In the old times, in this small Polish village named “Zalipie”, people used to paint flowers on their ceiling to hide all the soot marks that were caused by their stove. One has to bear in mind these were old wooden houses, ventilation was pretty poor back in those times, so soot stains were a pretty common problem for any old household. This little village started a technique of covering those stains with pretty flower paintings and the trend was born. Soon every house in the village was completely covered with these beautiful flowers.
It all started in the 19th-century with the implementation of chimneys into houses. Before that, the smoke was supposed to come out through a hole in the ceiling, but instead was coming into the rooms, covering the walls with soot, so those often had to be whitened with lime. Chimneys helped white surfaces to remain white, so people decided to use those white walls as a canvas for flower paintings. And at some point, this flower painting spiraled out of control and engulfed the whole village, which even had the Painted Cottage Competition (Malowana Chata in Polish).
Now the painting is done and the whole village stands as an inhabited gallery, which celebrates color and nature’s beauty daily.
Zalipie, Poland is perhaps one of the most beautiful villages in Poland, but surely the most colorful one. It is known for its tradition of painting special, folksy flower patterns.
The whole village is painted and it charms people with its special atmosphere. There is no other place like that – the paintings are unique. And they are everywhere – not only houses are painted, but also barns, dog kennels, walls, furniture, fences, clothes, you name it!
There are more than 30 houses entirely covered with flower patterns, but there are a few especially worth seeing. One of them is The House of the Women Painters.
It is a center of culture in Zalipie and a folk museum. When you’re there, you can even see how the flowers are painted and make your own souvenir! What is also essential while visiting the village is Saint Joseph’s church. This striking building is covered with polish folk flowers from the inside, creating an unforgettable image.
In Zalipie not only can you admire these exceptional works of art, but you can also learn something about people who used to live in this village – their way of living, their inventions, their stories. It is extremely fascinating to explore and indulge in this creativity – it’s like a whole new world!
Apart from the paintings, Zalipie is surrounded by amazing green landscapes. It is full of trees, colorful gardens with hollyhocks (traditional flowers), and fresh air. Despite its popularity, the village is very quiet and is the perfect place to relax and unwind.
A brief story of Zalipie
- The tradition of painting flowers started in the late nineteenth century when women in Zalipie started to cover surfaces dirty from soot with white paint and then, colorful patterns.
- Their paint was made with powdered dye and milk.
- The patterns soon became flowers and the tradition was becoming more and more popular.
- Even during the World War II tradition was alive and the painters – active.
- One of them was Felicja Curyło, the most famous painter in Zalipie and whose house was almost fully covered with flowers.
- Today, the tradition is continued in the village and has many followers. Through competitions, exhibitions, and festivals the uniqueness of the tradition will never die.
Today, they are dozens of painted houses in Zalipie. The flowers, patterns, and colors are one of the kind. They are the most important element of the village’s landscape.
What is interesting about the flower patterns is that each one of them is unique. They do not copy any particular kind of flower! Instead, they just show the painters’ imagination and vision.