Polish laces that the whole world admires – Koniakow

Koniakow laces
PolandSilesian Voivodeship

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Some time ago we showed you the charming lace town of Pano Lefkara in Cyprus. It turns out that you don’t have to fly to the other end of Europe to see such handmade works of art. Just go to Koniakow. This picturesque village in the Silesian Beskids hides real treasures of lace crafts.

There are plenty of attractions waiting for you in the Silesian Voivodeship. You must see them!

Koniakow lace – what is it?

Koniakow lace is a special crocheting technique that was developed over 100 years ago in Koniakow, Beskid Mountains. In their free time, local women grabbed lace and engaged in handicrafts (there were also men among them, which was even documented in photographs). Some knit on their own, in the privacy of their homes. Others met in larger groups and crocheted socially. They had one thing in common: none of them had a ready-made template or template. Koniakow lace is therefore a “spontaneous handicraft” and free from patterns. Its creators draw inspiration primarily from nature. That’s why you can find so many floral motifs in these folk works of art. Koniakow laces have gained recognition all over the world – not only among important personalities from the world of politics, but also among famous fashion designers and pop culture stars.

Koniakow laces

Koniakow laces – cauls, underwear, clothing and ceramics

Koniakow laces shop

When we hear “Koniakow lace”, we first think of handmade tablecloths. Meanwhile, legends say that the entire tradition began with crocheting cauls. Today, women no longer wear such headwear (unless they are members of a folk band). Meanwhile, 100 years ago it was an everyday element of clothing for the fair sex.

Koniakow lace underwear

It is worth mentioning the lace underwear that made Koniakow famous. The first traditionally crocheted thongs were created here in 2001. Initially, local traditionalists were outraged by the knitting of panties. Ultimately, however, the production of underwear by Koniakow lace makers turned out to be a hit on the market. The media began to write about the Beskid village, local artists and their (handicraft) works.

Koniakow lace dress

But Koniakow is famous not only for tablecloths and thongs. During our visit, we also saw some wonderful lace dresses. Local women wore them at the EXPO 2020 fair in Dubai, where they presented their tradition and culture to an audience from the most distant corners of the world. For those who are not convinced to put lace on themselves, artists from Koniakow can also offer interior decoration elements: ceramic tiles, Christmas decorations, lamp shades and even… dream catchers.

Koniakow patterns

Koniakow – what to see?

Koniakow Lace Center (in Polish: Centrum Koronki Koniakowskiej)

Koniakow lace museum

The Koniakow Lace Center is a must-visit place if you want to gain knowledge about the local crocheting tradition. It has been operating since 2019 and, in our opinion, it is the most modern facility of this type in the town. The building houses the Koniakow Lace Museum and the Folk Art Shop.

lace museum in Koniakow Poland

At the Center, you will learn about the history of local crafts, profiles of the most famous artists and various knitting techniques. Be sure to also check out the store’s assortment. Maybe you will find beautiful underwear or an original napkin for yourself? If you would like to learn embroidery, the Koniakow Lace Center also offers workshops for groups.

Koniakow lace

The Memorial Chamber of Maria Gwarek (Polish: Izba Pamięci Marii Gwarek)

what is Koniakow lace

The second place you must visit when in Koniakow is the Maria Gwarek Memorial Room. The “patron” of this small temple is a famous local lace maker. The facility was built in 1962 and survives to this day. Although the entire exhibition is located in just one room, it is a real “homely” treasure trove of folk art.

Polish village of lace

The guide around the Memorial Chamber of Maria Gwarek is Mrs. Urszula, who briefly but concisely talks about the exhibits. In addition to the napkins and clothing items visible in the photos, there are also other items related to local folklore. Many of them have their own personal history. For us, the most interesting information was that the small Memorial Room in little Koniakow was visited by several first ladies and even the President of the Republic of Poland.

Koniakow lace Silesia

‘Na Szańcach’ Cabin (Polish: Chata na Szańcach)

Koniakow lace shop

Chata na Szańcach is definitely more of a typical local shop than a museum. Nevertheless, the gentleman who showed us around played the role of a guide. Before we reached the ticket office, he told us a little about Koniakow customs. What catches the eye and ear the most in this place is the unique collection of huge instruments. We even had the opportunity to play them ourselves (or at least try).

lace shop Poland

At Chata na Szańcach you can buy unique Christmas decorations – both knitted Easter eggs and Christmas baubles. It is also difficult to ignore elegant “knitted” jewelry. And of course sexy lingerie, not only in white, but also in fiery red. These handicrafts are really wonderful!

Polish handicrafts

Museums and shops in Koniakow – tickets and opening hours

Koniakow Lace Center (in Polish: Centrum Koronki Koniakowskiej) /museum/

  • Entrance ticket – PLN 10.
  • Opening hours:
    • Monday: closed.
    • Tuesday-Friday: 09:00-17:00
    • Saturday-Sunday: 10:00-18:00 (April – October) or 10:00-17:00 (November – March).

The Memorial Chamber of Maria Gwarek (Polish: Izba Pamięci Marii Gwarek) /museum/

  • Admission is free. (We encourage you to leave a free donation in exchange for an interesting story. Unfortunately, they do not accept card, cash only.)
  • To see the Memorial Chamber of Maria Gwarek, we rang the bell located at the entrance door. A nice old lady let us in and told us a short history of this place and showed us lace products.
  • Opening hours:
      • Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday: 10:00-16:00.
      • Wednesday: 10:00-17:00.
      • Sunday: 09:00-16:00.

‘Na Szańcach’ Cabin (Polish: Chata na Szańcach) /shop/

  • Admission is free.
  • To enter the shop, we rang the bell at the entrance door. A moment later, an elderly gentleman came to us and showed us around the interior and presented the products available for purchase in the store.
  • Opening hours: Monday to Sunday 08:00-22:00.

lacy underwear

Museums in Koniakow – visiting time

Koniakow’s museums are small, and visiting each of them will take you from 15 to a maximum of 30 minutes.

  • We spent +/- 30 minutes in the Koniakow Lace Center.
  • We stayed at the Memorial Chamber of Maria Gwarek for +/- 15 minutes.
  • The visit to the ‘Na Szańcach’ Cabin took us +/- 15 minutes.

Silesia Poland attractions

Koniakow – how to get?

  • Train. Unfortunately, you cannot reach Koniakow directly by train. But you can reach nearby cities. We suggest Katowice first, and then (with Koleje Śląskie) Wisła.
  • Bus. In Wisła you can catch a bus to Koniakow (via Istebna) every hour, the journey takes less than 40 minutes. There is also an option to travel from Cieszyn (via Goleszów and Ustroń), the journey will take you about 1 hour 20 minutes.
  • Car. Our eco-hearts are not very happy about this, but we regret and agree that if you want to get to Koniakow, the most convenient means of transport will be a car.

Koniakow Poland what to see

Koniakow lace – interesting facts and tips

  • In 2017, the Koniakow lace was included on the National List of Intangible Cultural Heritage.
  • Laces from Koniakow were given to John Paul II and Queen Elizabeth II. They were appreciated by the fashion houses Dior and Louis Vitton.
  • Residents of Koniakow entered the Guinness Book of Records. Talented ladies crocheted the largest Koniakow lace in the world. Work on this enormous work lasted 5 months (from April to August 2013). The huge napkin has a regular shape, its diameter is 5 meters, there are about 8,000 motifs on it, and 50 km of cream-colored cotton threads (i.e. cordon) were used to create it.
  • Koniakow is famous for its lace, but these are not all the attractions of the Beskid village. While here, be sure to visit the Shepherd Center with a shepherd’s hut, a farmhouse and a shepherd’s exhibition. And when you feel hungry, try regional flavors at Karczma Ochodzita.

Koniakow what to do

Visit to Koniakow – reviews

  • Patrix – 5/10. The tradition and products that I saw in Koniakow are truly beautiful. If you love lace and crocheting, this is the place for you. However, for the “average Smith”, a visit to Koniakow will not be anything special. The entire village is not decorated with lace, as in Pano Lefkara. “Museums” do not have thousands of interesting exhibits – you will mainly see lace products and… that’s it. Don’t expect anything more. Additionally, when entering these free ‘museums’, the ‘guides’ constantly want to sell us something.
  • Wiolczix – 7/10. I heard about Koniakow lace when I was still a little girl (probably in a program on TVN). And it’s finally time to see these handmade works of art with your own eyes. Of course, all the patterns are beautiful and refined, but in my opinion, what deserves the greatest admiration is the talent and patience of the local artists. As well as the fact that they decided to make their city famous all over the world. Beautiful tradition! In general, I am a super fan of cultivating such customs and passing skills from generation to generation. Is it worth going to Koniakow? Of course, I recommend visiting this charming town, but if I’m honest, it’s not worth coming here especially for the whole day. It’s not like in Pano Lefkara in Cyprus, in Koniakow you will be transported to another, “magical” world. But if you are nearby or you just like hiking in the mountains, it is worth stopping by one of the “lace shops” and looking at the local products. Of the three places we visited, the most atmospheric was the Koniakow Lace Center and if you only have time to see one of them, I definitely recommend it. The advantage of the other two was free admission.

handmade lace

Koniakow & Koniakow laces – FAQ

What is Koniakow known for?

Koniakow is a town famous primarily for the production of unique lace products (mainly napkins and underwear). Tourists come here to see world-famous traditional products handmade crocheted by villagers. The Koniakow knitting tradition has been included on the National List of Intangible Cultural Heritage. Moreover, the largest tablecloth made by local lace makers entered the Guinness Book of Records. In addition to “crochet crafts”, the Beskid town is also known for its beautiful views and hiking trails.

What is worth seeing in Koniakow?

While in Koniakow, it is worth seeing the Koniakow Lace Center and the Maria Gwarek Memorial Hall. In addition to museums and shops related to the knitting tradition, this Beskid village has several tourist attractions. It is worth visiting the Shepherding Center and the regional Ochodzita Inn. Koniakow is also a great base for mountain hiking trails.

In what mountains is Koniakow located?

Koniakow is located in the Silesian Beskids. Interestingly, it is the highest situated village in this mountain range. Together with the towns of Jaworzynka and Istebna, it forms the “Beskid Tri-Village”.

What threads are Koniakow laces made of?

Special floss called ‘kordonek’ is used to make Koniakiw lace. It is a cotton or silk thread with a strong twist used for handicrafts.

How to make Koniakow lace?

Koniakow lace is made by hand with crochet. To make the weave, you need a ‘kordonek’, i.e. cotton or silk thread with an appropriate twist. What distinguishes Koniakow lace is the lack of patterns. Each work created by a lace maker is therefore original, unique and unrepeatable. The main decorations appearing on local products are flowers and other natural motifs.

Polish crochet works

Koniakow, Silesia, Poland – map

Koniakow is a village located in the Silesian Beskids, in the Istebna commune, near the Polish border with the Czech Republic and Slovakia.

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