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Our adventure in Poland starts in the UNESCO World Heritage site of Kraków, before continuing to Zakopane, nestled in the foothills of the Tatra Mountains. Along with 3 full day workshops with Anna, you’ll take part in a workshop on design, spinning, weaving and dyeing of fabrics in Kraków, learn about wool processing in the Carpathian Mountains, and see a demonstration of crochet and embroidery techniques by local artists in Koscielisko village. We’ll also visit Zalipie, the most colourful village in Poland, and find inspiration for our projects in Koniakow, renowned for its crocheted lace.
Tour expert, Anna Nikipirowicz, said: "I am delighted to be a tutor on this trip to my home country. Kraków has always had a very special place in my heart as it was one of my family’s favourite holiday destinations as a child. I cannot wait to share with you my beautiful home country, the designs and of course the delicious pierogi!"
Meet Anna and your Arena Travel Tour Manager at a London airport for our flight to Kraków. We will be met by our coach and driver and transfer to our hotel. There will be time to get to know your fellow guests during the included dinner this evening.
Today we’ll enjoy a guided sightseeing tour of Stare Miasto, Kraków Old Town. Our visit will include: - Królewska, the Royal Road that runs from north to south through the centre of the city, passing some of the most prominent historic landmarks of Poland’s royal capital - Rynek Główny, the market square which dates to the 13th century and is the largest medieval town square in Europe - Sukiennice Cloth Hall, which is the central feature of the market square and has been listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1978. Once a centre of international trade, travelling merchants would meet here to discuss business and barter. During its golden age in the 15th century, exotic imports from the east, such as spices, silk, leather, and wax, could be found here, whilst Kraków exported textiles, lead, and salt from nearby Wieliczka Salt Mine. Today, we’ll find dozens of stalls selling amber jewellery, lacework, and wooden carvings along with other Polish souvenirs and trinkets - St. Mary’s Church, built in the 14th century, which is regarded as one of the best examples of Polish Gothic architecture. At midday we’ll hear the Hejnał mariacki (bugle call) played from the top of the tower of the church. The plaintive tune breaks off mid-stream, to commemorate a famous 13th century trumpeter who was shot in the throat while sounding the alarm before a Mongol attack on the city - Jagiellonian University, the oldest university in Poland and the country’s most prestigious academic institution - Wawel Hill, where Poland’s monarchs lived from the 11th century onwards. We’ll visit the state rooms and chambers in the castle, filled with priceless art and period furniture. In the tower of Wawel Cathedral, we’ll touch the Sigismund Bell, the largest bell in Poland, and look out on the wonderful view of Kraków Old Town - Kraków Ethnographic Museum, where we’ll participate in a workshop on the design, spinning, weaving, and dyeing of fabrics
Zalipie is considered the prettiest and most colourful village in Poland due to the locals’ custom of painting their houses inside and out with floral patterns. It is thought that the tradition began at the end of the 18th century, when women would paint the sooty walls of their cottages with lime to brighten the interiors. We’ll visit the house of Felicja Curylo, an outstanding painter and promoter of this unique folk art, as well as the Parish Church. At Dom Malarek community centre, we’ll learn more about the history of this tradition. Lunch is included today.
We’ll depart Kraków for Zakopane this morning, stopping en route in Koniakow to visit the Crocheted Lace Museum. Koniakow’s tradition of crocheted lacemaking can be traced back over 100 years. Initially, the crocheted lace was used to adorn bonnets, the traditional headgear of women living in this mountainous area of Poland. Crocheted inserts then started to appear in blouses and shirts along with rectangular, square, and circular doilies. Over the years these have gained recognition and adorn altars in churches and tables in mansions around the world. The crocheted lace is made of cotton thread, usually white or cream, and today is used not only to make doilies but also for dresses, blouses, stockings, collars and cuffs, bags, curtains, Christmas decorations, swimwear, and lingerie. Patterns using motifs inspired by nature are the most popular. Pieces are usually crocheted separately and combined later using several different techniques. The Lace Museum is dedicated to Maria Gwarek, one of the most outstanding lacemakers and founder of the Koniakow Lace Cooperative in 1947. The museum’s collections include crocheted lace bonnets, scarves, collars, curtains and doilies in different shapes and patterns. One of the most interesting exhibits is an unfinished doily made with silk surgery thread, which Queen Elizabeth II commissioned from Maria Gwarek. Whilst in Koniakow, we’ll also visit the Regional Shepherd’s Centre for a demonstration of sheep wool processing, a talk on traditional grazing practices in the Carpathian Mountains, and a tasting of traditional regional cheese. Our final stop will be the Regional Art Gallery, where it is possible to buy Koniakow crocheted lace as well as other items from other local artists. Lunch in a traditional restaurant is included today.
Another full day workshop with Anna at our hotel in Zakopane. Over the course of the trip, we aim to cover a range of techniques in workshops, including embroidery onto knitting, knitting and crocheting with beads, adding crochet to knitting and crocheting lace.
Today we’ll spend some time looking around Zakopane, located at the foot of the Tatra Mountains and the capital of the southernmost region of Poland. The inhabitants here, the Górale, have distinct customs and traditions identifiable in their crafts and culture, such as their architecture, wool and leather processing, woodcarving, metalwork, glass painting, sculpture, dancing, and music. The distinctive Zakopane architectural style, based on traditional wooden building techniques, was developed by one of the most important Polish artists at the turn of the 19th century, Stanislaw Witkiewicz. His first experiment was the Villa Koliba, followed by the Jaszczurówka Chapel, thought to be his finest work. We’ll visit Villa Koliba and the Museum of Zakopane Style which displays the region’s architecture, art, and folk crafts along with other ethnographic collections from the end of the 1800s. We’ll also see a demonstration of crochet and embroidery by local artists in nearby Koscielisko village.
We transfer to Kraków for our flight home.
Single Room Supplement from £370.00 (9 days).
Specially designed for knitters, this Stitchtopia knitting holiday is the ideal opportunity to meet like-minded knitters and indulge in your favourite hobby. Our talented knitting expert will be on hand throughout the holiday and host inspirational workshops with a beautifully designed project to get those needles clicking!