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Tatra Muzeum in Zakopane Posted by on Aug 30, 2011 in Culture, Geography, Places to visit

What’s so refreshing about a visit to The Tatra Museum (Muzeum Tatrzańskie) in Zakopane, in the southern Tatra Mountains in Poland, is that the artefacts on display don’t belong to some long-past culture or dying traditions. Rather, the exhibits in this splendid building explain a rich local culture that is very much alive on the streets outside.

An hour to wander through the Museum is all that’s needed to understand that Zakopane is no ‘highlander’ theme park. The costumes, textiles, leather goods, folk art and crafts, musical instruments, and carved wooden furniture, cooking, and domestic utensils, that you see in the exhibits are the same ones that you see around the town.

Zakopane’s locals don’t dress in their traditional costumes for tourists, they don’t decorate their homes and restaurants in a rustic style to charm visitors, and the new gabled wooden houses going up all over Zakopane with their carved decorative turrets, doors and balconies, aren’t intended to create a highlander Disneyworld. The locals are simply very proud of their rich culture and are determined to keep it alive.

The museum itself is in a very nice building, which was the last building designed by architect Stanisław Witkiewicz, who was famous for establishing the Zakopane Style of architecture you see around the town that became synonymous with the Tatra highlander house. Built predominantly from wood, perhaps with stone on the ground level, the houses boast sloped roofs, and decorative balconies, windows, and doors, with pretty carved or cut out motifs that are the same as those you see on the costumes and textiles.

Definitely check it out if you are in Zakopane!

Do następnego razu… (Till next time…)

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About the Author:Kasia

My name is Kasia Scontsas. I grew up in Lublin, Poland and moved to Warsaw to study International Business. I have passion for languages: any languages! Currently I live in New Hampshire. I enjoy skiing, kayaking, biking and paddle boarding. My husband speaks a little Polish, but our daughters are fluent in it! I wanted to make sure that they can communicate with their Polish relatives in our native language. Teaching them Polish since they were born was the best thing I could have given them! I have been writing about learning Polish language and culture for Transparent Language’s Polish Blog since 2010.