The visit to the Museum of Folk Architecture in Sanok (skansen, meaning an open-air museum) was the last stop on our journey in the podkarpackie region (full route described here). Our expectations were set really high- on our way we passed many old cemeteries, some remains of original wooden houses, we read about the post-war history of this region and now finally hoped to see what it looked like before the World War Two.
This museum was the first open air museum to open in Poland in the 50’s, right when it was recognized that the vanishing cultural heritage needed solid protection and scientific research. Whatever survived the bullets and fires of 8-year long fights was preserved and moved over to Sanok. Old huts, original barns, unique wooden Catholic or Orthodox churches all found safe haven in the museum.
There they were subject of thorough examinations, which brought to life many unknown or forgotten facts about the Lemks, the Polish Uplanders, the Bojks, the Ruthenians- ethnic groups killed or expelled from Poland after the World War Two in the attempt to create a monoethnic society.
The museum spans across an impressive area, making it all look very natural, as if we just entered an original village. This really makes it a place where one feels like a time traveler who can simply enjoy a lazy stroll around the space and forget it actually is a museum.
While walking around in the green, one can admire the hand-made decorations in the wooden Orthodox churches, the interiors of peasants’ huts, visit a village priest or participate in a market at a reconstructed Galician town market square.
The exhibition also includes machines used for oil explorations in the region, back in the days when it made sense to search for them in the region.
At the Galician market, we recommend having a piece of a traditional cake in a village bakery, checking the watch at the clockmaker’s or sending a letter from a Galician post office.
If the last time you visited an open-air museum of this kind was ages ago, make sure to compensate for it and come by the Sanok museum whenever around. Good fun for both grown-ups and kids!
For lunch, we suggest heading to the Market Square in Sanok (search for: Rynek) and visiting the church on the square for some beautiful folk frescoes inside.
GETTING THERE: Museum of Folk Architecture -Address- Rybickiego 3, Sanok. More information: http://skansen.mblsanok.pl/a/stronaa.php?id=stronaa
The museum is around 25 min walk from the bus and train station of Sanok. You can get to Sanok with Sanbus- http://www.sanbus.pl
This is just a brief summary of the PL language version, focusing on key information. We are happy to elaborate upon it, share insiders’ tips, advise- just shoot a comment or an email and we’ll be happy to assist you in exploring Poland!