August 4, 2022
Zalipie has been on my “must-see” list for several years. Everyone talks about the “painted houses”, and the place is a very famous tourist attraction in Poland. It is sometimes referred to as “The Most Beautiful Village in Poland”. So we had set aside most of a day to wander the town and admire the homes.
It turns out, Zalipie is much smaller than I expected. It is in a very rural location (think about driving to the middle of Nebraska to a small farm community). There are no restaurants, stores, or much of anything else in Zalipie, save for the painted houses and the museum celebrating the painted houses. And the one trailer selling ice cream and coffee to tourists.
There are about twenty painted houses in Zalipie, and as expected in a rural farming community, they are spread out, so riding a small loop around the area will cover most of them in about fifteen minutes. But if you really want to take time to study the beautiful artwork, and perhaps even get a tour inside a painted home from a resident, you might need to set aside a couple of hours in Zalipie.
The houses are painted inside and out with floral motifs.
The Polish Folk Art tradition of painting houses is said to have started before homes had chimneys. In order to cover the soot-stained walls inside, the women of the homes used a lime white-wash to paint the interior walls before important religious celebrations. It seems to have spread from there, and some homes have not only the interior and exterior walls painted, but the barn, doghouse, well, and any other surface that might attract artwork.
From Zalipie, we continued south towards Zakopane, another famous tourist town.