In the 19th century, the women of the small village of Zalipie in Poland decided to bring their regular paint jobs to a new level. Because the soot blowing from their fireplaces constantly darkened their walls, they had to repaint their interiors every so often. Whitewashing probably became boring that they thought drawing flowers on the walls seemed fun. And so the custom grew, and the floral patterns spread onto their outer walls, onto pots, fences, wells, outhouses, doghouses, and even the village church. The village then became renown as the “Painted Village,” as charming and photogenic as any provincial town could be, and the center of Polish decorative folk art.
Though widely known across the country, Zalipie manages to keep from mainstream tourist crowding. Visitors of the village are often met with warm smiles and friendly greetings, with some wives gladly ushering them into their extraordinarily decorated houses for a tour.
The best time to visit the town would be during their festival right after Corpus Christi, when a town-wide competition is held for the most beautifully decorated house. There you can find the most impressive displays of folk painting found in Poland covering the most unlikely everyday objects, such as chicken coops and roadside signages. You can find Zalipie 35 kilometers north of Tarnow, reachable by either car or ferry.
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