Zalipie, A Rare Pearl! Gorgeous flower paintings adorn every surface of this peaceful Polish village


Zalipie is a remote town in Maopolska about 35 km north of Tarnów, and it is here that Polish folk art practices are probably most vibrant. Zalipie is one of the most gorgeous sights you can ever wave with a camera, thanks to the ladies who have decorated their homes with vibrant flowery designs

Hidden in Little Poland, nestled in the greenery, Mia and I embarked on a journey to discover this hidden treasure. It was 2016 and I had just met her in a hostel in Krakow with a book about Poland in my hand. She was from Japan, traveling across the country. I was just in town for a few days. I became interested in the book she was reading and she told me about the few places mentioned in it. Her eyes were fixed on the beautiful floral photos. The place was a small village where we had to go by bus. As usual, I was always up for an adventurous journey to nowhere. Without further ado, we embarked on the journey into the unknown. What we discovered still burns in my memories like a sweet scent, and whenever I need respite, they bring me back to a quiet, comfortable place.

Located in Dbrowa County, Lesser Poland Voivodeship, southeastern Poland, the small hamlet of Zalipie is a rural community. Nearby towns include Olesno, located 5 km (3 miles) to the west, Dbrowa Tarnowska, located 8 km (5 miles) to the northwest, and Krakow, the regional capital, located 68 km (42 miles) to the East.

The houses are famously painted with regional motifs. Among the finest examples of this custom is the house where the Polish artist.

Zalipie is a remote town in Maopolska about 35 km north of Tarnów, and it is here that Polish folk art practices are probably most vibrant. Zalipie is one of the most magnificent sights you can ever hold up with a camera, thanks to the ladies who have been decorating their homes with vibrant, flowery designs since the late 19th century.

What’s the story behind the city’s colorful nickname?

It’s a long-standing custom in this community, affectionately known as ‘the painted village’, to paint elaborate floral designs on any unfinished stone or wood surface. Although there is little evidence to support the legend, it is often argued that the practice of spraying flowers on one’s walls dates back to when smoke and soot emanated from everyone’s humble wood-burning stoves. Zalipie women simply painted flowers on the soot stains that appeared on the exterior and interior walls of their homes. Brushes were made from cow hair and paint was made from lard and food coloring.

This delightfully distinct custom was eventually passed down from one era to the next. As the women turned to the outdoors and local legends as subject matter, their paintings grew in scope and vibrancy.

Even though Zalipie is famous all over Poland and makes for a great Instagram photo opportunity, it is still somewhat off 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 into their homes to show off their art collections.

A Polish woman saw us and invited us to her home. She didn’t know much English but we still spoke with gestures. She served us tea and showed us the art she was making. We bought a few souvenirs for ourselves – some things that I always treasure in my collection of items from different countries.

Wreaths and garlands painted on walls, ceilings, beams and flowers decorating stoves, tablecloths, fireplaces, door frames, pots and vases are all possibilities. Straw spiders hanging from the rafters and colorful paper flowers can also be considered works of art, often found near or even under sacred symbols. If you have a car and time to visit Poland, you should definitely add this peaceful wonder to your itinerary, as there are few truer-than-life travel experiences.

(Edited by : Sudarsanan Mani)

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