There were many people along my way on all these trips to Poland who I could write about... it's hard to know when to stop. The sisters who travelled with me enjoyed meeting a costumed local woman at the heritage festival. Vladek and his sister were so welcoming...both a joy. We were so fortunate to be able to share time with such gracious people and learn so much about our own family history.
Kolbuszowa was known as a center for fine furniture making a century or so ago. Their furniture was often inlaid or veneer and the quality was such that some of it is part of the collection at the palace in Warsaw as well as a museum in London. I've searched for it on several visits and finally found that some of the new buildings at Skansen have several fine examples such as this lovely chest of drawers.
Of course pottery was popular and made locally...as it was all around the world. The colors and styles remind me of the early American pieces I collect from various places in the states.
There were also quite a few painted statues on display at Skansen. Often religious in nature, they are interesting and no doubt, quite valuable now. After so many wars and invasions, Poland struggles to retain its artifacts and continues to try and regain the work of the masters which may have been stolen from castles and palaces by invaders.
My favorite of all the early pieces was a painted bench with scenes of local people and activities. What an amazing piece of folk art it was. If there were a way for me to bring it home, I would have paid any amount of money for it. Maybe I should try to do a similar bench and hand paint it myself. Ahhh not quite the same, tho.
You can search out the Manor Houses hidden amongst the forests around Kolbuszowa. This is where the property owners lived and managed their estates...with peasants working as serfs in the fields. This Manor House is currently used by the local university for offices and meeting type facility. It's being very well taken care of, which I was very pleased with.
In subsequent photos you can see the granary and outbuilding through the trees...where the work of the farm was done.
Notice the stencil paintings on the walls. Some of these old framed religious pictures hanging on the wall remind me of my grandparents' house, or other immigrant homes in the United States. These religious framed prints were very popular here at the turn of the century and up through the 1920's - 1940's. In such a rural community, it is a wonder they could find a musical instrument to own..when there was such a basic living condition here. Tells a little bit about the farmer's priorities, doesn't it?
The kitchen has almost a Spanish mission look to it. The pots and implements are very similar to those used by our early colonists.
It's interesting to me to see the similarities between all of us throughout the world....
Loved the dishware. The shelf liner is made from paper cut outs. It must have been typical in the area. Unfortunately we did not have an English speaking guide that day so we couldn't get a lot of questions answered.
The Skansen village is a recreation of an old Polish village...accomplished by moving buildings to this site from all over the region. They are arranged as if there were people living here in typical village life style. Farm implements and household goods are included in the buildings to simulate real life situations....much the same as we see in other places which have an open air museum
I've visited Skansen several times, but when we arrived in 2009 there was a wonderful heritage festival taking place w/ a stage, dancers, music, and booths selling traditional foods and crafts. It was a very festive day which the locals look forward to each year. What a great greeting for us!
There are more and more buildings in the village each time I visit. This time I explored at least 10 more cottages and barns than there were last time. We were told that they are hoping to bring a church and a Manor house in the coming year or two. They do marvelous work here and there are so many things on exhibit that I don't have enough space here to show all of it to you. I hope you will be able to visit one of these wonderful Skansen Villages in Poland one day.
One of the things I loved about the Polish gardens is what they call MALLOW ... we call them old fashioned HOLLYHOCKS. I picked up some of the seeds while I was at Skansen village and tried to grow them without success, but my daughter in law took some home and look at these beauties! She said she'd give some to me. I know we shouldn't bring plants from other countries, but I couldn't resist...and I'm so happy to have a bit of Poland here with us. Please don't report me for my infraction. wink wink
One of the other pics included here is an artist's rendition of the mallow in front of the thatched cottages. Not sure if the artist had this particular Skansen village in mind when he painted this wonderful piece, but it does capture the feel of the gardens and thatch roofed cottages there. The painting was done in oils in 1900 by Jan Stanislawski, who named it "Mallows in Sunlight". Thanks to Gosia for lending me the pic.
In my other pics we can see the construction of the old farm buildings. Notice how the logs are joined at the corners...and the roof is thatched with heavy bundles of straw.
Additional pic is another version of the shrines built by locals for convenience when unable to travel to the local church during the day. Looking inside the windows, you see carefully arranged statues, pictures, and artificial flowers.
The trip in 2001 was designed to finally locate the town from which my family stems. The family name is Rzasa (pronounced Shunsa) and is found only in Kolbuszowa and Rzeszow.
Michael was the taxi driver we engaged for a half day out of Rzeszow. It was a short drive to Kolbuszowa, and he was as helpful as could be with his limited English. The hotel clerk said he enjoyed practicing his English, so he is enthusiastic about tourists like us. We all had lunch in a little neighborhood restaurant in Kolbuszowa..he helped us with the menu, and everyone seemed to get a bang out of these crazy Americans. They were so delighted to have us seeking out their little town. Michael was the first to find a gravestone w/ the family name...he got right into the swing.
We were so excited to find tombstones with the family name...at last. It was the first indication of the name that we saw in any of Poland. The stones are really piled tightly together and all the way up to the church building. It was interesting to see how they prepared their burial places...and the inscriptions on the stones. It was a very active place with flowers being brought to the graves frequently.
There are two buildings side by side...which are the All Saints Church. Evidentally when the new structure went up, the parish decided to retain the old. I was glad. You couldn't walk into the old one, but they had a window you could look through to see the original statues, tabernacle, seating. This little church was only for the use of the aristocracy. My grandparents attended a church about a mile or two away.
Going in and out of local shops is a lesson in local culture. I found a wonderful little book store with an anniversary edition of the town of Kolbuszowa. It's a very well written history by a local college professor and it's chock full of fabulous photography. Other shops might provide convenience or an everyday item which you might purchase inexpensively and use in your home to remind you of your adventure in the little square in Kolbuszowa.