Zakopane. The pearl of the Tatra Mountains.
The symbol of Zakopane is definitely the Zakopane style, which perfectly harmonises with the landscape of the Tatras. This style was established at the end of the XIX century, and its main developer was Stanisław Witkiewicz, a father of the famous Witkacy. The oldest building constructed according to directives of Witkiewicz is Koliba villa made of wood in the years 1892–93 as a log construction; today it houses Stanisław Witkiewicz Museum of Zakopane Style. The significant beauty of construction can be seen in Pod Jedlami villa constructed with high, stone foundation, numerous eaves, and sculpture ornaments on facades. The classical example of the Zakopane style is a diminutive chapel in Jaszczurówka. Many buildings in that style can be found by one of the most famous streets in Poland: Krupówki. This promenade is the real heart of the city. There are many souvenirs shops here, restaurants, where you can taste local delicacies, stands with mountain cheese (including the most popular one – oscypek), as well as cafes, pubs and night clubs. It is a place where one of the best brick buildings constructed in the Zakopane style can be found, that is Tatra Museum. The wonderful collections are devoted to the nature of the Tatras, the history of tourism in the Tatras, and the folklore of highlanders from the Podhale.
Zakopane, since it was discovered as a tourist centre in the XIX century by doctor Tytus Chałubiński, was attracting many people of culture. It is proved in a small museum exhibition devoted to the poet Jan Kasprowicz, composer Karol Szymanowski or a writer Kornel Makuszyński, which can be visited in the city. Many famous Poles, which life is linked to Zakopane, were buried on a small cemetery in Pęksowy Brzysk. Some of the famous people buried here are: Tytus Chałubiński, Stanisław Witkiewicz and his son, a writer, painter and philosopher Stanisław Ignacy Witkiewicz referred to as Witkacy, a poet Kazimierz Przerwa-Tetmajer, writers: Władysław Orkan and Kornel Makuszyński, sportsmen: Bronisław Czech, Helena Marusarzówna and Stanisław Marusarz, as well as the founder of the Volunteer Tatra Mountains Rescue Service, gen. Mariusz Zaruski. Next to it there is the oldest church in Zakopane, i.e. the wooden sanctuary of St. Clemens and the Mother of God of Częstochowa from the year 1847. A few kilometres away from the centre tower one of the youngest sanctuaries in the city, i.e. the Sanctuary of Our Lady of Fatima in Krzeptówki. It was erected in the 80’s of the previous century as a votive offering for saving the life of John Paul II during his assassination in the year 1981. One of the modern attractions in Zakopane is Aqua Park which offers baths with thermal water. You can swim here and enjoy water massages with the view on Giewont mountain massif!
Worth seeing in the vicinity !
Kasprowy Wierch (6510 ft asl) – there is the cable car from Kużnice that takes you to the peak
Morskie Oko, mountain lake at the foot of the highest peak in Poland, i.e. Rysy (8197 ft asl), to which leads a comfortable surfaced road for hiking. It only takes a short walk to visit beautiful valleys: the Strążyska and Biała Valley.
Gubałówka can also be reached by a cable car. It is a perfect vantage point to admire landscape of the Tatra Mountains.
Aqua Parks in Szaflary and Bukowina Tatrzańska offer thermal waters.
Chochołów – a village where almost all houses are old, highland cottages constructed with logs from huge noble fir’s trunks. The cottages situated transversally to the road crossing the village constitute the unforgettable building complex, one of the kind in the whole region of the Podhale.