Among the hills and valleys of Beskid Niski and foothills around Gorlice, the oil industry was being born 150 years ago. However, natural outflows of shallow oil deposits (“rock oil”) in the Oil Valley had already been known for several centuries. Travelling the region along the Oil Trail, you can see places associated with both the beginnings of the oil industry and the use of oil by local population in the past. This tour is also an opportunity to explore many other monuments, especially valuable structures of wooden architecture, including sites entered in the UNESCO World Heritage List.
Most of the route runs through local roads, although its first section (from Gorlice to Ropa) is busy national road No. 28. Traffic on local side roads is usually little and their asphalt surface is of good quality. You may change the route in several places to reach even more sights, but you may run out of time to carefully visit all of them!
Starting your trip from Gorlice, you should see a chapel next to which the world's first kerosene street lamp was flared up – an invention of Ignacy Łukasiewicz, who used local deposits for his pioneering work on distilling kerosene from oil. Other “oil” attractions include open-air museums of oil industry in Sękowa, Libusza and Gorlice. In Kryg, you can still see so-called pumpjacks among fields. They were used to pump oil from small shallow wells. However, local crafts in Łosie had been associated with readily available natural oil outflows for centuries. This allowed the local Lemko community to produce a specific type of lubricant, called “maź”. From this place, they set out on long journeys in their “maziarskie” carriages to trade this product even in distant countries. This craft can be deeply explored in a small open-air museum in Łosie, called “Zagroda Maziarska”. Interesting examples of folk wooden architecture are placed in a larger open-air museum in Szymbark, where you can also see a remarkable Renaissance castle of the Gładysz Family. Among many wooden churches of different denominations, a church in Sękowa along the route clearly stands out, but you should detour to see also a nearby Orthodox church in Owczary Górne. Both of them are entered in the UNESCO World Heritage List. At the end of your trip, you can visit an unusual mausoleum in Zagórzany – a pyramid tomb of Skrzyńscy (aristocratic family) where, among others, Count Alexander Skrzyński, Prime Minister of the Second Republic of Poland rests in peace.