Zalipie – Poland’s Fascinating Painted Village

People all over the world love decorating their homes, but few are as good as the villagers of Zalipie. Home décor is a centuries-old tradition in this secluded village of southeastern Poland.

The women of Zalipie paint their homes, not with a single color, but a range of vibrant floral patterns. These patterns adorn the external walls, doors, windows and even the roof. The entire village looks pretty in a riot of colors.

It isn’t clear when the tradition began exactly. Local legend says that it originates from a time when smoke from stoves would escape through little holes in the ceilings. Women tried whitewashing  to cover up the tiny spots of soot on the walls, but that didn’t work. So they switched to paintings of beautiful flowers instead.

Zalipie-painted village

Photo: Poland MFA

The cover-ups are no longer necessary with modern kitchens and better ventilation, but the Zalipie-folk still hold on to their tradition. Over time, the patterns have become more intricate and sophisticated. And they aren’t just limited to homes. If you walk into Zalipie, you can find hand-painted chicken coups, bins, dog kennels, wells, water buckets and all other immovable objects. Even the village bridge has had its beauty ‘enhanced’ by these floral prints.

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Photo: Poland MFA

In older times, Zalipie women made their own paint brushes using the tail hair of local cows. The pigments were organic too – sourced locally with fat from dumplings, a technique that gave the paint body. The women would repaint the flowers on their houses once a year during the Corpus Christi feast, when they didn’t have much farm work to do.

Zalipie-painted village3

Photo: Poland MFA

Today, Zalipie-folk have an annual competition during the feast to celebrate their age-old tradition. Local painters, mostly women, compete by creating intricate floral arrangements on the walls of houses, and also touching up patterns from previous years.

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Photo: Poland MFA

The story of Zalipie’s unique art form is incomplete without mentioning one woman in particular – Felicja Curylowa – who lived in the early 20th century. She had become so obsessed that she painted the flowers on every possible surface of her three-bedroom home – the wall décor, bedspreads, pillows covers, furniture and even the ceiling. Her home has now been converted into a museum by the village-folk.

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Photo: Poland MFA

Surprisingly, tourists are still something of a novelty in Zalipie, and are regarded with curiosity by locals, which is probably for the best.

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Photo: Poland MFA

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Photo: Poland MFA

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Photo: Magro_kr

Zalipie-painted village9

Photo: Magro_kr

Zalipie-painted village10

Photo: Magro_kr

Zalipie-painted village11

Photo: Magro_kr

Zalipie-painted village12

Photo: Poland MFA

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Photo: mksfca

Source: Kuriositas


   

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