Zalipie as a painted village was discovered in 1905 by Wladyslaw Hickel who described it in the ethnographic journal “Lud”. He was fascinated with the local tradition of painting houses in colourful floral patterns. This custom started at the end of 19th century when old-fashioned furnaces were replaced with more modern enclosed fires and chimneys. Before that, the soot-blackened walls were only brighten with circular patches of lime mixed with wood ash but since the new furnaces with chimneys appeared, ornaments started to be more sophisticated. Women started to decorate not only interiors of their cottages but also outer walls, farm buildings, fences and even dog kennels and tree trunks.
The most talented and famous painter was Felicja Curylowa whose farmstead was turned into the museum in 1978, four years after her death. But Felicja Curylowa was well known not only in Zalipie. She was the author of paintings in the dining room of Batory ship, she also painted interiors of famous restaurant Wierzynek in Krakow. She was frequent winner of local house-painting competition that have been organized annually in Zalipie since 1965. The name of this contest is Malowana Chata (Painted Cottage) and it takes place on the first weekend after the Corpus Christi Feast. This is also the best time to visit Zalipie. Zalipie village is not an open-air museum, most of the buildings are actual functioning households. Also school, post office and church were painted in colourful flower compositions. Zalipie is a unique place to visit and there aren’t many other tourists (yet).