English Language


Chyrowa is a beautifully situated old Lemko village in the Beskid Niski, widely known for the charming wooden Orthodox church and the Chyrowa-Ski complex, open to visitors not only in winter.

The beginnings of the village go back to the 14th century, when it belonged to the Bogoria family, like the neighbouring Dukla and Kobylany, which were the centre of the family’s estate. In the 15th century, Chyrowa was re-established under Vlach law, which in time made it one of the settlements of Lemkos, the Ruthenian highlanders in the Beskid Niski, who built there a wooden Orthodox church already in the 16th century.

The present church was built at the end of the 18th century, after the Lemkos had switched to the Greek rite. It is devoted to the Protection of the Mother of God and survived the fights of the First World War, especially the bloody battle on 5 May 1915, and the Dukla-Prešov Offensive in September of 1944, when Dukla, situated in the middle of the Valley of Death, was practically levelled. It is said that only one church and one house survived then.

After the Lemko inhabitants were relocated, the church fell into disuse and it was only in the 1980, when it was taken over by the Roman Catholic parish in Iwla, that it was thoroughly renovated. It is now a branch of the Nativity of the Mother of God parish in Iwla and one of the most interesting buildings on the Wooden Architecture Trail.

It represents the somewhat archaic type of a Lemko church which was basis for the “classic” Lemko churches like those in Kwiatoń and Owczary, entered on the UNESCO List of World Heritage. The destroyed wooden vestry was rebuilt with brick, while the nave and the porch have remained wooden. Despite the damage, some of the original furnishings have survived, including the iconostasis from the end of the 18th century and the painting of Madonna with Child from around the same time, widely worshipped before the war and attracting numerous pilgrimages to Chyrowa, especially from Slovakia.

The church is a tourist magnet today, only surpassed in attractiveness perhaps by the Chyrowa-Ski centre. It is situated in the middle of the village and has three platter lifts, 900, 400 and 100 metres long, which serve a regularly maintained ski slope – at 130 metres one of the widest in Poland – with snow making machines and a lighting system.

The centre also includes a ski and snowboard rental shop as well as catering – a barbecue hut offering hearty dishes such as grilled sausage and other barbecue specialties, and a regular restaurant with a rich menu. There is also a guest house, offering en-suite rooms, sauna, jacuzzi, table-tennis room and conference facilities, making it a perfect venue for various events.

Chyrowa-Ski is open not only in winter and is a perfect base for active holidays as Chyrowa is an ideal starting point for wanders around the Beskid Niski. The red trail to the majestic Cergowa Mountain leading through the hermitage of St John of Dukla is especially interesting.

The sports centre Pod Chyrową offers even more activities. It has high quality facilities and equipment, including a tennis court, football pitch, volleyball pitch and a pond with a bathing beach.

fot.: wikimedia.com, By Scots CC BY-SA