This Small Painted Village In Poland Looks Whimsical, But Wait Until You Learn About Its Fascinating History…

About 42 miles outside Krakow, Poland’s former capital, there’s a small village called Zalipie. It’s a small town in the Lesser Poland Voivodeship , only 743 people live there but it’s thought of as one of Poland’s best-kept secrets. It looks absolutely whimsical, but there’s a fascinating history behind this charming village.

Zalipie known for its beautifully painted homes.

Painted Village

Floral garlands and trees bursting into bloom are nearly ubiquitous themes on the homes.

Painted Village

The paintings are largely done on the facades of whitewashed wooden homes.

Painted Village

Although more recent homes have inverted the color scheme, like this barn.

Painted Village

Most remarkably, these paintings are not the work of one prolific local artist.

Painted Village

The beautiful art on the town’s homes, wells, bridges and barns is a collective effort from the women of Zalipie.

Painted Village

They aren’t professional artists and it’s not entirely clear how the tradition got started.

Painted Village

We know it began toward the end of the 19th century when many homes were upgrading their homes with new furnaces with small chimneys.

Painted Village

Although these new furnaces produced better heat, the small chimneys didn’t let all of the soot escape. Cleaning the soot off blackened walls became the bane of a Zalipie homemaker’s existence.

Painted Village

Since no amount of scrubbing could get the black marks off the wood, whitewashing became highly fashionable.

Painted Village

To break up the monotony of the white buildings and to cover stubborn black marks that appeared through the white paint, a few of the Zalipie women began creating floral murals.

Painted Village

Word spread and a friendly sense of local competition was born. Every year, an award for the most beautifully decorated cottage became part of the town’s celebrations for the first week of Corpus Christi.

Painted Village

The most famous of Zalipie’s painters was a woman named Felicja Curyłowa (1904-1974).

Painted Village

Since her passing, her three-bedroom home, the most ornately painted in the town, has been turned into a preservation museum.

Painted Village

Zalipie’s charming local tradition wasn’t known to the rest of the world until 1905, when it was featured in an ethnography periodical in Krakow.

Painted Village

Inspired by the town, Zalipie’s surrounding villages – Kuzie, Niwka and Kłyż – took up their paintbrushes and joined in the fun.

Painted Village

Originally, the women would have to make all the necessary materials by hand, sourcing fats from their dumplings and hair from their cattle for paint and brushes.

Painted Village

Zalipie’s competition for its painted homes is now known as Malowana Chata.

Painted Village

Following World War II, when 17 percent of Zalipie’s population was killed, Malowana Chata helped rebuild the community and the sense of Zalipie’s specialness.

Painted Village

Although it remains largely untouched by tourists, visitors do show up to honor this beautiful community during the Malowana Chata.

Painted Village

(Source)

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