Zalipie: The Painted Village

more than a year ago

Zalipie is a small secluded Małopolska village some 35km north of Tarnów where you’ll find Polish folk art traditions to be perhaps more alive than anywhere else in the country. Since the late 19th century the women of Zalipie have been painting their homes inside and out with bright, floral patterns making this village one of the most photogenic places you could ever brandish a camera. The custom developed in the days before chimneys when the smoke from the cottage hearths would slowly blacken the interior walls. To prepare the home for important religious holidays, the proud wives of the village would repaint the walls with white lime. By the time progress and its new fan-dangled ‘chimneys’ arrived in Zalipie the tradition had not only stuck, but, with the aid of coloured paints, it had evolved into a unique art form that saw the village cottages adorned inside and out in extraordinary floral folk motifs. By the 1930s, the village had made a bit of a name for itself and in 1948, the first competition to select the most beautifully decorated cottage was held—a tradition that continues annually to this day on the weekend after Corpus Christi.

Though well-known throughout Poland, Zalipie is well enough off the tourist trail that it is not a highly-trafficked destination and your presence there will be met with smiles, welcoming gestures and plenty of inquisitiveness from the villagers themselves. The residents are very open about having guests and will often invite visitors into their homes to see their artwork (and perhaps sell you some).


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Over a year ago

i had visitted this village two months ago. really nothing to do there, the area not pastaral, no forest. you will see there only few painted houses. don''t spend your time.
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