Travel

Every inch of this small town is covered with floral art

You’ve never seen countryside charm quite like this before. Tucked away in obscurity less than two hours from Krakow is the sleepy little farming town of Zalipie. You’ve probably never heard of this place, but those who have are likely familiar with its colourful secret: the villagers are obsessed with painting flowers everywhere!

Perhaps a fitting introduction to Zalipie would be Felicja Curyłowa, the most famous of its flower-loving residents. Her home was converted into a museum after she passed away in 1974, and could very well be the first stop in town for a tourist.

She went so far with the practice “that she adorned almost every surface of her three-bedroom cottage with flowers…painting everything from her spoons to her light bulbs.”

So how exactly did this tradition come about? Stories trace it back to around a century ago, with the reason for the first floral murals being the soot marks old-fashioned furnaces were creating. Zalipie’s women were quite incensed by these, and chose to be proactive in beautifying their homes.

Soon enough, the villagers realized they had a shared appreciation for floral art, so they started doing it everywhere from garage doors to mailboxes. In an effort to boost morale after the Second World War, the Polish government began to support the tradition, turning it into an annual friendly competition called Malowana Chata (Painted Cottage). The rest is history.

How’s that for a detour on your European road trip?

For more awesome photos of Zalipie, visit this gallery.