Frédéric Chopin’s home country of Poland has no shortage of sites honoring the late musical genius—including Chopin’s actual heart, which was brought from Paris back home to Warsaw after his death. But a more obscure (and far less macabre) tribute to the composer can be found in the small village of Szafarnia, in historic Dobrzyńska Land, a picturesque place that was put on the cultural map for being the former stomping ground of Poland’s greatest composer.
Between ages 4 and 14 the young Fryderyk Chopin (his name at birth) spent memorable summer holidays in 1824 and 1825 at this beautiful manor house in Szafarnia, the family estate of his friend Dominik Dziewanoski. Today the small 19th-century palace houses the Chopin Centre, a cultural center, concert hall and small museum where you can follow in the footsteps of the young virtuoso.
Visitors have the chance to read young Chopin’s funny letters that show his great literary skills and sense of humour. The local cafe serves the aromatic acorn coffee that Chopin used to drink. You can read a book in the library, take a walk in the surrounding historic park, or, of course, listen to the music Chopin composed inspired by the Polish folklore that he experienced here.
The cultural center also hosts classical music concerts, art exhibitions, theater shows, author reads, and educational courses. It is perhaps best known, appropriately, for the International Fryderyk Chopin Piano Competition for children and youth. The 25-year tradition is a very popular piano competition with participants from around the world.
Know Before You Go
The Chopin Centre is open for tourists from Tuesday to Sunday till 4 pm.