Wooden Churches of Southern Małopolska (UNESCO)

Haczow_wooden churchDefinetely not so popular as the highlights of Małopolska – Cracow or Wieliczka, but absolutely worth seeing. Why?

  • All of these unique wooden(!) churches survived hundreds of years. They were sponsored by noble families between 14th and 16th century.
  • All of them gives us an opportunity to enter the world of medieval architecture and art that existed as an alternative to the buildings made of stone or brick.
  • Each one is different, however they’ve got much in common (the horizontal log technique, wooden shingle roofs, atmosphere of the interior).
  • Visiting these places you will have a chance to touch, see, smell and even hear the past. To learn more please click here.

Four of the churches are situated in the southern Małopolska, two of them (Blizne&Haczów) – in Podkarpacie (map). It’s possible to see them all in one day, but it would be better to take advantage of your journey and visit some other places in the area (please check here).

However most of these beautiful churches aren’t situated by the main roads, searching for them shouldn’t be difficult thanks to the special wayfinding sings and information boards. But if you’ve got a problem – especially in the summer time – always look for the green island of old/high trees that often make the church invisible.

Remember – you may always admire the outside structure of the churches, but it is not obvious that you may enter each of them anytime. Dębno Podhalańskie, Lipnica Murowana, Sękowa and Binarowa are situated on The Wooden Architecture Route in Małopolska (Polish: “Szlak architektury drewnianej w Małopolsce” or “Małopolski szlak architektury drewnianej”; more information HERE), so for sure you may visit all of them from 1st May until 30th September every Thursday, Friday, Saturday (9 a.m. – 1 p.m. and 1.30 p.m.- 6 p.m.) and Sunday (12 a.m. – 5 p.m.). That’s definetely the best option to make a visit.

If you want to see the churches of The Wooden Architecture Route in Podkarpacie (Polish “Szlak architektury drewnianej w województwie podkarpackim”; check more here – Polish only) it might be a little bit more complicated, but it doesn’t have to. The Haczów church (according to the website) is open to visitors everyday from 8 a.m. till 4 p.m. The church in Blizne is open during the season (April – October) from Monday till Friday 9 a.m.-5 p.m., Saturdays 10 a.m. – 4 p.m., Sundays 12 a.m.-3 p.m. Out of season you may enter the church only if you informed the right person in advance. The telephone number and current information you should find here.

It’s always important not to visit the churches during the services (please respect it everywhere), but there is always an option to make a visit before the Holy Mass or another prayer. Usually the church is open about half an hour before the service. It’s also good to know that often the church cleaning is on Saturday mornings or noons – then people don’t mind tourists, but please avoid walking on the wet floor (someone can get nervous;).

If you find the church closed check if there is any information about the key to the church (Polish: “klucz do kościoła”) or about opening (Polish: “otworzyć/otwarty”) or visiting (Polish: “zwiedzanie”). Usually you will find such an information (on the main door or on a special board on/or near the church) as well as the telephone number you may call (remember to put 0048 in the begining). Of course you shouldn’t expect that the responder will speak English, but you can always try to communicate. If visiting out of season (Polish: “poza sezonem”) is possible only for organised groups of tourists you should find a senstence like: “tylko zwiedzanie grupowe/tylko grupy zorganizowane”. “Individual tourists” is “turyści indywidualni”. All of those might be usefull, even if you can’t say it. Remember also that local people might help you in getting information, especially school children and teenagers who all learn English at school. Please note: it would be appropriate to make a small donation, especially if someone opened the church for you. Sometimes you need to buy a ticket to enter the church, but it is not expensive. It also might happend that taking pictures inside is not allowed (this is also why you won’t see many pictures of interiors below).

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