Zalipie painted village in Poland flowers on old house

Zalipie is a small, dreamy village near Krakow and Dabrowa Tarnowska

It gained international fame and is now visited by a great number of tourists from all over the world, even from South Africa, Japan or Guatemala.

Back in the day poor little one room cottages did not even have chimneys with whole families crammed into a dark, small space very often with livestock. Hearthstone was situated in a middle of the dark, heavily occupied area with the smoke finding its way out through the orifice in the roof. Maintaining any kind of cleanliness of the heavily charred walls was out of question in such conditions, other than covering them with slaked lime spots which gave the interior the semblance of newness/freshness.

Felicja Curylo, an inhabitant of Zalipie, decided to go a step forward. Taking advantage of her parents’ absence she took it upon herself to festoon the whole house with slaked lime flowers. The outcome was so taking that all neighbors decided to copy her mould-breaking style. Wanting to distinguish her household further from all the neighbors she added colors to the venture, making red, yellow, green, and blue the new norm for once shabby and dark Zalipie. Painted cornfloweres, poppies, chamomiles, roses, lubins, sunflowers and peonias garnish the walls of houses, barns and even henhouses and doghouses. In the interiors there is even more painted flowers on the walls, ceilings, furniture, crockery, curtains, and tablecloths. It’s an utter floral extravaganza!

The new Zalipie style caught on to such an extent that even the leaders of the oppressive and regressive communist regime decided to promote it as a Polish quaint oddity. Taking full advantage of the situation Felicja pushed hard for creating the famous Dom Malarek which soon became the cultural center of the region where local painters would master their skills and conduct workshops.

A Dutch artist who uses the motif as a pattern for her design of women’s purses, tablecloths and bed linen had the first-time opportunity to witness the inspiration for her work for the first time. She was very touched when coming into contact with the source of her inspiration. She was so taken by the original design that she spent most of time outdoing herself, taking as many photos as she only could, including laying on the floor to capture the full extent of the original Zalipie design showcased on the ceilings, walls etc. She literally photographed each and every one of the flowers she could find including the ornaments of the vestments exhibited in a display in the local church. I was always of a mind that every country had their own little Zalipie only to find out later in life that our Polish Zalipie is a global phenomenon.

We organize tour to Zalipie from Krakow. Upon request we can arrange it from any other city in Poland.

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