A tiny village in southeast Poland is heralded because of its custom that was unusual. Every home, well, barn, and a church are covered in lovely, decorative painted flowers. As the little farming village bursts with color, only 90 minutes from Krakow, the secluded town of Zalipie, feels a world away.
One narrative relates that it started due to poor ventilation for stoves, although it is not totally clear. As they would leak soot on the ceiling, women began to paint flowers over the marks to tidy up—and brighten up—their houses. And as venting improved, villagers—mostly women—continued to carry out the folk art, moving to bridges and everything in between.
The custom has continued to weather, and every spring following Corpus Cristi, villagers host the Painted Cottage competition or Malowana Chata. There’s nothing like a little neighborly competition to get the creative juices flowing, together with the contest happening annually since 1948.