 1501, according to a legend, the monks in Grodek, after several days of prayer, placed a wooden cross with some relics into the river current and asked for God’s Providence that it should stop at a location most suited for a monastery. A cross with a plaque on a street between the monastery and the River Suprasl commemorates this event. The Orthodox monastery from Grodek was moved to the Suchy Grad wilderness whose founder and principal benefactor was the Governor of Novogrod, Aleksander Chodkiewicz, with the later support of Smolensk Orthodox Bishop Jozef Soltan. Later, edicts issued by King Aleksander Jagiellonczyk in 1504 and King Zygmunt Stary in 1509 confirmed the rights and privileges that included those built as a result of funding received from Governor Chodkiewicz. First, the wooden church of St John the Evangelist was built and was followed by the monastic refectory and the hermitages. To raise the importance of the monastery, the founders made a request for a ceremonial blessing from the Patriarch of Constantinople himself which was given in 1505. Another church was consecrated in 1516 and further monastic buildings added which included the Gothic Church of the Resurrection, of which the integral parts were its catacombs. In the 16th century the monastery became such an important cultural centre in this region that it was visited by the Bulgarian Patriarch Gabriel in 1582 and Patriarch Jeremiah II in 1590. The monks gathered together an extensive library with valuable printed volumes and manuscripts such as the Supraski Codex from the 11th and 12th centuries. In 1609 the Suprasl Monastery was forced, under threat of military intervention, to accept the Union of Brest (1596) and became an important Uniate cultural and religious centre. Till 1807 Suprasl was the seat of the Uniate bishopric but the Russian authorities transferred the Suprasl Monastery to Orthodox monks who, in the face of the advancing of the German Army, fled from Suprasl into the Russian interior taking their miraculous icon of Our Lady of Suprasl with them. The abandoned monastery passed into the hands of the Roman Catholic Church but was partially destroyed by the departing German Army in 1945. After the war an agricultural school was established in the remaining buildings but the monastery was ultimately transferred back to the Orthodox Church in the 1990’s. Since 2004 the Suprasl Academy has its seat in the grounds of the old monastery.
The city of Suprasl received its civic rights in the first half of the 19th century but lost its importance due to the development of the city of Bialystok nearby. Suprasl was granted official spa status in 2002. The local deposits of therapeutic mud, which were well researched and documented, had been described as some of the best in Europe. Spa facilities were offered in a hospital-based environment which specialised in the treatment of patients with tuberculosis. The facility was mainly used by civil servants in the early days but later „outsiders” also began benefiting from the available treatments. In addition, Suprasl served as a holiday and cultural centre. Today there is no dedicated spa treatment facility in Suprasl, as defined by law.