The town of Zakopane Poland has a very long, rich history that dates back as far as the late 17th century. And what started out as a village that consisted of no more than 43 inhabitants is now a town consisting of close to 30,000, with an influx of more than 250,000 visitors every year, due much in part to the world-class hiking, snowboarding, and skiing. But many visitors realize when they get here that Zakopane history is well worth exploring too, as there is much in the way of a historical journey to do.
Throughout the history of the town it has metamorphosed from a small mining town to a bit larger health resort town to the large ski resort town that it is today, and it also has a rather artistic history as well. If you have time during your Zakopane holiday to take a historical journey of the town you will surely not be disappointed, particularly if you include a few specific places that are in and around Zakopane in your itinerary. These places will help you to grasp the true nature of historical Zakopane and all of the things that made it the wonderful town that it is today. After all, you need something besides skiing to tell all of your friends and family about back home. And a few specific places are well worth writing home about for sure.
Historic Sites to See – Historic sites offer the most relevant and the most accurate documentation of history, as the sites themselves are evidence of whatever type of history has taken place at a given site. Often when you visit such sites you can almost feel the history in the air and this really helps to connect you to the past, as well as to the culture of a specific area. Every country has such historic sites that not only mean something to their own people, but many others around the world that are moved by history in general too. There is no shortage of these sites in Poland and there are a couple in particular that you should take time to visit when you are in Zakopane.
- Niedzica Castle – Castles are some of the most sought out sites to see in any country, mainly because there presence generally represents a very long ago time. Niedzica Castle is no different than many others around the world in this respect, but it is unique in its own ways as well. The castle dates back to the 14 century, so it is even older than Zakopane itself, and it was constructed with limestone. Over the years it has had a number of owners and has been the part of a significant amount of history.
- The Old Graveyard – Not everybody is too keen on visiting graveyards, but they definitely represent much of a town’s history. The Old Graveyard in Zakopane is no different in this respect, but it is unique in a number of other ways. If a cemetery could ever be charming than this is it, as many of the grave markers are interesting works of art that are made from wood, much different from your typical cemetery for sure. Add to that the fact that there are numerous notable local people buried here and the Old Graveyard makes for a very interesting sightseeing trip.
Museums and Art Galleries – Museums and art galleries that feature local wares and the works of local artists are also a great way to explore a town’s history. Museums tend to house items that have been important in a town throughout its history, while art offers a unique look into a town’s past by providing an image of what something used to be. Zakopane has a number of both that are well worth visiting. And even if you are not necessarily a history buff you will surely be able to enjoy the stories that the items at the museums and galleries tell about Zakopane history.
- The Tatry Museum – The Tatry Museum is a great place to learn about the history of the Tatry Mountains, specifically the wildlife that has existed in the mountains throughout their history. The museum itself is a piece of history, as it dates back to 1888, and it has been housed in many buildings and seen many transformations along the way. In addition to the various animal exhibits there are also a number of exhibits that portray works from the folk art era as well. And of course the beautiful architecture of the building is representative of the style that is well-known as originating in Zakopane. This is a museum that definitely incorporates multiple aspects of Zakopane history, so it is a one-stop-shop for learning a little bit about the town, the mountains, and Poland in general.
- The Wladyslaw Hasior Gallery – For more history, and a little bit of the unusual, you can take a trip to the Wladyslaw Hasior Gallery. This is a smaller museum, which is housed in a sanatorium that is no longer in use, and the artwork that is exhibited here is nothing if not eerie and unique. The artist of the works that you will find in the gallery not only created the art itself but also the art exhibition as well, which makes the whole experience even more interesting. Visitors to the gallery will be taken back to a time when art was far from simple, and they will have the opportunity to be surprised at the turn of every corner.
History is all around in Zakopane Poland, but there are a few places that will really help you to understand the history of the culture of Zakopane even better. These places are visited by so many for a reason, because the history of Zakopane is surely interesting, and these places tell the story. By visiting them you can return home with more than just ski stories to tell, as well as a little knowledge about a very fascinating town.