I limited myself to one skansen
(museum of traditional buildings and lifestyle) this trip. I'm glad I
did, because the
buildings didn't seem to change much around the country and there's
only so many nearly-identical cottages my wife can take.
That didn't stop me taking a few photos from time to time of
I chose this skansen, between
Kraków and Kielce because it was on our route anyway, and
because I knew it concentrated on small rural buildings. Of course you
can go inside and look around, but I only care for the outsides, so
that's what all the photos are of.
T01: The entry path, showing
the extremely sandy nature of the soil and a
T02: 1892 shoemaker’s cottage from Daleszyce (Kielce region).
Walls of pine, on a base of field stones, painted white. Shingled roof.
Enclosed in the high walled courtyard was a barn. This was from a small
T03: mid-C19 organist’s cottage from Bieliny (Kielce region).
Board and batten. Also from a small town.
T04: hen house from Bieliny, attached to T03. Log construction. No
T05: 1921 windmill of unpainted board and batten. Unlined inside. With
separate winch to rotate the mill (and stakes to anchor winch).
T06: 1862 dwelling and granary from Radkowice (Kielce region), with
earlier stables and pigsty. Formed into an enclosed square called an
“okol” (originally for defensive reasons) typical
Holy Cross Mountain region. Logs on stones, with only the dwelling
painted white. Note the odd thatching style.
T07: 1915 barn built as addition to T06. Rough log construction. No
T08: 1774 cottage from Suków (Kielce region). White logs on
stones, with a shingle roof and stone chimney. In the yard is a stable
and cow-shed, with a barn originally there as well. Note the layered
T09: 1858 Chroberz (south Kielce region) farm dwelling. Logs on stone.
Dwelling in white. Big gates to yard.
T10: c1890 Bronkowice (Kielce region) cottage. Note logs are round on
this one, and white on only two sides.
T11: 1758 Swiatniki (south Kielce region) cottage Uncertain building:
no labels inside and not in the guide book. Large stone base than
T12 1812 manor house from Suchedniów (Kielce region). 28m by
16m. The outer walls are larch log, timbered with horizontal larch and
boxed corners. (The inside is plastered, with pine partition walls.)
Fir shingle roof. Shutters (which seem to be rare in the countryside,
but not in town).
T13: a granary attached to the manor. Inside were
farm implements, including a cart and sled.
T14: photos of other manor houses. As one can see, all styles were
represented, but apparently most manor houses were wood, as it was
plentiful and bricks were not trusted. Generally a manor stood in a
garden or park and there were attached granaries, barns, stables,
machine storehouses and servants quarters. Despite the damage of the
partitions and uprisings, there were still over 40,000 such manor
within Poland’s inter-war borders.
T15: 1805 cottage from Rokitno (Chęstochowa region).
T16: c1800 farm from Ślężany (Chęstochowa region). The dwelling is only
painted white on the front. The yard has a well (nodding donkey) and
would have contained horses and sheep.
T17: farm from Bukowska Wola (north Kraków region). Note the
unusual stone building in the yard (which is not the dwelling).
T18: wooden church with separate bell tower.
T19: 1887 cottage from Siekerno (Kielce region). This came from a small
T20: unknown, from the Tokarnia area though.
Photos from here and there. A
few more appear in the Komarow section and general landscape section,
though none in close-up.
1.8 MB .zip file of .jpg
(will open in a new window)
C18: houses from the Polesie,
in this case Kodeń and outskirts. The first three show normal village
styles, and the rest the slightly different types, and closer
arrangement, of inner Kodeń. There are lots of the old style houses out
this way, including quite a few with the original uncovered log
structure. Others have been tidied up with surface planking, often with
the bottom metre or so in vertical panelling and above that horizontal
planking. They are then painted relatively pale colours, most often
ochre: very few planked ones are white. Roads are still wide.
C19: old church from Polesie. Opposite this was the Catholic one
(recently updated). Note the separate bell tower: this is extremely
common, especially in the East.
C21: streets and houses from inside Biała Podlaska. This town has
always been a major centre and the houses in the centre are packed
side-by-side in most cases. However, the old wooden styles are still
very prevalent. Many have been extended by means of an additional
storey placed like an enormous dormer window.
C29: buildings from the Nasielsk area, including an old wooden church
and bell tower and a thatched outbuilding.
T21: this building was from at Nieporęt, north of
Warsaw but was labelled as being from the Polesie region, between 1890
and 1920. Again the obviously layered thatch effect. This time the log
corners were cut square, rather than sticking out, which seemed to be
the less common variation.
T22: a toy windmill from Nieporęt, interesting mostly for the close-up
of the shingling that it allowed. “c” is another
shingling, with much longer pieces of wood. “d” is
T23: sled and cart from the early part of C20.
I knew that the Poles had built
almost entirely in wood, but I was surprised how small the logs were. I
was expecting the really large logs I had seen in the Baltic. Instead
they were small and almost always shaped to provide a relatively smooth
surface. No cottages appeared to be smoothed on the outside with clay
Plenty of old buildings of the notched wood type are still visible,
still with just plain white over the logs. Equally, a lot have been
covered with planks and then painted and I couldn't tell if that was
pre- or post-1920. Usually the roof is some
modern material, though we saw some with what appeared to be tar paper.
The old domestic houses were almost
invariably really little, particularly in the villages.
Tokarnia’s buildings were hipped (i.e.
sloped to the top from all four sides). Traditional buildings in other
eastern and northern areas seemed to mostly have normal non-hipped roof
lines. Often though there was a small line of roofing across the end of
the house, under the eaves (see picture C18a for modernised variants of
In the towns the old-style wood houses have commonly been extended by
means of a second storey set crosswise. True double storey houses in
log seem to be quite rare. Shutters are common in town, but rare in the
Larger towns and smaller cities showed no sign of having much by way of
high density housing in the past. Only the biggest cities had many
Churches tended to be quite large and only in larger villages, rather
scattering of smaller ones. On the Belorussian border many towns had
two churches (Uniate and Catholic), often side by side. Mostly the
churches were modernised: there were surprisingly few old churches