For lovers of monuments
Małpolska region was the seat of many prominent families and important trade routes to Hungary, Ruthenia and Silesia ran through it, which necessitated the construction of castles, border strongholds and watchtowers to supervise trade routes. The most famous buildings are located in the north of the Małopolska region, but there are also plenty of them in Beskid Sądecki and Low Beskids. They can be admired, among others in Muszyna, Rytro and Nowy Sącz.
It is worth visiting Nowy Sącz situated in the vast valley, and in the town itself, don’t miss its oldest monument, the Gothic collegiate church of St Margaret from the turn of the 14th and 15th centuries. Other historic buildings include the Classicist town hall, the Gothic House, fragments of the defensive walls from the 14th century and tenement houses in the Hungarian Suburb. Behind the market square, the building called the Gothic House houses the District Museum with a permanent exhibition of guild art from the 14th century, folk art from the 18th century, and a collection of Orthodox church art. At the Polish Railways train station there is the Old Railway Colony – a workers' housing estate with a neo-Gothic church and a Workers' House, erected for workers working in the railway workshops in Nowy Sącz. It is one of the oldest workers' settlements in Poland.
In terms of interesting architecture, Low Beskids are not inferior to Beskid Sądecki. In Gorlice, located on the northern border of this mountain range, you can find the Karwacjan Manor House – the seat of the first owners of the town. It was built in the 15th century as a defensive structure, which is evidenced by its location on the embankment and by its building components. During the Reformation, it served the dissenters as a prayer house. From the mid-19th century, it served as an armoury and a lumber. It was destroyed in 1915 during the artillery shelling of the town. In the 1980s it was rebuilt and is now the seat of the Art Gallery “Dwór Karwacjanów”.
Another building with an interesting history is called Szklarczykówka. It's a house located in the centre of the town, built in the 1930s with money won in a lottery by Józef Szklarczyk, the head of the Gorlice railway station, and later a forester who traded in wood. The history of this edifice is rather sad, it was flooded shortly after it was built, and during the Second World War it used to be the seat of Gestapo. The basements were converted into prison cells, the ground floor was replaced by an office and a place of interrogation and torture, while the torturers lived on the first floor. During the German occupation, Szklarówka was a place of imprisonment and murders. After the Red Army entered the town, the cells were filled up again, and the torture chamber didn't change its function. After a few years, the tenement house returned to its pre-war owner. It was turned into a Place of National Remembrance. Unfortunately, the history of Gorlice is marked by fighting, blood and sacrifice. There are 5 war cemeteries from First World War and a Jewish cemetery in the town.
The palace in Siary has a completely different look and history. This historic mansion surrounded by a park was built in the style of Viennese Art Nouveau by the Galician oil industrialist Władysław Długosz. As a young boy, he fell in love with the daughter of the owner of Siary. He was not wealthy enough to ask for the hand of beautiful Kamila, so he decided to get rich first. He invested his money in oil exploration but went bankrupt. Długosz was then helped by a Canadian, who hired him as a mine manager and sent him to explore oil fields. Determined, Długosz worked in difficult conditions, but his efforts paid off – he discovered deposits of valuable raw material, thanks to which he became rich. Not only did he purchase the debts of his future father-in-law, but he kept his word and married his beloved Kamila. In 1976, the palace was entered in the register of monuments, and to this day young couples choose this place to shoot wedding photos.
Another buildings – less romantic, though characteristic for the Low Beskids, are Lemko chyże (huts). These one-building homesteads consisted of a residential part, a hallway and a stable. Some buildings, especially abandoned ones, are neglected and destroyed. The Lemko buildings can be admired in the village of Bartne.
Other sites with an interesting past are the recently renovated 15th-century manor house in Ropa and villas in Krynica.
Sacred objects are of great importance for the landscape of Beskid Sądecki and Low Beskids, most of them are wooden and constitute architectural monuments. The Carpathian forests growing on the slopes provided the building material for aristocratic mansions, bourgeois houses, peasant cottages, churches and Orthodox churches. The vast majority of wooden buildings are included in the Wooden Architecture Route, which in the Małopolska region is over 1,500 km long and gathers 255 sites. Some of them have been inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List.
Several buildings located in Beskid Sądecki and Low Beskids have been entered on the UNESCO List, including the 15th-century one-nave church of Sts Philip and James the Apostles in Sękowa, the main attraction of which is the basement of the tower, late Gothic portals, baptismal font from 1522, altar from the 17th century and an interesting polychromy. In Powroźnik you can visit the Greek Catholic church of St James the Younger, erected around 1600, the oldest Greek Catholic church in the Polish Carpathians, distinguished by three spherical helmets on marquee-shaped roofs and on the tower. In the 17th century, the Greek Catholic Church of the Protection of the Mother of God in Owczary was built, where you can see an iconostasis from the 18th century. In Kwiatoń, on the other hand, you will find the Greek Catholic church of St Paraskeva, which is considered a classic example of the Lemko church, one of the most beautiful in Poland. Inside there are furnishings from the 18th, 19th and 20th centuries. Particular noteworthy are the magnificent polychromies with figural and ornamental motifs and the iconostasis by Michał Bogdański from 1904. Less than 20 km further, in Brunary Wyżne, a Greek Catholic church of St Michael the Archangel was erected in 1797, which currently serves as a Roman Catholic church of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary. The characteristic regional features of Lemko temples have been preserved inside. Inside, you can see polychromies from the late nineteenth century and fragments of an older baroque polychromy from the time of the church's construction, as well as many pieces of equipment from the 18th and 19th centuries.
In addition to the UNESCO list buildings, the Wooden Architecture Route includes, among others: the church in Ptaszkowa, the church in Tylicz, the church of the Transfiguration in Krynica, the churches in Bogusza, Krynica-Słotwiny, Binczarowa, Szczawnik and Milik.
Another interesting sites are: the stone church and monastery of the Poor Clares and the Papal Altar in Stary Sącz, as well as the Jewish cemetery and synagogue in Nowy Sącz.