While preparing my trip to the Bieszczady Mountains, I was looking for some interesting place along the way. A book about interesting places in Poland gave me the idea of visiting village of Zalipie. It was relatively on the route and the choice was made on it. I have visited it many times on the occasion of visits to Tarnów and the surrounding area.
Zalipie is located in the Lesser Poland Voivodeship in the Olesno commune (about 80 km from Kielce). The nearest major cities are Dąbrowa Tarnowska and Tarnów. Zalipie can be reached by buses from Tarnów, but in my opinion it is best to go by car. Despite the fact that the two most interesting places – “Zagroda Felicjj Curyło” and Painters House are not very far from each other, you will also find the paintings in other places, but more on that later.
History of painting houses
The tradition of painting and generally decorating houses dates back to the 19th century. Where did the painting come from? In the past, the huts in the villages were dark, and sometimes even black from the soot from the furnace. Wall painting was not as popular then as it is now. Women came up with the idea of decorating them and bringing life inside, and hence the patterns that we know today were created. Initially, the number of colors was limited to the natural ones, but over time they were replaced by normal paints, thanks to which the number of colors increased significantly.
With time, the paintings came out of the kitchen spaces and moved to the facades of buildings, and then to flower pots, kennels, wells and many other elements that experienced observers in Zalipie will surely notice.
Felicja Curyłowa’s homestead
The most frequent destination for tourists coming to Zalipie is the Felicja Curyło Farm. No wonder, because this is where the painted tradition began. Signposts lead to the farm, and there are several parking spaces right next to it.
In the yard, we can see the interior of the artist’s house. The whole property is owned by the Ethnographic Museum in Tarnów, which promotes the history and tradition of Zalipie paintings. Felicja Curyło was born in 1903 and died in 1974. Even during her lifetime, the original paintings were already a tourist attraction, which tourists used to visit. In addition to the house of Mrs. Curyło, the museum also houses the house of Stefania Łączyńska and a small cottage called “the poor house”. Workshops in the farmstead are held in an old barn, and the ticket office itself is also located in an interesting facility.
The farm is open from Tuesday to Sunday. Opening hours depend on the season. In the high season, a normal ticket costs PLN 8 (reduced PLN 5), and in the off-season PLN 2 (reduced PLN 1). Due to the coronavirus, until further notice, the farm and its facilities can only be visited from the outside, looking inside through frequently open windows.
The second signposts that you will meet in Zalipie are arrows pointing to the House of Painters. It houses the Municipal Cultural Center. It is open every day during high season and from Monday to Friday in low season. Dom Malarek is a place where you will learn everything about Zalipie traditions. You can also arrange art workshops.
The already mentioned Felicja Curyło was the initiator of the construction of the House of Painters.
Competition for painters
Each spring, Zalipie hosts the “Painted Cottage” competition. The organizer of the event is the District Museum in Tarnów and the House of Malarek. About 100 people from the Powiśle Dąbrowski region take part in the competition every year. An interesting fact is that the paintings from previous editions of the competition are carefully removed to make room for the new ones! It was held for the first time in 1948 and is probably the oldest folk competition in the country.
In addition to the aforementioned farmstead or the House of Painters, in Zalipie you will find many houses with characteristic Zalipian patterns. Apart from private buildings, other objects are also painted. Take a look at the church or the Fire Department – they are also impressive.
Zalipiańska Vineyard – Bogumiła
While visiting Tarnów vineyards from the ENOTarnowskie project, I also found myself in Zalipie. The Vineyard Bogu Miła is often called the Zalipiańska Vineyard and it is located there.
Jarosław Bogumił – the owner told us about his wines. The area of his cultivation is currently one hectare, and he has been growing vines since 2008. They eagerly welcome tourists for tasting, and the shelter, which is just about to end, will open up even more culinary and enotourism opportunities.
The Gewurztraminer from 2019 went home with me and stole my heart during the tasting! We also tasted Irenka – delicious Solaris and red wine aged in oak whiskey barrels.
The vineyard grows the Regent, Roesler, Solaris, Pinot Gris, Gewurztraminer and Joh varieties. If you are interested in the subject of wine, be sure to see the article on the Enotarnowskie project.
What’s in the neighborhood?
The area around Zalipie is also very interesting. One of the objects you should see is the former synagogue in Dąbrowa Tarnowska. A beautifully renovated building with an interesting exhibition is waiting for tourists. If you have a bit more time, be sure to also visit Tarnów. It is impossible to briefly list all the places that I recommend you to see in Tarnów and the surrounding area. I can guarantee you that fans of monuments, interesting places, history, architecture, but also local flavors and wine will find something for themselves there.
Worth a visit?
Zalipie is a very charming place worth visiting. It is sometimes called a painted village, but for many it is also an “Instagram object”. It is a perfect place for an interesting photo session, but its history is also a living example of the local tradition which, despite the fact that it evolves, has survived to this day and continues to develop.