Saturday, April 27, 2019

Overview of the costumes of Poland, part 2, The Northeast, Mazowsze and Sieradz.


Hello all,

Today I will continue my overview of the folk costumes of Poland. Here once again is the full map of the traditional regions of current Polish territory. In this article I will cover more or less the northeast quadrant.

The Northeast

The northeast did not form part of the Kingdom of Mieszko, but was at various times through history part of the Polish State or Commonwealth.

This area was the homeland of the Prussians, who were a Baltic people, related to the Lithuanians. They lived in the area between the Vistula and the Curonian lagoon. During the 13th century, The Teutonic Knights established bases on the shores of the Baltic. They organized the so called Northern Crusades against the Prussians, because they had not yet converted to Christianity, with the aim of conversion and the annexation of their territory. After the conquest, they, together with some Slavic tribes that had moved into the area slowly assimilated the Prussians. The Prussian language died out in the late 17th cent. The German speaking people of the area continued to call themselves Prussians, however.

Powiśle or Pomezania

This region lies along the mouth of the Vistula, and includes the hills to the east, historically known as the Prussian Uplands. It is shown in medium pink in the map above. The major town of the region is Malbork.


This area definitively became part of Poland after WWII. German speaking inhabitants were resettled within the present borders of Germany. A portion of the population, however were ethnically Polish, and had their own established folk costume, which, like the Kaszubs had gold embroidered caps for married women ornamented with goffered ribbons. This area is shown in violet on the map.



This was historically called Lower Prussia. It is shown on the map in lavender. I have found very little information from this area.

This group is from the village of Koczarki. It is the only reasonable image which I have found from this area.


In Polish this region is called Mazury. The Polish inhabitants of this region were mostly Lutheran, and followed an urban rather than rural culture. There seems to be no true folk costume among this group, rather they wore their own version of town costume. This region is shown on the map in darker lavender.


Litwa Pruska

This lies in the northeast of Masuria, and once formed the southernmost part of Lithuania Minor.



Suwalszczyna in Polish. This region is in far northeastern Poland, right in the corner, around the town of Suwalki. It has long had a strong Lithuanian population. It has been the cause of border disputes between Poland and Lithuania. It forms the northern part of the area listed as Litwa [Lithuania] on the map in brown.


This lies south of Suwalki, still in the brown area labelled Litwa, or Lithuania.

As for the southern part of this region, I have found no information as to folk costume. If anyone has such information I would be glad to be better informed.
The small corner in gray to the south of this is labeled "Black Rus'", which is an old name for Belarus. The costume of this area, and the region south of it would likely be close to Belarusian costume.


Podlasie in Polish. This lies in the northeast of Poland, along the Belorussian border. It is shown in medium green at the right of the map.The northern and central parts of this area are blank on maps of Polish costume. Again, if anyone has information from this area please contact me. The costume which is found in the far south of this region, the Nadbuzhansk costume, [ie. along the Bug] is also found across the border in both Belorussia and Ukraine.

I have written an article about this costume.



This region is shown in darker green on the map, and forms the western end of the region of Polissia. The Nadbuzhansk costume, which was worn in the extreme south of Podlasie, is also worn in the northeast of this region, but there are a couple of others as well.

 Biala Podlaska

This costume is found in the northwest, and shows the influence of settlers from Mazowsze. 


 This is found in the southwest of this region, and is similar to costumes found further west.


Volodava in Ukrainian. This costume is found in the southeastern part of Polesie, and greatly resembles the costumes found further east, in Ukrainian and Belorussian Polissia. The costumes are based mostly on linen or hemp.



Mazowsze in Polish. This is shown in yellow on the map. This, along with Malopolska, forms the heart of Polish cultural territory. Most folk costumes from this region are based on hand woven striped cloth from wool. Some of the most iconic Polish folk costumes are from this region.I will proceed roughly from the northeast.


 These people live in the forests of northeast Masovia, and are named for the moccasins which traditionally formed part of their costume. They are divided into two groups. 

Green Forest Kurpie

These live further north, and even over the border slightly into Mazuria and Podlasie. I have written an article about this costume.

White Forest Kurpie

These people live further south, in a nearby but non-contiguous tract of forest. They have developed an elaborate and very distinct embroidery tradition. I have written 2 articles on this costume. 



This town lies in east central Masovia, between Warsaw and Bialystok.


 This region is somewhat east of central Masovia, and has now been annexed by the city of Warsaw. There is obvious city and upper class influence on the costume.



This region lies in southeast Masovia.



This region lies in the northwest of Masovia, not far from the town of Gostynin,_Masovian_Voivodeship


 This region lies in west central Masovia, and the costume is iconic of Poland as a whole. 


Rawa Mazowiecka

This region lies in southwest Masovia. 


 Central Regions

These two regions lie somewhat south of the center of Poland, but I think that the culture resembles that of Masovia as much as any other. 

 Łęczyca Land
 This region lies west of Masovia, it is shown in bright lime green on the map. 

 This region lies between Wielkopolksa, Silesia, Malopolska and Masovia. It is shown in rusty red on the map. There seems to have been a variety of costumes worn here.


 Wieluń Land

 In Polish, Ziemia Wieluńska This region lies in the southwest part of Sieradz territory.



The major city is today known as Piotrków Trybunalski.This region lies east of Sieradz, and borders Malopolska. The costume reflects this location. 

 This concludes the second part of my overview of the Folk Costumes of Poland. 
I hope that you have found this to be interesting and informative. 

Roman K.


Here is a website that offers a good map and images of Polish folk costumes.