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Wooden churches

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The UNESCO heritage list also includes four of the many wooden churches that are included in the wooden architectural rout in Małopolska, namely: Binarowa, Dębno Podhalańskie, Lipnica Murowana and Sękowa. The uniqueness of these churches is not only the famous paintings that are housed within them, but also the building style and architectural design. As an example the wooden church, Dębno Podhalańskie is completely built without the use of any nails, using the traditional building techniques used by local craftsmen.

The churches were designed so that people traveling from a far way, before the churches became common and travel was time consuming, could stay in the church over night to be on time for the morning services. The churches in Binarowa and Dębno have in a common patron Saint, Michael. The church in Binarowa is famous for its beautiful murals and art work. The church in Dębno is richly decorated with many artworks, including murals and a decorative alter, created using a technique called tempera, this unique art form, based on painting executed with pigments ground in a water-miscible medium is extremely durable. The church was decorated with this technique, around the year 1500, and still includes 33 colors, which fall within the color palette of the original paintings to impress with their clarity still to this day.

Visiting St. Michael’s church in Dębno can only be prearranged for groups as the church is not normally left open. No groups are accepted on Sundays as the church is in use then or on Church holidays in the hours:

Groups wishing to view St. Michaels Church need to make a booking by phone on: 18-275-17-97, agreeing the date and time of the visit with the pastor, Fr. Joseph Milan.

The Church in Binarowa was damaged in the last floods and is undergoing renovation at this point and will not be open for visitors until further notice is given.

Location and Other Attractions in the Area

Map of wooden churches in PolandMap of lesser Poland
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St. Michael’s church in Dębno is located a few hundred meters from the Czorsztynski Lake in the small village of Dębno. It is just off the main road number 969 that runs from Nowy Targ to Szczawnica.

Distances to the St. Michael’s Church in Dębno from:

Krakow:98km
Zakopane:37km
Oświęcim:120km

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Sts. Leonard in Lipnica Murowana is located about 20km south of Bochnia on road number 966 heading south.

Distances to the churh of Sts. Leonard in Lipnica Murowana from:

Krakow:56km
Zakopane:110km
Oświęcim:127kmpx

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St. Michael’s church in Binarowa is located in the far eastern part of Malopolska close to the town Biecz. From Krakow, you would take the road number E40 and then follow  route 980 to Binarowa where the church is located.

Distances to the St. Michael’s Church in Binarowa from:

Krakow:122km
Zakopane:156km
Oświęcim:189km

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The Church of Sts. Philip and James the Apostles in Lipnica Murowana. Lipnica Murowana is located about 20km south of Bochnia on road number 966 heading south.

Distances to the Church of Sts. Philip and James the Apostles in Lipnica Murowana from:

Krakow:56km
Zakopane:110km
Oświęcim:127kmpx

 

The Gothic Church of Sts. Leonard in Lipnica Murowana dates back to the twelfth century. It was built on a pagan place of prayer and divination. Inside this church, you can find unique polychrome (this is unfortunately a copy because the original was moved for safety reasons to the Museum of Tarnów). Very interesting is the fact that in 1997, the church was saved from a great flood. This was partly thanks to local people who with large ropes tied the building to nearby trees! Water had already broken in and destroyed the basement, but fortunately, the main interior was almost entirely spared.

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The Church of Sts. Philip and James the Apostles in Lipnica Murowana, dates from the early sixteenth century. It is unusual, mainly because of the precious murals housed there, but it is also unique because of its shape with a - half-round body. Under its low roof, there are hidden corridors, called “soboty”. These served as a refuge for the faithful worshipers who traveled great distances to get to Sunday Mass. Believers often came to the church already on Saturday evening, and spent the night in these corridors. The “soboty”, which are kinds of arcades protected the worshipers from the rain, as well as keeping some of the cold night air away.

 

 

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