Discover Zalipie, Poland's Painted Village
Beyond the historic architecture of Krakow lies a secluded Polish village called Zalipie, where vibrant blues, rich reds, and honey yellow flowers accentuate home exteriors, chicken coops, and covered bridges in elaborate painted patterns. Although much of the painting resembles the styles of traditional European folklore, this small village stands out from its surroundings due to its eccentric, truly one-of-a-kind charm.
More than a century ago, the housewives of Zalipie began covering soot stains and imperfections on the exterior of their homes with hand-painted floral designs, using brushes made of cowtail strands and paint made of leftover fat from dumplings. After World War II left Poland devastated, the trend caught on as a way to bring color and life back to the communities.
One woman known for taking the trend to the next level is Felicja Curylowa, who painted nearly every surface of her home with beautiful flower patterns, down to the cutlery and light bulbs. Today, her home serves as a museum for travelers from around the world.
In 1948 the village residents began hosting the Painted Cottage competition known as Malowana Chata, a clever idea authorities came up with to help cover damage done during the war. Take a drive through Zalipie today and you’ll find chicken coups, dog houses, fences, fountains, and even the village bridge to be beautifully painted.
The paintings are traditionally touched up every year after the Feast of Corpus Christi, which is when the locals take time away from the farm and spend more time working around the house until Malowana Chata in spring.
While you may find that Zalipie is not your traditional tourist destination, it’s the perfect place to visit if you’re traveling to Poland and hoping to experience life over the last century. Don’t forget to grab one of our Polish Roots shirts before your trip!