Zakopane and the Tatra MountainsThe history and customs of Podhale Anna Marszałek, Justyna Sroka, Agnieszka Zając
Introduction The project shows pictures of the winter capital of Poland, Zakopane, the Tatra mountain region of Podhale and its inhabitants górals. It focuses on the culture of the Tatra mountain region and presents its customs and legends.
Zakopane is a town in southern Poland. It lies in the Podhale region at the foot of the TatraMountains, near the border with Slovakia. The town has an elevation of 838 meters abovethe sea level. Zakopane can be easily reached from Kraków, which is about two and a halfhours away.
Zakopane in the 19th and in the 21st century:Zakopane was founded as a small village in the 16th century. It expanded in the 19thcentury when it developed into a climatic health resort of 3,000 inhabitants. Nowadays ishas a population of about 28,000 (2004). Zakopane is a centre of góral culture and is knowninformally as "the winter capital of Poland.” It is a popular destination for mountaineering,skiing, and tourism.
Fashion for Zakopane In the second half of the 19th century Zakopane became a popular destination for many Helena Modrzejewskafamous people. The list of notable residents of the town includes such people as a world-knownactress - Helena Modrzejewska and a Nobel prize winner - Henryk Sienkiewicz.
The beauty of the mountains in paintingsThe beautiful landscape of the Podhale region inspired many artists. Leon Wyczółkowski,who was one of the leading artists of the modernist Polish art, painted dramatic mountainlandscapes. The pictures show Morskie Oko, a famous lake in the Tatra Mountains and theGiewont massif at sunset.
Walery Radzikowski, a co-founder of the Polish Tatra Society, was another artist connectedwith Zakopane. He started to paint the landscapes of the mountains in 1861. Moreover,Radzikowski published and illustrated guidebooks for mountaineers. Some of his paintingsdepict the beginnings of tourism in the Tatra mountains.
Karol Szymanowski, HarnasieThe góral legends and culture was an inspiration fora famous Polish composer, Karol Szymanowski. In 1923-1931 he composed a ballet-pantomime Harnasie. It is basedon a legend of a love story between a robber (Harnaś) anda beautiful girl.
Zakopane Style Architecture Zakopane distinguishes itself by its unique architecture. The synthesis of the style was created by Stanisław Witkiewicz, an acknowledged art critic, architect and writer. Zakopane style combines traditional góral decorations with art nouveau motives.
Zakopane as a sport centreNowadays, Zakopane is an important tourist centre and thousands of people from Poland andabroad are attracted to its beautiful surroundings. The town is also known as the wintersports centre, most notably thanks to ski jumping world cups. Wielka Krokiew is Poland’smost famous ski jump.
Wedding customs and outfitsof the contemporary górals
The Wedding Day The newlyweds are highlanders (górals) and they come from Leśnica – Groń which lies approximately 14 km north-east of Zakopane, and 74 km south of Kraków.
Pytace (Polish pytać-to ask) The first distinctive custom is the role of the bride and bridegroom’s friends, who are called pytace (from Polish pytać – to ask). In the past they used to visit every house in the village and invite people to the wedding. Nowadays, they ride on horseback through the village and sing that the bride is leaving her home so that everyone in the village knows this. They are a kind of masters of ceremony. They sing and they ride in front of the bride and bridegroom to the church.
Parents bless their children Bartłomiej’s father is wearing a traditional outfit. He blesses his son. This custom is supposed to bring the newlyweds happiness and show that parents approve of their marriage. In the right corner Izabela’s parents bless the couple.
Parents welcome the newlyweds with breadand salt Parents welcome their children with bread and salt. Bread symbolizes wisdom, fertility, and hospitability. Salt is connected with respect and permanence. In the right corner we can see the custom of drinking from glasses which are later thrown in the air. If the glasses break, the couple will be happy in their marriage.
Ocepiny Ocepiny. Starościna (the bride’s godmother) has to give vodka and food (bananas, chocolates, sausages) to pytace, which is a kind of a ransom. They sing funny songs and want to take as much as possible.
Górals’ traditional outfit Men’s outfit: Kapelusz – a black felt hat with shells and a feather Cucha – a cloak with an embroidery Portki – trousers made of woollen cloth, they have a distinctive highlanders’ motif – parzenica. Koszula – a white linen shirt Pas – a very wide belt with studs Kierpce – shoes tied to legs with straps
Górals’ traditional outfit Women’s outfit: Korale- a red necklace Gorset – a flowery corset made of velvet, tied with a red ribbon Kierpce – shoes made of leather Spódnica – a flowery pleated skirt Koszula – a white linen shirt
Variations on górals’ outfit Modern outfits, very fashionable nowadays: a black shirt, a yellow corset, a blue ribbon.
Variations on górals’ outfit The day after the wedding day: the newlyweds are wearing modern outfits with traditional motives. The bride is wearing a modern dress with a highlander motif – parzenica. The corset is tied with a red ribbon. Izabela is wearing red earrings and a red necklace. The bridegroom is wearing modern trousers but the shirt has a traditional parzenica embroidered on it. In conclusion, górals try to preserve their customs and culture, especially on important occasions. Nevertheless, their outfits change because of modern trends and fashions.
Janosik, the Polish Robin Hood Janosik was a robber, who with a group of friends plundered, robbed and burnt the houses of the rich. He was said to operate on both sides of the Tatra Mountains, Polish and Slovak and hide out in the forests at the foot of the Tatra Mountains. However, according to the legend, he never harmed the poor in any way; on the contrary, he gave them money and gifts. Folk tales present Janosik as a hero who had supernatural powers given to him by three witches whom he had met when he was young. Once seeing his extraordinary courage, they decided to make him the most famous robber in the whole history, and they gave him magical objects: an alpenstock , a shirt and a belt. Janosik always had the three gifts with him, for this reason he escaped many traps. However, he was betrayed by a girl whom he often visited and was captured. She craftily destroyed the witches’ gifts and then denounced the helpless Janosik to the soldiers.
The legend of Bolesław and his knights When King Boleslaw the Brave (Chrobry) died (11th century), Poland lost a very able and brave ruler, one who had united its lands and created a really great and powerful country. But is Boleslaw dead for ever? Some say ‘no’ and they tell a legend about Boleslaw and his Knights. They say that Boleslaw and his Knights who fought with him for the country went into a mountain near Zakopane called Giewont. This mountain forms part of the Tatra mountain range, and its shape, as seen from a certain angle looks like a body of a Sleeping Knight. According to the legend, within the mountain there is a huge dark cavern where King Boleslaw and his Knights sleep. They are mounted on horses, with their swords and lances beside them. And if Poland needs them in the time of great danger, then someone must awake them, and they will ride forward to serve their country. But once they have gone forward, they will never return.
Director: Wojciech Solarz The Legends of the Tatra Year: 1994 Mountains (1994) Production (country): Telewizja Polska SA (POLSKA) Genre: fiction; drama Producer: Filmcontract Ltd.; Telewizja Polska LEGENDA TATR (THE LEGENDS OF THE TATRA MOUNTAINS) The screenplay based on the motives of Na Skalnym Podhalu stories by Kazimierz Przerwa-Tetmajer. The film is a compendium of legends and folk traditions of the Podhale region. It is an attempt to make a collective portrait of górals and their culture.
Discussion 1. Describe a region of your country which has its own specific culture? 2. Are the wedding customs shown in the presentation similar to those in your country? What are the differences? 3. Do you know any legends or folk tales connected with some region of your country?