October 13, 2010

Regional architecture in Poland – Zakopane Style otherwise Witkiewicz Style

Hi bloggers
Today I would like to share with you an information about the style in regional Polish architecture, which is kept in my country from above hundred years.
The Zakopane Style was introduced to architecture by Stanisław Witkiewicz in the nineteenth century, and we can now find fragments of this style in present buildings. The name of the style comes from the name of the place where this style first appeared in buildings – Zakopane. Now, it is a popular touristy city comprising within  Tatry mountains. Unfortunatelyk, many tourists do not return the attention on this beautiful wooden architecture.

In the nineteenth century, Zakopane was a small village. In 1890, Stanislaw Witkiewicz settled in Zakopane. He is a painter, architect and theoretician of the art who has extended this city. He imitated on góral (the occupants of mountains) traditional building, and he added  to these the elements of secession. Witkiewicz extended the country hut so that the magnificent villa came into being. Villas were placed on high underpinning brick stones. Walls were adorned with bas-reliefs and floral and geometrical patterns. A veranda called przyłap, and a little room on the loft – wyglądy – were the different characteristic element of houses. The Zakopane style was proclaimed national style. The Witkiewicz’s  style found his imitators in different cities, not only on mountain terrains. In this style also furniture, home equipments, clothes, articles from chinas, musical instruments and souvenirs were made. The elements of góral culture also influenced composers and writers works.

At present,  museums commemorating former customs of the inhabitants of the mountains are located in ancient villages, and it is possible to examine  both traditional dresses and furniture and equipment of flats.

If  in your country there are some interesting local styles/details, please share observations about them!

By Marta Norenberg
Life Beyond Tourism University Delegate – October 2010

June 18, 2010

The Soul of Cozumel

Hi bloggers,

today, we share with you some impressions about the effects of mass tourism in the Island of  Cozumel, Mexico – where our  Life Beyond Tourism University Delegate Nicholas Warfield lived for 10 years:

“The soul of Cozumel to me has always been dictated by the love of the people on the island.  Most of my happiest memories today come from what I remember in the ten years I lived there, but I realized recently that those happy memories that have latched themselves to my heart forever are from the gentile, understanding, laid-back, truly loving atmosphere that existed.  By the love of the people I mean to say that the relationships between native Cozumelenos and people that had migrated to live there was fantastic.  There were seemingly no qualms, of course from a child’s perception this statement may lack substance, but what certainly is tangible are the bright white beaches, the rough salty reef that is the foundation of the island, and the colorful reef underwater that provides sanctuary for the life in the sea.  There were weekends spent on the beach on the east side of the island with pachangas, friends, surfing, and food.  There were trips to San Gervasio, the Mayan ruins in the center of the island, evenings of playing in the park with friends, Carnaval, and, of course, some of the best comfort food in the world.  These things still occur I am sure of it; however, what saddens me is that when people think of Cozumel now it is simply another island to get drunk on during Caribbean cruises.  Between the age of one and ten there were an average of six cruise ships a week during high season, but upon my return eight years later I witnessed the massive increase in tourism as the number of cruise ships that docked in Cozumel had tripled.  While economically it seems the island benefits from the mass tourism during high season, the attempts to appeal to tourists has caused construction along the west shore to not only push native Cozumelenos back, but also has been the inspiration for building larger and more piers to accommodate the ships; thus, destroying some of the surrounding ecosystem.  Mass tourism has enlarged the stratification between rich and poor, the love that used to be felt amongst all is slowly withering away and the soul of the island, its essence and beauty, are being ripped from it.  It has taught the younger generations to place value in the money one can make during high season and not the people they live with an enclosed piece of land, which I feel will result in further damaging the island and its population physically, culturally, and emotionally.  Cozumel has so much more to offer than alcohol, Senor Frogs, corona cowboy hats, and cheap trinkets for tourists.  Cancun has already become just an extension of the United States where people, usually, instead of broadening horizons the sole purpose of their trip is to party, but for people to go to Cozumel and be in such a beautiful place with such gentile people in such a colorful culture should be an honor and a privilege treated with respectful curiosity, not as a hub for cruise ships.”

What about tourism in your native region? Feel free to share your experience by submitting a brief article to!!

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