Zalipie is a remote Maopolska town located about 35 km north of Tarnów, and it is here that Polish folk art practices are possibly the most vibrant. Zalipie is one of the most gorgeous sites you can ever brandish a camera, thanks to the ladies who have been decorating their houses with vibrant, flowery designs
Hidden in Lesser Poland, nestled among the greenery, Mia and I embarked upon a journey to uncover this concealed treasure trove. It was 2016 and I had just met her in a hostel in Krakow with a book about Poland in her hand. She was from Japan, travelling across the country. I was just in the city for a couple of days. I took interest in the book she was reading and she told me about the rare places mentioned there. Her eyes were set on the beautiful floral pics. The place was a small village where we had to go by bus. I, as usual, was always game for an adventurous trip to nowhere. With no further ado, we set out on the voyage to the unknown. What we found out, still burns fresh in my memories like a sweet perfume, and whenever I need respite, they take me back to a tranquil place of comfort.
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Located in Dbrowa County in the Lesser Poland Voivodeship in southeastern Poland, the little hamlet of Zalipie is a rural community. Nearby cities include Olesno, located 5 km (3 miles) to the west, Dbrowa Tarnowska, located 8 km (5 miles) to the north-west, and Kraków, the regional capital, located 68 km (42 miles) to the east.
The houses are famously painted with regional designs. Among the finest instances of this custom is the house where the Polish artist.
Zalipie is a remote Maopolska town located about 35 km north of Tarnów, and it is here that Polish folk art practices are possibly the most vibrant. Zalipie is one of the most gorgeous sites you can ever brandish a camera, thanks to the ladies who have been decorating their houses with vibrant, flowery designs since the late 19 Century.
What's the story behind the town's colourful moniker?
It is a longstanding custom in this community, affectionately referred to as ‘The Painted Village,’ to paint elaborate flower designs on any unfinished surface of stone or wood. Although there is little evidence to back up the legend, it is often held that the practice of spraying flowers on one's walls dates back to the days when smoke and soot emanated from everyone's modest wood-burning stoves. Women in Zalipie simply painted flowers over the soot stains that emerged on the outside and interior walls of their houses. Brushes were fashioned from cow hair, and paint was made from lard and food colouring.
This delightfully distinct custom was eventually handed down from one age to the next. As women looked to the outdoors and local legends for subject matter, their paintings grew in scale and vibrancy.
Even while Zalipie is famous all throughout Poland and makes for a great Instagram photo op, it is still somewhat off from the typical tourist route, so you can expect to be greeted with friendly faces and plenty of questions from the locals. Residents are kind and often welcome tourists inside their houses to show off their collections of art.
A Polish woman saw us and invited us to her home. She didn't know much English but we still spoke in gestures. She served us some tea and showed us the art she made. We bought a few souvenirs for ourselves- some things I still hold precious in my collection of items from different countries.
Wreaths and garlands painted on the walls, ceilings, beams, and flowers decorating the stoves, tablecloths, fireplaces, doorframes, pots, and vases are all possibilities. Straw spiders strung from the rafters and colourful paper flowers may also be seen as works of handicraft, often found in proximity to or even under holy symbols. If you have a car as well as some time to see Poland, you should definitely add this peaceful wonder to your itinerary, since there are few travel experiences more true to life.
(Edited by : Sudarsanan Mani)
First Published: IST