In 2001, at the initiative of the Małopolskie Voivodship, the initiative of the Wooden Architecture Route was established. It is a route that follows the trail of historic churches, Orthodox churches, bell towers, manor houses, villas and homesteads. All the sites that make up the route have something special. You can verify it by visiting the church of Our Lady of Perpetual Help in Jurków or the church of Sts Simon and Jude! Apostles in Dobra. A little more to the north, you will find among the lush trees the auxiliary church of St Nicholas Bishop in Skrzydlna. In the area, and more precisely – in Kasina Wielka, stands the nearly 350-year-old church of St Mary Magdalene. The same patroness was assigned to the church of St Mary Magdalene – Władysław Orkan Museum in Rabka-Zdrój. Going to the east, we will reach the church of St John the Evangelist in Pisarzowa and the church of St Antony the Abbot in Męcina. Finally, don't forget to visit the church of the Holy Cross on the Piątkowa Góra hill in Rdzawka, located near the popular road connecting Krakow to Zakopane (known as “zakopianka”), from which there is a view on the beautiful Babia Góra.
Interesting religious monuments can of course also be found outside the Wooden Architecture Route. One of the noteworthy sites is certainly the Papal Chapel at Turbacz, reminding about the love of John Paul II to the mountains. Among the stone temples, we recommend the Basilica of Our Lady of Sorrows in Limanowa and the shrine of Our Lady of Consolation in Pasierbiec. It is worth noting that Island Beskids is also cut through by the First World War Eastern Front Route, which includes, among others: the Jabłoniec cemetery, the cemetery in Kamionka Mała, a monument to the meeting of generations – Chyszówka and the cemetery in Limanowa.
The museums and manors located in the towns and villages of Gorce and Island Beskids will tell you a lot about the history of the region as well. The manor house in Laskowa was built at the turn of the 16th and 17th centuries. This Baroque building originally belonged to the Laskowski family, owners of the Laskowa village from the Middle Ages until the second half of the 17th century. In 1688, the indebted lands of Laskowa Górna and Laskowa Dolna were bought by the bishop of Kraków Jan Małachowski. In the following centuries, the Manor in Laskowa, distinguished by a shingle, high roof in the Krakow style, belonged successively to bishops Skrzyński and Żochowski. Currently, it remains in the hands of the Michałowski family and is one of the points on the Wooden Architecture Route. The Manor in Świdnik is also entered on that list. This partly wooden and partly brick building was erected in 1752 by the then owners of the village – the Wielogłowski family.
Another building worth remembering is the famous “Orkanówka”, or the Biographical Museum of Władysław Orkan in Poręba Wielka. This villa, the design of which was inspired by the famous Zakopane style, houses collections presenting the life and literary work of Władysław Orkan and monuments of material culture of highlanders living on the northern slopes of Gorce. This famous writer of the Young Poland period is also the patron of the Władysław Orkan Museum in Rabka-Zdrój based in the wooden church of St Mary Magdalene. In the temple dating from the early 17th century, you can see several exhibitions dedicated to pottery, shepherding, clothing and ancient folk sculpture, among others. The treasury of knowledge about the old days is also the Museum of Highlanders and Robbers in Rabka-Zdrój. This facility contains exhibitions regarding highlanders living in the surrounding areas and Carpathian robbers. It is located in several buildings and includes, among others, highlander's cottage Dom Pod Trzema Madonnami, little castle of the Carpathian robbers and a shepherd hut. To discover the history of the Limanowa area, it is worth visiting the Regional Museum of the Limanowa Region, which has collected an impressive number of historical, ethnographic, artistic and photographic exhibits. There are as many as 26,000 of them.
Chabówka is well known among tourists for its Rolling Stock Open Air Museum. Its collections include, among others: steam engines, draisines, as well as diesel and electric locomotives. In the summer season, the open-air museum offers a remarkable attraction – a retro train ride from Chabówka to Kasina Wielka. Lovers of old railways are also recommended to participate in the Parowozjada event.
When you are in the area, it is also worth visiting the Monastery Museum of Cistercians in Szczyrzyc and the Open-air Museum at Jędrzejkówka in Laskowa.