Zakopane is a town in the extreme south of Poland. It lies in the southern part of the Podhale region at the foot of the Tatra Mountains. From 1975 to 1998, it was in Nowy Sącz Province, but since 1999, it has been in Lesser Poland Province. It had a population of about 27,424 as of 2016.

Zakopane is a center of Góral culture and is known informally as "the winter capital of Poland.” It is a popular destination for mountaineering, skiing and qualified tourism.

Zakopane is near the border with Slovakia and lies in a valley between the Tatra Mountains and Gubałówka Hill. It can be reached by train or by bus from district capital Kraków, which is about two hours away. Zakopane has an elevation of 800-1,000 m above sea level. The town is centred on the junction of Krupówki and Kościuszko Streets.

View of Zakopane from Butorowy Wierch
View of Zakopane from Butorowy Wierch
Coat of arms of Zakopane

Coat of arms
Zakopane is located in Poland
Coordinates: 49°18′N 19°57′E / 49.300°N 19.950°E
Country Poland
VoivofdeshipLesser Poland
GminaZakopane (urban gmina)
Established17th century
Town rights1933
 • MayorLeszek Dorula
 • Total84 km2 (32 sq mi)
Highest elevation
1,126 m (3,694 ft)
Lowest elevation
750 m (2,460 ft)
 • Total27,424[1]
Time zoneUTC+1 (CET)
 • Summer (DST)UTC+2 (CEST)
Postal code
34-500 to 34-504
Area code(s)+48 18
Car platesKTT


A postcard of Zakopane from 1916

The earliest documents mentioning Zakopane date to the 17th century, describing a glade called Zakopisko. In 1676 it was a village of 43 inhabitants. In 1818 Zakopane was a small town that was still being developed. There were only 340 homes that held 445 families. The population of Zakopane at that time was 1,805. 934 women and 871 men lived in Zakopane.[2] The first church was built in 1847, by Józef Stolarczyk.[2] Zakopane became a center for the region's mining and metallurgy industries; in the 19th century, it was the largest center for metallurgy in Galicia. It expanded during the 19th century as the climate attracted more inhabitants. By 1889 it had developed from a small village into a climatic health resort. Rail service to Zakopane began October 1, 1899. In the late 1800s Zakopane constructed a road that went to the town of Nowy Targ, and railways that came from Chabówka.[2] Because of easier transportation the population of Zakopane had increased to about 3,000 people by the end of the 1900s.[2]In the 19th century, the Krupówki street was just a narrow beaten path that was meant for people to get from the central part of town to Kuźnice.

The ski jump on Wielka Krokiew was opened in 1925. The cable car to Kasprowy Wierch was completed in 1936. The funicular connected Zakopane and the top of Gubałówka in 1938.

Because of Zakopane's popular ski mountains, the town gained popularity this made the number of tourists increase to about 60,000 people by 1930.[2]

In March 1940, representatives of the Soviet NKVD and the Nazi Gestapo met for one week in Zakopane's Villa Tadeusz, to coordinate the pacification of resistance in Poland. Throughout World War II, Zakopane served as an underground staging point between Poland and Hungary.

From 1942 to 1943, 1,000 prisoners from the German Kraków-Płaszów concentration camp were set to work in a stone quarry.[3]


The Zakopane Style of Architecture is an architectural mode inspired by the regional art of Poland’s highland region known as Podhale.[4] Drawing on the motifs and traditions in the buildings of the Carpathian Mountains, the style was pioneered by Stanislaw Witkiewicz and is now considered a core tradition of the Góral people.[5]


The Tatras are a popular destination among hikers, skiers, ski-tourers and climbers.


There is a network of well marked hiking trails in the Tatras and according to the national park regulations the hikers must stick to them. Most of these trails are overcrowded, especially in the summer season.

The High Tatras offer excellent opportunities for climbing (up to X UIAA grade).

Panorama Tatr z Gubałówki
Zakopane and the Tatra Mountains. View from Gubałówka

In summer, lightning and snow are both potential hazards for climbers, and the weather can change quickly. Thunderstorms are common in the afternoons. In winter the snow can be up to several meters deep.


In the winter, thousands arrive in Zakopane to ski, especially around Christmas and in February. The most popular skiing areas are Kasprowy Wierch and Gubałówka.[6] There are a number of cross country skiing trails in the forests surrounding the town.

Zakopane hosted the Nordic World Ski Championships in 1929, 1939, and 1962; the winter Universiades in 1956, 1993, and 2001; the biathlon World Championship; several ski jumping world cups; and several Nordic combined, Nordic and Alpine European Cups. It hosted the Alpine World Ski Championships in 1939, the first outside the Alps and the last official world championships prior to World War II.

Zakopane made unsuccessful bids to host the 2006 Winter Olympics and the 2011 and 2013 Alpine World Ski Championships.


Zakopane is visited by over 2,500,000 tourists a year. In the winter, Zakopanes tourists are interested in winter sports activities such as skiing, snowboarding, ski jumping, snowmobiling, sleigh rides, snowshoe walks, and Ice skating.[7] During the summer, Tourists come to do activities like hiking, climbing, bike and horse ride the Tatras mountain, there are many trails in the Tatras.[7] Tourists ride quads and dirt bikes that you can rent. Swimming and boat rides on the Dunajec river is popular.[7] Many come to experience góral culture, which is rich in its unique styles of food, speech, architecture, music, and costume. Zakopane is especially popular during the winter holidays, which are celebrated in traditional style, with dances, decorated horse-pulled sleighs called kuligs and roast lamb.

A popular tourist activity is taking a stroll through the town's most popular street: Krupówki. It is lined with stores, restaurants, carnival rides, and performers.

During the seasons winter and summer the Krupówki street gets crowded by tourists, these tourists visit shops and restaurants.[7] In the summer time there is a local market down the strip of Krupówki. The people working in the market sell all kinds of clothing including leather jackets, traditional góral clothing, fur coats, shoes, and purses.[7] Venders also sell foods like the famous smoked sheep cheese Oscypek, fruits, vegetables, and meats. There are also a lot of stands that sell all kinds of Zakopane souvenirs.[7]

Zakopane is popular for night life. At night there are always people walking around town checking out the different bars and dance clubs. Most of these bars and dance clubs are located on the Krupowki street. These are the bars that are located in Zakopane: Paparazzi, Cafe Piano, Anemone, Anemone, Cafe Antrakt, Literatka, Winoteka Pod Berlami, and Karczma u Ratownikow. These are dance clubs located in Zakopane: Vavaboom, Finlandia Arctic, Genesis, Rockus, Morskie Oko, and Cocomo Go Go Club.[2]

A scene in Andrzej Wajda's film Man of Marble (Człowiek z marmuru) was filmed in Zakopane, introducing the town to a worldwide audience.

The mountain scenes from the Bollywood film Fanaa were filmed around Zakopane.

International relations

Krupówki Street
Zakopane, kościół pw. Najświętszej Rodziny 1
Romanesque Revival Church of the Holy Family

Twin towns

Zakopane participates in town twinning to foster international links.

Notable structures

Notable residents

Notable visitors


Willa drewn. „Staszeczkówka”, Zakopane, A-1128 M 02

Villa Staszeczkówka Hotel

Willa „Oksza”, Zakopane, A-68 M 02

Villa Oksza art gallery


Koliba villa


Interior of Koliba

Kaplica w Jaszczurówce

Jaszczurówka Chapel

Willa Pod Jedlami

Pod Jedlami villa

Villa atma

Karol Szymanowski Museum at the Villa Atma

Zakopane - skiing (28)

Zakopane - view from Gubałówka Hill (Tatra mountains in the background)

Wielka Krokiew 2012

Wielka Krokiew ski jumping hill

Zakopane - skiing (35)

Zakopane - Gubałówka Hill ski run

Zakopane - skiing (14)

Zakopane - Gubałówka Hill: a nursery ski run

Zakopane - skiing (1)

Zakopane - Gubałówka Hill funicular entrance


Church of the Holy Family

Zakopane at night

Zakopane at night

Katyn Memorial at Zakopane

Katyń Memorial in Peksów Brzyzek Cemetery

The contemplative Christ of Zakopane

Traditional wooden shrine

Villa Konstantynówka in Zakopane, place of stay of Joseph Conrad in 1914

Villa Konstantynówka, lodging of Joseph Conrad in 1914

Zakopane Jan 2014 017

Traditional oscypek cheese


  1. ^ "Zakopane » mapy, nieruchomości, GUS, szkoły, kody pocztowe, wynagrodzenie, bezrobocie, zarobki, edukacja, tabele". (in Polish). Retrieved 24 August 2017.
  2. ^ a b c d e "Local history - Information about the town - Zakopane - Virtual Shtetl". (in Polish). Retrieved 2017-05-04.
  3. ^ "Zakopane".
  4. ^ "Zakopane Style Museum Zakopane | Poland". Zakopane Life. Retrieved 2011-06-03.
  5. ^ "The Tatra Museum - The Museum of the Zakopane Style". Retrieved 2011-06-03.
  6. ^ Seattle Times - Scenic Zakopane
  7. ^ a b c d e f altius. "Things to do in Zakopane and Tatra Mountains". Retrieved 2017-05-04.
  8. ^ Monika Piątkowska, Prus: Śledztwo biograficzne (Prus: A Biographical Investigation), Kraków, Wydawnictwo Znak, 2017, ISBN 978-83-240-4543-3, p. 327.
  9. ^ Krystyna Tokarzówna and Stanisław Fita, Bolesław Prus, 1847–1912: Kalendarz życia i twórczości (Bolesław Prus, 1847–1912: A Calendar of His Life and Work), edited by Zygmunt Szweykowski, Warsaw, Państwowy Instytut Wydawniczy, 1969, pp. 232, 235, et passim.
  10. ^ a b c Zdzisław Najder, Joseph Conrad: A Life, translated by Halina Najder, Rochester, New York, Camden House, 2007, ISBN 1-57113-347-X, pp. 458–63.
  11. ^ a b Zdzisław Najder, Joseph Conrad: A Life, translated by Halina Najder, Rochester, New York, Camden House, 2007, ISBN 1-57113-347-X, pp. 463–64.
  12. ^ [1]
  13. ^ Zdzisław Najder, Joseph Conrad: A Life, translated by Halina Najder, Rochester, New York, Camden House, 2007, ISBN 1-57113-347-X, p. 463.
  14. ^ Waclaw Szybalski, "The genius of Rudolf Stefan Weigl (1883 – 1957), a Lvovian microbe hunter and breeder": in memoriam, McArdle Laboratory for Cancer Research, University of Wisconsin, Madison, WI 53705, USA.
  15. ^ Madeleine Masson, Christine: A Search for Christine Granville, G.M., O.B.E., Croix de Guerre, with a Foreword by Francis Cammaerts, D.S.O., Légion d'Honneur, Croix de Guerre, U.S. Medal of Freedom, London, Hamish Hamilton, 1975, p. 24.
  16. ^ Photo of HRH The Prince of Wales Thursday 13th June 2002, walking around the lake Morskie Oko during a walk at Tatras National Park on the final stage of his tour of Poland


  • Stanisław Kasztelowicz and Stanisław Eile, Stefan Żeromski: kalendarz życia i twórczości (Stefan Żeromski: A Calendar of His Life and Work), Kraków, Wydawnictwo Literackie, 1961.
  • Zdzisław Najder, Joseph Conrad: A Life, translated by Halina Najder, Rochester, New York, Camden House, 2007, ISBN 1-57113-347-X.
  • Krystyna Tokarzówna and Stanisław Fita, Bolesław Prus, 1847–1912: Kalendarz życia i twórczości (Bolesław Prus, 1847–1912: A Calendar of His Life and Work), edited by Zygmunt Szweykowski, Warsaw, Państwowy Instytut Wydawniczy, 1969.

External links

Coordinates: 49°18′N 19°58′E / 49.300°N 19.967°E

1993 Winter Universiade

The 1993 Winter Universiade, the XVI Winter Universiade, took place in Zakopane, Poland.

* Host nation (Poland)

2001 Winter Universiade

The 2001 Winter Universiade, the XX Winter Universiade, took place in Zakopane, Poland.

Adam Małysz

Adam Henryk Małysz ([ˈadam ˈmawɨʂ] (listen); born 3 December 1977) is a Polish former ski jumper and rally driver. In ski jumping he competed from 1995 to 2011, and is one of the most successful athletes in the history of the sport. His many accomplishments include four World Cup titles (a record shared with Matti Nykänen and Sara Takanashi), four individual Winter Olympic medals, four individual World Championship gold medals (an all-time record), 39 individual World Cup competition wins, 96 World Cup podiums (individual and team), and being the only ski jumper to win three consecutive World Cup titles. He is also a winner of the Four Hills Tournament, the only three-time winner of the Nordic Tournament, and a former ski flying world record holder.

After retiring from ski jumping, Małysz competed in the Dakar Rally in 2012, 2013 and 2014 finishing 37th, 15th and 13th respectively. He currently acts as a director-coordinator of ski jumping and Nordic combined at the Polish Ski Federation

Biathlon World Championships 1969

The 9th Biathlon World Championships were held in 1969 in Zakopane, Poland.

FIS Alpine World Ski Championships 1939

The FIS Alpine World Ski Championships 1939 were held 12–15 February at Kasprowy Wierch in the Western Tatras, south of Zakopane, Poland. Due to World War II, these were the last official championships for nine years, until the 1948 Winter Olympics.

Josef Jennewein, Wilhelm Walch and Helga Gödl were Austrians but after the Anschluss in 1938 they were citizen of Nazi-Germany. The medals which they did win do still count for Germany. Hellmuth Lantschner also was an Austrian but he did change to Germany in 1935 and did start for the German Ski Federation since that time.

FIS Nordic World Ski Championships 1929

The FIS Nordic World Ski Championships 1929 took place February 5-9, 1929 in Zakopane, Poland.

FIS Nordic World Ski Championships 1939

The FIS Nordic World Ski Championships 1939 took place February 11–19, 1939 in Zakopane, Poland. This was the Polish city's second time hosting the championships after having done so in 1929. It also marked the last time the event officially took place before World War II and the last time that these championships would be held on an annual basis (combined with the Winter Olympics) which they had been done since 1924.

FIS Nordic World Ski Championships 1962

The FIS Nordic World Ski Championships 1962 took place February 18–25, 1962 in Zakopane, Poland. Zakopane became the second city to host the world championships three times (1929, 1939), joining Lahti, Finland (1926, 1938, and 1958). Women's 5 km and the ski jumping individual normal hill made their event debuts at these championships.

Figure skating at the Winter Universiade

Figure skating is a part of the Winter Universiade. It was first held as part of the Universiade in 1960. Medals may be awarded in men's singles, ladies' singles, pair skating, ice dancing, and synchronized skating.

Gestapo–NKVD conferences

The Gestapo–NKVD conferences were a series of security police meetings organized in late 1939 and early 1940 by Germany and the Soviet Union, following their joint invasion of Poland in accordance with the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact. The meetings enabled both parties to pursue specific goals and aims as outlined independently by Hitler and Stalin, with regard to the acquired, formerly Polish territories. The conferences were held by the Gestapo and the NKVD officials in several Polish cities. In spite of their differences on other issues, both Heinrich Himmler and Lavrentiy Beria had similar objectives as far as the fate of the prewar Poland was concerned.The attack on Poland ended with the Nazi–Soviet victory parade in Brześć, which was held on 22 September 1939. Brześć was the location of the first Nazi-Soviet meeting organized on 27 September 1939, in which the prisoner exchange was decided prior to the signing of mutual agreements in Moscow a day later. In the following month, the Gestapo and the NKVD met in Lwów to discuss the fate of civilian populations during radical reorganization of the annexed territories. They met again in occupied Przemyśl at the end of November, because Przemyśl was a border crossing between the two invaders. The next series of meetings began in December 1939, a month after the first transfer of Polish prisoners of war. The conferences were held in occupied Kraków in the General Government on 6–7 December 1939; and continued for the next two days in the resort town of Zakopane in the Tatra Mountains of southern Poland (100 km from Kraków) on 8–9 December 1939. The Zakopane Conference is the most remembered. From the Soviet side, several higher officers of the NKVD secret police participated in the meetings, while the German hosts provided a group of experts from the Gestapo.


The Gorals (Polish: Górale; Slovak: Gorali; Cieszyn Silesian: Gorole; literally "highlanders") are an ethnographic (or ethnic) group primarily found in their traditional area of southern Poland, northern Slovakia, and in the region of Cieszyn Silesia in the Czech Republic (Silesian Gorals). There is also a significant Goral diaspora in the area of Bukovina in western Ukraine and in northern Romania, as well as in Chicago, the seat of the Polish Highlanders Alliance of North America.

Kamil Stoch

Kamil Wiktor Stoch (Polish pronunciation: [ˈkamil stɔx]; born 25 May 1987) is a Polish ski jumper. He is one of the most successful ski jumpers from Poland, as well as in the history of the sport, having won two World Cup overall titles, two consecutive Four Hills Tournaments, three individual gold medals at the Winter Olympics, individual and team gold at the Ski Jumping World Championships, and individual silver at the Ski Flying World Championships. His other tournament wins include the Raw Air, Willingen Five, and Planica7.

Stoch is only the second ski jumper in history, after Sven Hannawald, to win the "grand slam" of all four competitions in a single Four Hills Tournament. In 2018, at age 30, Stoch became the oldest individual Olympic gold medallist and World Cup titlist in the history of ski jumping. He was voted Polish Sportspersonality of the Year in 2014 and 2017.

Krystyna Guzik

Krystyna Guzik (née Pałka; born 16 August 1983) is a Polish biathlete. She was born in Zakopane. She represented Poland at the 2006 Winter Olympics, 2010 Winter Olympics and 2014 Winter Olympics. Her best result at the Olympics was a tenth place in the 15 km individual event at the 2014 Games in Sochi. At the 2013 World Championships she won the silver medal in pursuit.

In July 2014, Guzik married fellow biathlete Grzegorz Guzik.

Stanisław Ignacy Witkiewicz

Stanisław Ignacy Witkiewicz (Polish: [staˈɲiswaf iɡˈnatsɨ vʲitˈkʲɛvʲitʂ]; 24 February 1885 – 18 September 1939), commonly known as Witkacy, was a Polish writer, painter, philosopher, theorist, playwright, novelist, and photographer active before WW1 and in the interwar period.

Stanisław Marusarz

Stanisław Marusarz (Polish pronunciation: [staˈɲiswav maˈrusaʂ]) Zakopane, 18 June 1913 – 29 October 1993, Zakopane) was a Polish Nordic skiing competitor in the 1930s.

Tatra County

Tatra County (Polish: powiat tatrzański) is a unit of territorial administration and local government (powiat) in Lesser Poland Voivodeship, southern Poland, on the Slovak border. It came into being on January 1, 1999, as a result of the Polish local government reforms passed in 1998. Its administrative seat and only town is Zakopane, which lies 85 kilometres (53 mi) south of the regional capital Kraków. The county takes its name from the Tatra mountain range, which covers most of its territory.

The county covers an area of 471.62 square kilometres (182.1 sq mi). As of 2006 its total population is 65,393, out of which the population of Zakopane is 27,486 and the rural population is 37,907.

The mountainous southern part of the county (211 km²) makes up the Tatra National Park. This area, together with the Slovak Tatra National Park across the border, make up a UNESCO-designated biosphere reserve.

Urszula Kolaczkowska

Urszula Kołaczkowska (born on 4 October 1911 in Lublin, Poland died on 29 December 2009 in Zakopane, Poland) was a Polish fine artist who specialized in hand weaving and textile arts.

She was the daughter of Zofia nee Słonczyńska (1872-1953) and Edward Kołaczkowski (born on 18 November 1849 in Suchodoły, died on 12 August 1933 in Lublin), a landowner, citizen of Lublin city, member of the Lublin City Council and Mayor of Lublin in 1915.

In 1915, Zofia moved with her daughter to Zakopane, where she provided Urszula with her early education at home. Urszula later attended Ładysław of Gielniowo High School, a private school situated on Nowotarska St. in Zakopane, from 1924 to 1931. The director of this school was Fr. Jan Humpola (1889-1958), a well-known mountaineer, and later a chaplain of Ignacy Mościcki, the President of the Republic of Poland. From an early age, Urszula showed interested in arts and sports. Influenced by her mother who conducted private music courses (including to Teresa Wellely-Mackiewicz), she devoted most of her time to music and even made her own attempts at composition. She was also drawing and painting. Since her childhood years she loved mountain hiking and skiing, and her love of the outdoors prompted her to start rowing while at university.

Between 1931 and 1937, Kołaczkowska studied history at the University of Warsaw. Her Master’s thesis was on “Territorial Development of Warsaw around the Lubomirski Embankment”, written under the supervision of professor Stanisław Arnold, and on 12 October 1937, she was awarded a Master’s degree in history. While studying history, she started a course at the School for Journalists in Warsaw, where she earned a diploma after presenting her thesis "The French press during the Great Revolution". Between 1938 and 1939, Kołaczkowska worked as a head of sports column at “Bluszcz” [Ivy], a weekly magazine for women. During this time, she continued to be an active member of the Warsaw Rowing Society. She spent the Second World War and the occupation in Zakopane. After this, between 1947 and 1948, she attended Podhale State Industrial School for Females in Zakopane, where she learned to weave. She completed her studies with a master’s exam in the art of weaving and wall-hanging art on 25 June 1948.

In 1952, Kołaczkowska was admitted to the Association of Polish Artists and Designers based on the quality of her works. In the same year she had her first exhibition at the 1st Country-Wide Exhibition of Interior Design and Decorative Art at the Zachęta Art Gallery in Warsaw during May, June and July. Between 1952 and 2004, her works were shown at several dozen national and international exhibitions. Eight years after her first exhibition, in 1960, Kołaczkowska had her first individual exhibition at the Tatra Museum in Zakopane.

Wielka Krokiew

Wielka Krokiew (The Great Krokiew, in Polish krokiew means rafter) is the one - the biggest - of ski jumps built on the slope of Krokiew mountain (1378 m) in Zakopane, Poland. It was opened in 1925.

From 1989 the ski jump bears the official name Wielka Krokiew im. Stanisława Marusarza.

It is a regular venue in the FIS Ski jumping World Cup. The capacity of the ski jumping stadium is 40,000.

The hill was featured in competitions at the 1939 and 1962 FIS Nordic World Ski Championships as well as the 2001 Universiade.

In 1997, Pope John Paul II, while visiting his native country, celebrated a mass at the hill's stadium.Since 2001, due to the success of Polish jumper Adam Małysz, Wielka Krokiew has seen some of the largest audiences in World Cup ski jumping.

Zakopane Style

Zakopane Style (or Witkiewicz Style) is an art style, most visible in architecture, but also found in furniture and related objects, inspired by the regional art of Poland's highland region known as Podhale. Drawing on the motifs and traditions in the buildings of the Carpathian Mountains, this synthesis was created by Stanisław Witkiewicz who was born in the Lithuanian village of Pašiaušė, and is now considered to be one of the core traditions of the Góral people.

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