The wooden houses on both sides of the street looked quite old. They were made in a particular style, typical of Zakopane region. The road was cleared of snow but the parked cars and pathways were still covered with tons of it. So were the fences along the road and the cute lampposts with sloping roofs. A dreamy surrounding, I must say. It looked like as if I was walking along a wooden trail. 🙂
I was in the old part of Zakopane passing through a street called Koscieliska, heading towards an old church.
Many guests to Zakopane limit their visit to strolling on the town’s main streets such as Krupowki Street. While I do not discourage them from doing so, I also recommend taking a slight detour and visiting this interesting ‘wooden’ place.
Old wooden Church at Koscieliska Street
This oldest church Stary Kościół (Old Church) on Koscieliska Street was built between 1845-1851 and was consecrated in 1851. Built by Paweł Gąsienica, it was the first sacred building in Zakopane.
What is more interesting is that this chapel’s all interiors including various sculptures such as Black Madonna and Christ are made of wood! It also has charming carved wooden decorations and pews. The Stations of the Cross are painted on glass on the windows.
Saw dust between the thick wooden planks.
The design of the church tends to follow a pattern. The walls are made of wooden thick planks without the use of nails. Each plank is carefully fitted with pegs and gaps between them are filled with saw dust. The fully airtight walls also help in keeping the chapel warm in sub zero temperatures. The body of the building rises into a steeply pitched, shingled roof with a single bell-tower.
Sculptures, altar, walls, pews… all interiors are wooden.
Old Stone chapel besides the wooden church.
There is also a stone chapel standing beside this Old Church which is said to be about 30 years older and is in fact the oldest existing structure in Zakopane. It is very small in size just like a single room with high sloping roof and a bell tower which looks like a chimney. I guess it is not in use anymore.
Zakopane is only four centuries old and was founded as a farmers and shepherds’ settlement. Legend is that one day a man called Gąsienica came here with his sons Paweł and Jędrzej and they built a mill here. For more than two decades Zakopane remained a godforsaken village. In the middle of the 18th century, a steelworks was set up to process iron ore mined in The Tatras in nearby Kuźnice. There were also the owners’ manors that welcomed travelers visiting the mountains.
How could, then, the beauty of the nearby sunny valley of Zakopane left undiscovered? Soon people started thronging it. It was then Paweł Gąsienica was requested to build a church in Zakopane.
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