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Podhale and Tatra Mountains - Repository of knowledge

Decorated wooden canopy seen from behind the tree leaves
The folk culture of Podhale can be discovered in numerous museums, which are popular tourist attractions for visitors from all over Poland and even from Europe. The Podhale inhabitants themselves are also eager to visit them. This is not an empty phrase: the number of people visiting the local museums is almost twice as high as in the rest of the country. Where should you start?

First of all, from Dr Tytus Chałubiński Tatra Museum in Zakopane. The museum, named after the promoter of Zakopane and the Tatra Mountains, is a real treasury of knowledge about the nature, culture and art of Podhale. Branches of the Tatra Museum are also worth visiting, to name just a couple of them: Museum of the Zakopane Style at the “Koliba” villa, Museum of the 1846 Chochołów Uprising in Chochołów or Manor in Łopuszna.

For those who want to learn more about the history of the region, we recommend the Podhale Museum in Nowy Targ, located in the building of the former town hall and the Museum of Fight and Martyrdom “Palace” in Zakopane, located in the place of executions taking place during World War II. The walls covered with notes of prisoners held in the hands of the Gestapo are particularly shocking. If you think visiting museums is boring, Podhale will quickly make you rethink this attitude. All you need to do is follow the trail of nature and architecture of the region, and start your trip with an extremely modern facility, which is the TPN Nature Education Centre with the largest model of the Tatra Mountains in the country and 4D cinema or the Peatland Promotion and Protection Centre in Chochołów.

A visit to the foothills of the Tatra Mountains is a unique opportunity to get to know the examples of Podhale architecture and Zakopane style. We especially recommend the live open-air museum in Chochołów, where the residents still live in neat wooden huts and walk along ul. Kościeliska in Zakopane. The Zakopane style can be admired by visiting the Czerwony Dwór villa – the Native Culture Centre and villas built on high foundations: Pod Jedlami, Oksza, Koliba, decorated with pazdurs (ornaments on the ridge) and słoneczka (narrow slats). Or maybe a trip following the trail of the regional celebrities? Zakopane invites to biographical museums, such as the Kornel Makuszyński Museum, the Karol Szymanowski Museum at the Atma villa and the Jan Kasprowicz Museum at Harenda hill. An important place in the hearts of the inhabitants of the region is occupied by Sabała – the Homer of Tatras, a singer and storyteller who accompanied with his music and word several well-known personalities during their expeditions to the Tatra Mountains in the second half of the 19th century. A house belonging to his family has survived to this day in Zakopane, it is known as Chata Sabały (Sabała's Hut). We also recommend to see Tischnerówka in Łopuszna – the memory house dedicated to Fr. Józef Tischner.

Art lovers should visit the Włodzimierz and Jerzy Kulczycki Art Gallery and the Władysław Hasior Gallery. In turn, those who want to commune with the contemporary culture of the region are recommended a visit to the Bukowina Culture Centre “People's House”. Following the local technology monuments will lead you to the Printing Museum in Nowy Targ.

And at the end of our “journey” around the Podhale museums, a pearl of the region – oscypek! At the Oscypek Museum in Zakopane, you will not only taste different types of oscypek cheese, but you will also be given the opportunity to prepare your own cheese. Bon apetit!

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