Archive for the ‘Zakopane’ Category

Morskie Oko

In Europe, Poland, Zakopane on June 16, 2011 at 4:59 am

On our last day in Zakopane the weather was chancy so instead of hiking up to Morskie Oko (literally Eye of the Sea) we decided to take a horse-drawn cart. Morskie Oko is the largest lake in the Tatra National Park, and one of the most recognizable outdoor destinations in the area as it provides a multitude of hiking trails suitable for all and  breathtaking views. The pond is not only beautiful engulfed by mist and snow-covered peaks, it also emanates mysterious charm which can probably be attributed to a certain folk legend claiming Morskie Oko is in fact connected with the sea via underground passages.


Art in the Tatras

In Europe, Poland, Zakopane on June 9, 2011 at 11:36 pm

Zakopane is not only the capital of Polish mountaineering tradition, but also a place where 19th and 20th century artists thrived inspired by local folklore and wild nature. During the most recent visit to Zakopane I had a chance to explore an wonderful exhibition of artworks  linked with the Polish highland region Podhale, created between 1880-1939. It’s a blend of contemporary European aesthetics with the local imagery and folklore.

The exhibition of 20th Century Art is held at historical Villa Oksza, currently a property of the Tatra Museum, which in itself is a 116-year old historical landmark reflecting a unique architectural style developed by Stanisław Ignacy Witkiewicz at the end of 19th century, with hope of creating….

(…) a home which would settle all existing doubts about the possibility of adapting folk architecture to the requirements deriving from the more complex and sophisticated needs of comfort and beauty (…) that it will possess the full range of comforts yet simultaneously be beautiful in a fundamentally Polish way.”

I’m not very familiar with other names that have shaped art which once blossomed at the foot of the Tatra Mountains, but I’m greatly fascinated by the persona of Stanisław Ignacy Witkiewicz (also known as Witkacy) who as versatile, hot-blooded and a mysterious character keeps inspiring fondness for Zakopane’s intriguing folklore and invites its visitors to ponder on the influence of wild nature on humans. His works – photographs, paintings, plays – are ignited by a genius ability to exaggerate and underscore the oddities within his subjects.

Summer in Zakopane

In Poland, Zakopane on May 30, 2011 at 10:56 pm

We spent four days breathing fresh crispy air and walking down the trails. Though it was no recluse experience – we were constantly surrounded by crowds of amateur hikers;  it was nice to be one step closer to wilderness and experience the last traces of the authentic local folklore. I must admit, I struggled quite a lot trying to capture the alluring charm of Zakopane as I hold on to in my memory, unspoiled by vendors selling plastic souvenirs and tacky ads flooding the streets. The reality of the people is a harsh one, their livelihood being heavily dependent on the tourism economy and the ability to make compromises. It is the challenge of preserving the vigor of regional traditions while re-imagining it for the sake of salability.

Folk Wedding in Podhale Region