We took a day trip from Krakow to visit Zalipie, the “Painted Village” in Poland. I read about this little village in a few different places and it seemed like a quaint place to check out.
About 100 years ago, when wood burning stoves were commonly used, the women in Zalipie began to paint over the soot and smoke stains on their homes with brightly colored flowers and floral patterns.
While it is no longer necessary to cover up smoke or soot stains, the painting has become a cultural, folk art tradition in the town. There is now an annual house-painting competition to keep the tradition alive.
Homes’ interiors and the local church are also decorated in this manner, as are out-buildings, dog houses, trees, wells, and any other surface a painter deems worthy.
We visited in the off-season (February 2018). Nothing was open on the day we went, not that there is much to be open anyway. Ideally, a visit to the town would have included a visit to the Dom Malarek cultural center. Supposedly they offer walking guides for the town, art workshops, and items for sale. Though it was closed for our visit, our son enjoyed playing on a playground outside the building.
There is also supposed to be a “museum” in a home that belonged to one of the more famous painters prior to her death, but honestly, we couldn’t find it. I think it is one or both of the houses pictured below, but the sign said not to enter and nobody was around. So, we gave ourselves a self-guided tour of the town.
This trip may not be for everyone. It’s a small village in the quiet countryside of Poland. The experience definitely lacked something without any specific places open for us to visit. Still, I enjoyed getting out of the city, traveling deeper, and seeing more of Poland. Plus, it’s hard not to appreciate the beauty of the art!