The Augustowski Canal is the outstanding example of Polish civil engineering of the early nineteenth century. The principal objective in its construction was to provide a waterway from parts of the Congress Kingdom of Poland to the Baltic Sea that avoided Prussian territory. The 101.2 km canal was built between 1824 and 1829, under the supervision of a military engineer Lieutenant Colonel Prodzinsky, with much of the detailed design of locks being undertaken by a civilian, T Urbansky. About 40 km consists of man-made cuts, 26 km of passages across lakes, and 34 km of canalised stretches of the Czrna Haricza and Netta Rivbers. There are eighteen locks.
The canal was used to carry salt to Lithuania until the mid-nineteenth century, but thereafter was used chiefly for floating timber. The canal is exceptionally-well preserved. Many original buildings still stand, and it runs through coniferous forests of great natural beauty. An early concrete drawbridge base, one of the first such structures in Europe, is preserved at the lock at Kuzyniec. The canal was already a tourist attraction in the 1920s, and has been under legal protection in Poland since 1968. About 20 km of the course of the canal is in present-day
Belarus, where it is hoped to improve tourist facilities in line with those on the Polish stretch, where it is possible to explore the waterway by canoes or motor boats, by motoring from lock to lock, or by following a 39 km green trail from Augustow to Mikaszowka, on foot or by bicycle.