About sixty miles east of Krakow, Poland is the ancient village of Zalipie, one of the country’s top tourist attractions, and the prettiest little town you will ever see. The small wooden cottages of this charming village are painted with scenes of nature and local folklore. Considered one of the most picturesque villages in Poland, Zalipie is surprisingly not overrun by tourists.
The tradition started more than a century ago when the female residents began to paint their homes with floral motifs to cover up soot smudges and other faults around their home. Not having access to the materials needed for the project, these ingenious women made their own equipment. The paint was made with the fat from the dumplings they cooked, and hair from the tail of their cows was used for brushes. The women had to repaint their cottages each year, they did this after the Feast of Corpus Christi when they weren’t as busy with the farm work. This unique habit was passed down from one generation to another, and is continued to this day. One woman in particular became obsessed with the tradition. Felicja Curylowa lived from 1904 to 1974, she decorated every surface of her cottage inside and out. After her death the beautiful house was turned into a museum.
Zalipie is a massive painting full of color and history, the entire village is painted. The best time to visit is in the spring when they hold their Painted Cottage Competition. This competition started after the end of World War II in an attempt to cover up the damage done by the war. Visiting this quaint village is a great way to escape the busy life of large cities, to relax and simply enjoy the art. It’s a delight you must see for yourself.