Wooden architecture

 

Proximity of the Forest, and hence, abundance of wood material, shaped the character of the local architecture from its origins. A local carpenter craft was always well-respected and perfected over the centuries.

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Choose one of our BICYCLE ROUTES or just go through villages settlements to feel a bit of the atmosphere of old times. You will see how harmoniously traditional architecture merges into landscape.

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TRADITIONAL HOUSES

The oldest wooden houses that have survived to our times come from the late 19th century. They are often beautifully ornamented from the outside and with shuttered windows.

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The interior of the house consists of a porch, a chamber and a living room. Another layout was a living room and a chamber for potatoes with a separated small bedroom called ”pristienok”. The chamber, situated in front of the porch, was usually dark inside. Sometimes there was a small window in the wall. With time the living room was divided by a oblong stove into two rooms. The stove determined the house space and played a central role in house living. First of all it served to bake bread and prepare other meals. There was a place to sleep called ”leżanka” where an illness person was laid to get better. People had always a lot of respect for a traditional stove as a place where corn mash turned into bread.

LIVING ROOM

A central and multi-purpose room of the house. Everyone slept, ate and rested here. Activities of the household as a meal preparation, laundry, as well as making food for the animals were usually done here. During big frosts, calves, lambs, poultry, were brought to the house for warming. In cold months people stay here most of time focusing on a domestic manufacturing. All family and religious ceremonies and holidays took place in this room.

PORCH

It protected the living room from cold. Economic tools were placed here as millstones, pestles, sickles etc. Coming from outdoor people took off their workwear here.

CHAMBER

The chamber served and still functions primarily as a storeroom. Formerly there were bodies – gouged in trunks, where flour was kept . Today we still meet barrels of sauerkraut, various woods dishes, bowls stored in the chamber.

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 ICONS AND DECORATION

They were in each room of house and other economic buildings. Icons protected a property against robbery and fire. The icon hanging in a chamber was colorfully decorated with a painted curtain of white paper. The icon in a living room had a long, embroidered towel. On walls there were tapestries of white cloth and ”kartiny” – aplenty of little photos attached to a framed cardboard.

TABLE

Among other equipment it always had its unique role. Standing under the icons the table was an important part of so-called ”the holy angle” – a place where people prayed, gathered for meal and made important decisions for their lifes. The table was covered with a white, oblong towel called ” nastolnica”. A loaf of bread had to always be present, saying “if bread is not on the table, there is no a good householder in the house”, ”if no bread on the table, none of girls will marry a householder’s son.

 

 RELIGIOUS BUILDINGS

Orthodox churches are constructed according to certain form which is full of religious symbolism. The altar always faces East, as it is from the East that the sun rises, bringing light and life. East is also where the biblical paradise was located and where the salvation came from.

The shape of the temple is also meaningful. The shape of a ship evokes the idea of Church sheltering faithful in their passage through life which is like the rough sea. The shape of the cross refers to Christ’s cross and victory over death and sin. Circle-shaped construction symbolises eternity and infinity of Church.

Since most ancient times churches have been topped with domes flat or “onion-like” ones. They symbolise the sky, heaven, the realm of God, angels and saints. The onion-like shape, resembling candle flame, pictures the zeal of prayer and striving for God. Finally, even the number of domes has its meaning.

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Inside the church you will see frescoes, icons, candles and oil lamps. You will also see the iconostasis, like a wall of icons placed in a particular order. It divides the space for the faithful from the altar. Altar is the most holy place in the temple, heaven on earth, dwelling of God. In the centre of it there is prestol, the throne of God, which looks like an ornamented table on which the Liturgy is consecrated and Eucharist placed.

Church offices are chanted with no use of instruments, only the voice itself. Interestingly, the language of prayer and, likewise, the inscriptions on icons are not in Polish but in Church-Slavonic, an ancient language reserved for the Church.

 

SEE ON MAP RELIGIOUS BUILDINGS

 


Europejski Fundusz Rolny na rzecz Rozwoju Obszarów Wiejskich. Europa inwestująca w obszary wiejskie. Projekt współfinansowany ze środków Unii Europejskiej w ramach osi 4 Leader. Program Rozwoju Obszarów Wiejskich na lata 2007-2013. Projekt zrealizowany przez Stowarzyszenie Metamorphosis. Instytucja zarządzająca Programem Rozwoju Obszarów Wiejskich na lata 2007-13 Minister Rolnictwa i Rozwoju Wsi