Malopolska -Southern Poland  
Malopolska, also known as Little Poland or Malopolskie Voivodeship, is considered the cultural capital of Poland. An historic region with many ancient towns and castles, the rhythms of many generations are carried forward in the song and dance of the people.  
The capital of this region is Kracow, Poland's capital from the 12th. to the 17th.   Many of Krakow's treasures were carried off to Germany in World War II, but fortunately, most of them were subsequently recovered. The City has also been spared from the great destruction of World War II which nearly leveled the capital of Warsaw, less than three hours away by train. The great wealth of artistic and architectural treasures was recognized by the Cultural Commission of the European Union, which designated it European City of Culture 2000.
 The Carpathian mountain range forms Poland's southern border with the spectacular  Tatry Mountains and its charming City of Zakopane being the centerpiece.  The gondola from the valley floor to Kasprowy Wierch brings you to 1,985m. (6,500ft) look out. DownloadThe resort is very popular in winter and has been a finalist in its quest to host the Winter Olympics.
The  Tatras
The highest mountain in the Tatras is Gierlach (2655 m), and there are dozens of other rising to over 2000 m. The highest peak in the Polish Tatras is Rysy (2499 m).One fifth of the entire Tatras area lies in Poland, Dolina Rybiego Potoku, the most beautiful nook in the High Tatras, and the Dolina Koscieliska, the most lovely valley in the Western Tatras, are both situated in the Polish section of the Tatras.The whole Polish Tatras area now constitutes the Tatra National Park (TPN), whose equivalent on the Slovak side is the Tatransky narodny park (TANAP). Special regulations governing  the visitor behavior are observed to preserve the original fauna and flora of the Tatras.

 
 
LITTLE POLAND's Highlander Carnival hosted the 
The XXII FECC International Carnival City Convention
held in
 Bukowina Tatraza
ńska - Zakopane -  Krakow
May 25 - June 6 2002
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FECC Officers
Bukowina Tatrzańska  
 DOM LUDOWY in Bukowina Tatrzańska fosters the love of tradition and cultivation of highlander folk heritage. The ambitious institution sponsors the Highlander Carnival which has been taking place since 1973 and includes national competitions for carolers, dancing sleigh racing, skiing as well as a Grand parade. They also organize a meeting for all Polish Theatre Companies in the first week of July as well as "The Sabasa's Chats," an all Polish contest of story-tellers, instrumentalists, and singers during the second week of August.
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Morskie Oko: a lake in the Tatra Mountains near Bukowina. Click to enlarge

Only a 25 minutes drive away from Zakopane, Bukowina Tatrzańska shares the same long-lasting snow cover and vast slopes that make it one of Eastern Europe's  biggest ski-centers, especially for family skiing. Bukowina is also a good starting point for hiking in the Tatra Mountains year-round.
bukowinatatrzanska.pl official visitor's site

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ZAKOPANE

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 Europe & Russia > 
Europe > Poland
 > Kraków, Malopolska and the Tatras > Podhale and the Tatras > Zakopane
ZAKOPANE (Zock-o-pah-nay) is Poland's major mountain resort, crowded with visitors throughout its summer hiking and winter skiing seasons.

  Find it south of Nowy Targ, the road continues another 20km along the course of the Bialy Dunajec before reaching the edges of  Zakopne. It has been an established attraction for Poles since the 1870s, when the purity of the mountain air began to attract the attention of doctors and their consumptive city patients. Within a few years, this inaccessible mountain village of sheep farmers was  transformed, as the medics were followed by Kraków artists and intellectuals, who established a fashionable colony in the final decades of Austro-Hungarian rule.

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The Town's unique atmosphere is created by the authentic folk culture of the highlanders of the Podhale region and the sophisticated repertoire of the "Witkacy" Theatre and Szymanowski's music combined with the charm of the cafes, musical abundance and setting amidst the grandeur of  the mountains.

Rough Guides hints Zakopane's main drag may becoming too touristy for some:
"A popular holiday centre ever since, Poles began discovering the place en masse in the 1920s and 1930s, and in the postwar era the town grew to become one of the country's prime tourist hot-spots. ... It's a must for the wonderful setting and access to the peaks, but the distinctive traditional górale architecture of much of the town is being increasingly submerged in the welter of commercial developments."

 

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The Tatra mountain communities of Milówka and Żywiec love their Carnavals

 The savvy traveler will wish to use Zakopane as a base to explore the surrounding mountains andthe vibrant highlander culture. The Catholic country has many old Carnaval traditions including wild costumed celebrations which mix well with the highlander folk tranditions in the winter season between New Years and Shrove Tuesday.


POLAND INVITES THE WORLD:  FECC International President Henry Van der Kroon  enjoys a dance with  FECC Poland President Dr. Margaorzata Wnuk near the end of the Polish presentation by the 3 Mayors in St. Petersburg Russia 2001

Outside Online

Pope on a Rope Tow

Going deep in Poland's Tatra Mountains, where the forests are soulful, the slopes steep, and the trails most holy

By Lisa Ann Auerbach
God Almighty, you who gave us corporeal life and entrusted us with it, so we would honor and care for it, looks out for the men and women who ski, may they maintain their health and use their free time wisely.
—Pope John Paul II
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Zock-o-pah-nay, the Pope and "where the quiet of immeasurable distances prevails, which allows a person to more clearly hear the inner echo of the voice of God."

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