Zalipie, the village with painted cottages

Cottage in Zalpie

Cottage in Zalpie ©PolandMFA/Flick

Homeowners around the world are painting, decorating their homes, but there is hardly a village as beautifully painted as the Polish Zalipie. In the southern part of Poland, at east from Krakow lies this fairy tale village with 20 cottages painted with flowers and folk motifs. In the secluded village the painting of houses is a tradition for centuries.

The local women paint their houses, but not with only one color, but very varied floral motifs. And not only the inner wall of the house, but the outside walls, the doors, the windows, and even the well too – the whole village looks like a jewel box.


The beginning of the tradition

The tradition of painting the cottages in Zalipie dated back to the 19th century, when the women tried to cover the carbon black in houses without chimney with limestone and other natural white painting. Later they used more ornated motifs and started to paint the exterior of houses as well. Felicja Curyłowa (1904 – 1974) was an inhabitant of the village, who became almost obsessed with this tradition and she covered almost every surface of her house with paintings. In order to preserve these, her house was transformed into a museum that is worth visited.

Inside a house in Zalipie

Inside a house in Zalipie ©paulbrannan/Flick

The painting of cottages today

Today there is no longer need for this, since the houses in the village of Zalipie are equipped with modern kitchens and better ventilation, but the tradition remained. And not only in the houses. When you walk in the village, you can see everything covered with floral motifs, from the dog house to the bridge and the sun dial. In the past women used to make brush from the cow tail hair and the dye was also organic.

The painting of houses is repeated every year at the Celebration of Corpus Christi and since 1948 in Zalipie is held a contest when local artists (mostly women, but also men) compete with their creations.

Cottage in Zalipie

Cottage in Zalipie ©PolandMFA/Flick

Tourism in the village

The best part is that no matter how special this village with painted houses is, it is able to stay away from mass tourism. Despite that the amazing paintings were not made for the tourists, nowadays more and more people visit the small village. There are no organized cottage tours, but the locals are happy to show their property.

In Zalipie is no special accommodation place, but you might spend a night at the house of an inhabitant of the village. To be sure, you can rent a place at Tarnow, that is located at 35 kilometers from the village. The Euro u Jana hotel is a stylish accommodation place is in the marketplace.

Painted well in Zalpie

Painted well in Zalpie ©PolandMFA/Flick


Leave a Reply