stolarczykPriest, writer. Founder of the first school in Zakopane, Father Stolarczyk was also the city’s first parish priest. One of the best Tatra mountaineers of his generation, he is buried in the old cemetary which he himself helped build, next to the oldest church in Zakopane on Koscieliska street.

chalubinskiA physician, Tytus was the co-founder of the Polish Tatra Society and established the tuberculosis sanatoria in Zakopane. A lover and keen student of nature, Peridinium chalubinskii i Chalubinskia tatrica were named in his honour. The Tatra Museum also bears his name, reflecting many years he spent discovering the mountains alongside his friend Sabala, with whom he shares a statue in the city.

sabalaFolk Musician, freedom fighter, storyteller, mountain guide. Sabala’s birth surname was Gasienica. He was famous for entertaining the upper class visitors to Zakopane and his stories have been publicised widely by renowned Polish writers like Sienkiewicz, Tetmajer and Orkan.

eljaszPainter, illustrator, teacher of fine arts and photographer, renowned for Realism. Walery was active during the Partitions of Poland, painted church frescos, designed costumes for theatre and exhibited his works internationally. Co-founder fo the Polish Tatra Society and an avid climber, he wrote the first ever tourist guide to the Tatras in 1870.

witkiewiczA painter, architect, writer and art theoretician. He created the Zakopane Style in architecture. His view on formal education: “school is completely at odds with the psychological make-up of human beings”. As a writer he promoted Podhale folk art and the nature of the Tatra Mountains.

karlowiczComposer and conductor. His father Jan was a Polish linguist, lexicographer and musician. Much of his output was lost during World War II. Karlowicz died aged 32 in an avalanche while skiing in the Tatra mountains and a memorial stone can be seen near Hala Gasienicowa.

bachledaGuide, mountain rescuer. Known as the ‘Tatra Eagle’, he became a hero among the highlander community for his exceptional talents and tireless work caring for the sick during the Cholera epidemic in the late 19th century. Bachleda died in an avalanche stone during a mountain rescue expedition.

tetmajerPoet, novelist, journalist. He was a member of the Young Poland movement and is particularly well known for his works about the Tatra mountains. Przerwa-Tetmajer studied classics and philosophy at the Jagiellonian University, served as president of the Society of Writers and Journalists and was made honorary member of the Polish Academy of Literature.

zaruskiSocial activist, sportsman, photographer, painter, poet and writer, traveler, a conspirator, legionnaire and lancer in Polish cavalry and teacher. Founder of TOPR, one of the first mountain rescue services. Zaruski was a Brigadier-General in the Polish Army, a pioneer of Polish sports yachting and an outstanding climber. Awarded the highest Polish Military distinction; the Order of VirtutiMilitari 5th Class and decorated several times with the Cross of Valour as well as the Grand Cross of Order of Poland’s Rebirth posthumously.

kasprowiczPoet, playwright, critic and translator. Kasprowicz was a foremost representative of Young Poland, a modernist period in Polish visual arts, literature and music. In 1904 he received a doctorate from the Lviv University where he was rector in 1921- 1922. Self-taught, mastered the classical Latin and Greek as well as French and English languages. His works and poetry won him critical acclaim, as did translations of other greats, including Shakespeare.

orkanWriter. Cofounder and member of Tatras Highlanders Union. Birth name Franciszek Ksawery Smaciarz, he was one of the greatest Polish writers from Podhale region from the Young Poland period. Orkan started publishing while in the fourth grade, later changing his name to defy the ban on pro-independent literature. During the First World War he joined the Polish Legions (4th Regiment).

zamoyskiWladyslaw was a Polish nobleman and philanthropist, vice-president of the Republic of Zakopane in 1918 and owner of many estates including the Polish Tatra Mountains. The son of Count Zamoyski, who was a general in the Turkish and British armies, he initiated many charitable and educational institutions. In his testament, he granted all his properties to the Polish nation and was posthumously awarded the Order of Polonia Restituta.

szymanowskiPianist, the most celebrated Polish composer of the early 20th century, awarded the highest honors, including the Officer’s Cross of the Order of Polonia Restituta and the Order of Merit of the Republic of Poland. Szymanowski developed a highly individual rhapsodic style and a harmonic world of his own.

witkacyCommonly known as Witkacy, he was a painter, photographer, poet, novelist and pilosopher, Son of Stanislaw Witkiewicz Snr. Awarded the Golden Laurel of the Polish Academy of Literature for his novels.

marusarzownaSkier, freedom fighter, sister of Stanislaw. 7 times Polish champion, she dominated the Alpine events in Poland during the years before WWII. After war broke out, she was a courier in the army before being captured and murdered by the Nazis. Many city streets bear her name and she was posthumously awarded The War Order of Virtuti Militari and The Cross of Valor.

czechSportsman, artist, freedom fighter. Won Polish championships 24 times in various skiing disciplines, including Alpine skiing, Nordic skiing and ski jumping. One of the pioneers of mountain rescue in the Tatra Mountains and a glider instructor. During WWII he was a soldier of Polish Underground but was captured, imprisoned and murdered by Germans in Auschwitz.

makuszynskiChildren’s writer, elected member of the prestigious Polish Academy of Literature in the interwar Poland, former chairman of the Polish writers and journalist community. His most famous works include the adventures of Koziolek Matolek and The Two Who Stole the Moon; a film which starred a young Lech Kaczynski, former Polish president.

marusarzOlympian, freedom fighter, ski jumper. In 1935 he beat the world record. Marusarz became the first Pole ever to earn a ski jumping medal at the 1938 FIS Nordic World Ski Championships. After the German attack on Poland, he joined the AK and fought for Poland’s independence. Captured and sentenced to death, but Marusarz successfully escaped. Awarded the Silver Cross of the Virtuti Militari, Grand Cross of the Order of Polonia Restituta and many other.

paryskaZofia was a botanist, a writer and a keen mountaineer. The author of numerous scholarly works on the Tatra plants and co-author of the Great Tatra Encyclopedia She was the first ever female rescuer at TOPR (Tatra Search and Rescue) and also the first ever female mountain guide.

paryskiA keen mountaineer, rescuer, mountain guide and student of medicine, Witold loved nature and was heavily involved in protecting the Tatra flora and fauna, writing the Great Tatra Encyclopedia as well as other works during his lifetime.

ustupskiOlympian, sculler. Six times Polish champion, European champion in 1935, Ustupski won the Olympic bronze in the double sculls event a year later. Ustupski was a member of the Home Army during WWII and fought in the Warsaw uprising. Another highly decorated individual, his daughter Hanna followed in his footsteps, herself winning bronze at the 164 Universiade.

gronOlympian. The first Polish athelete to win a Winter Olympics medal in Nordic skiing when he took bronze in the Nordic combined at the 1956 event in Cortina. Throughout his career he competed in many events, including downhill slalom, cross country, table tennis and football among others. Awarded the Grand Cross of the Order of Polonia Restituta for his services to sport, Franciszek was the guest of honour at the Turi Olympics.

warszawskaSports nurse. A symbol of the sporting world, her real age remained a mystery to this very day. Sister Warszawska became an ever-present icon throughout her 35 years working at the COS sports centre in Zakopane and has been awarded numerous medals for her commitment and tireless work in the field of physiotherapy and rehabilitation.

berbekaMountaineer, mountain guide, TOPR and IFMGA member as well as painter, graphic designer and scenographer.Berbeka’s accomplishments include being the first person in the world to reach 8000 m winter (Rocky Summit in 1988) and making the first winter ascent of Manaslu, Cho Oyu and Broad Peak, where he tragically went missing during the descent.

cywinskiMountain guide, rescuer, alpinist. An electronics engineer by trade, Cywinski is recognised as one of the contemporary Tatrologians who took part in over 300 search and rescue missions and wrote detailed guide books. In 1981, leader of Movement for Defense of Human and Civic Rights groups smuggling Samizdat and other literature for the underground church in Slovakia. Awarded the Order of Polonia Restituta in 2009.

hasiorPainter, sculptor, theatre set designer who studied at the Academy of Fine Arts in Warsaw. Viewed by many as a pioneer of assemblage in Poland who experimented with many forms, techniques and materials, creating truly unique works of art which were exhibited throughout Europe. Officially, Hasior’s Gallery is a branch of the Tatra Museum and includes around one hundred of his works, which often shock and provoke the beholder.

schneigertTeacher, engineer and social activist. Zbigniew was also a member of the Ancient Astronaut Society. He devoted himself to writing works in the field of modern missile and space weapons. Active during the struggles of WWII. Schneigert developed plans for public transport in Zakopane, as well as many urban renewal projects.

fortunaOlympian, ski jumper. Former Polish champion. Won Poland’s first Olympic Gold Medal in the Large Hill at the 1972 Winter Olympics  in Sapporo.

luszczekOlympian, cross country skier. 36 times Polish champion. Gold and bronze medallist from the 1978 World Ski Championships, where he competed in 15km and 30km cross country events and became the first ever Polish athelete to claim the honours, later chosen as the Sportsman of the Year. Also a recipient of the Grand Cross of the Order of Polonia Restituta.

curusPolish speed skater who won individual gold (1500m) silver (3000m) and bronze (1000m) at the 2007 Universiade. Katarzyna was part of the women’s relay team which claimed Olympic bronze in 2010, for which she was awarded the Knight’s Cross of the Order of Polonia Restituta, followed by the silver medal at the Sochi games in 2014, a repeat of the previous year’s result at the World Championships.

stochOlympian, ski jumper. Stoch was merely 3 years old when he first started skiing. 2013 World champion in the large hill and the 2014 double Olympic champion in the normal hill and large hill. While competing in Sochi, he wore a helmet painted in military green, in tribute to the Polish Air Force. Stoch graduated from the School of Sports Championships in Zakopane. He is also a graduate of the Academy of Physical Education in Krakow, and was granted a Masters in Physical Education.

niedzwiedzkiOlympian, long track speed skater. In 2009, at the Universiade in Harbin, Konrad won gold in the team pursuit and two individual silvers at 1000m and 1500m. In 2014, as part of the men’s relay team, Konrad won Olympic bronze; a repeat of the previous year’s World Championship result at the same venue. His father, Krzysztof, also coached the national women’s team to winning the silver medal at the Sochi games.