The unusual and impressive painted village Zalipie, located in South East Poland, in the past was just an ordinary village with ordinary people. The houses, the church, the school and barns were ordinary, too. But one day, some very wealthy and smart guys replaced old-fashioned furnaces with more modern enclosed fires and chimneys.
But the villagers of Zalipie were confused, because before that major change, all buildings in their village were ornamented with circular patches of lime mixed with wood, and they were bright and clean. Men were depressed, so they couldn’t do anything. Women, considering about the men, decided to take care of it. They started to paint and color every single corner of the village that became beautiful again. And they lived happily ever after.
Ok, I’m going to confess you that one thing in this story was completely made up, that one when men were depressed, but the rest of the story is true.
The tradition started at the end of 19th century. Women reeeally started to decorate this village, not just in the inside, but also in the outside : walls, farm buildings, fences and even dog kennels and tree trunks. From that time, the village started its unusual tradition. The small farming village bursted and bursts with color. Zalipie became a signature of floral painted walls, but it became a national mark, too. It became the untold fairy tale, just 90 minutes from Krakow. When you passing by those decorated walls and houses, it seems like whole another world, far far away, totally unreal and unbelievable.
Zalipie is top tourist attraction in this part of the country. The fact which proves its extremely popularity is that people from this village manufacture themselves all necessary equipment for painting, they manufactured the brushes, using hair from the tails of their cows. Unfortunately, it isn’t an open-air museum, because most of the buildings are actual functioning households.
To keep the tradition alive, the villagers of Zalipie have that honor to host the Painted Cottage competition every year. Each spring, when the weather becomes warmer, leaves and plants start to grow again and flowers appear, this little paradise, becomes more and more magnificent with its creative juices flowing. Since 1948 this competition, known as Malowana Chata, celebrates another special occasion. During the WWII, Poland, as many other countries, was devastated and ruined. 17% of the population died and the big damage was done at Zalipie. This was an attempt by officials to stitch scars. The most interesting fact is that these motives are repainted every single year. You don’t need to be Michelangelo, Goya or Paul Gauguin to be recognized, just be unique.
If you decide to visit this big atelier, be careful not to be painted, because your new Chanel wasn’t borrowed from a thrift shop. I’m pretty sure that you wouldn’t like the tradition of Something Borrowed, Something New.