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Bialystok – home of the Esperanto language

Ĉu vi aŭdis pri Esperanto? Have you heard of Esperanto?

The last major attempt to convince people to a common language before the final victory of English is the work of a man from Białystok. His name was Ludwik Zamenhof, and the language he developed from start to finish and in detail is called Esperanto. According to various estimates, it is spoken by between 100,000 and 2 million people around the world – including several hundred people who learned it at home as their mother tongue.

Ludwik Zamenhof was a child of pre-World War II multicultural Białystok – a city where more than half the population was Jewish. Esperanto was born on a wave of dreams of understanding between people at a time of growing nationalism. Zamenhof believed that the root cause of tensions and feuds was the lack of a common language. That is why he named Esperanto after a derivative of the Latin “hope” (French espérer, from Latin spērō – to hope). Esperanto is therefore literally “a hopeful person.”

When visiting today’s Białystok – the capital of Podlasie, try to take a look at the Ludwik Zamenhof Center. There you will see a small exhibition dedicated to Zamenhof’s life and his adventure in creating an artificial language that will be easy and digestible for people around the world. A lot has changed since the birth of Esperanto, for example, you can clearly see how it is a speech created mainly for the needs and sensibilities of a European audience. Nevertheless, the history of Esperanto and its creator will touch everyone who holds close the dreams of peace and reconciliation between people – regardless of whether they can ever come true.

Website of the Zamenhof Center

The same website in Esperanto version


Ludwik Zamenhof Zentrum, Białystok

Bialystok – home of the Esperanto language