Tavern, Jeleśnia
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The tavern in Jeleśnia constitutes a valuable example of period wooden architecture, representing a rare type of Polish tavern; today, the building holds a substantial historical, ethnographic and cultural value, being one of only two surviving original structures of its kind in the Podbeskidzie region, where - according to legend - infamous outlaws such as Jurek Fiedor a.k.a. Proćpak would hold frequent gatherings, hence its significance as part of the local folklore and heritage.


The so-called “Old Tavern” in Jeleśnia was erected in the second half of the 18th century and is one of the most valuable historical monuments in the entire village. According to local legends, it was originally constructed by Valachian shepherds and had originally served as a forester’s lodge. Taverns of this kind would often be located in the middle of the village, in the immediate vicinity of the local church or trading route. The location of the Old Tavern is entirely consistent with this trend, with the building being situated near the church as well as the market square which remained a part of a mercantile route connecting the town of Żywiec and the Orava region. During the 19th century, the building underwent a thorough restoration, during which the front porch was added, while the middle section of the ceiling in the main hall was now graced by period crossbeams which were moved here from the Cloth Hall in Cracow at the request of the building’s custodian. The building was subsequently restored once again after World War II, having sustained damage during the wartime hostilities. In the 1950s, the walls of the structure and its foundations were reinforced, the annexes which had clung to its façades were demolished and roof cladding was replaced. In addition, the missing sections of the log structure of the carriage house were also filled with new timbers. The very first owner of the building had most likely been archduke Carl Ludwig Habsburg, who purchased the lands surrounding the town of Żywiec in 1833. Towards the end of the 20th century, the building was acquired by the Witek family from Jeleśnia, with the most recent change in ownership having taken place in 1954, when the structure was acquired by the “Farmers’ Self-Help” Commune Cooperative.


The building is situated in the centre of the village of Jeleśnia, north-west of the church, by the market square. It is a typical example of a Polish tavern, made of sturdy wooden logs. Designed on a roughly L-shaped floor plan, the structure consists of two single-storey wings.

The entire building is covered with a two-tier hip roof similar to a säteri roof, albeit without the additional strip of wall separating the upper and lower section of the roof structure. The roof is clad with wood shingles. Inside, the building features wooden beamed ceilings, while the vestibule comes equipped with a brick sail vault. All of the floors are made of wooden boards, with the exception of the vestibule, which features a sett paving instead. The floor of the carriage house is covered with stone slabs. Single-flight wooden stairs leading up to the garret are located in the northern part of the wing. The main entrance in the eastern (front) façade is preceded by an open porch supported by a pair of pillars, while the rear entrance gate forms part of the western façade. The rectangular windows with wooden casings, punctuating the façades, are restrained in form, with each of the two hinged casements divided into three panes. The entrance doors are framed with wooden portals with truncated corners, with the doors themselves being of the planked, double type. The external walls feature exposed log structure which displays its natural colour, having not been whitewashed; the gaps between the timbers are filled with straw.

Accessible historical monument, currently serving as the “Old Tavern” restaurant, open daily between midday and 22 PM.

compiled by Agata Mucha, Regional Branch of the National Heritage Board of Poland in Katowice, 03-10-2014.


  • Karta Ewidencyjna Zabytków Architektury i Urbanistyki, Stara Karczma, oprac. M. Cempla, 1998, Archiwum Wojewódzkiego Urzędu Ochrony Zabytków w Katowicach
  • Katalog Zabytków Sztuki w Polsce, t. I woj. Krakowskie, red. J. Szablowski, z. 15 Powiat Żywiecki, oprac. J.Szablowski, Warszawa 1951, s. 4
  • Baranowski B., Polska karczma. Restauracja. Kawiarnia, Wrocław 1979
  • Wojtasiński K., ,,Stara Karczma’’ w Jeleśni, [w:] Beskidy, 2 (43) 2007, s.12-13
  • Prawie wszystko o Jeleśni, red. S. Pęksa, Jeleśnia 1985, s. 14-15

General information

  • Type: tavern
  • Chronology: 2. poł. XVIII w.
  • Form of protection: register of monuments
  • Address: Rynek 12, Jeleśnia
  • Location: Voivodeship śląskie, district żywiecki, commune Jeleśnia
  • Source: National Heritage Board of Poland


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