Ropa, Ropka, Ropica
("ropa" means petroleum in Polish) - these names of rivers
and towns point to the historical beginnings of "natural oil"
exploitation in Gorlice and its surrounding areas, followed by the
creation of the first tools for petroleum extraction. Then, Ignacy
Łukasiewicz came along, a chemist and inventor of the first paraffin
lamp and initiator of petroleum industry, which had transformed this
part of the region before the world would hear of the Rockefeller
In 19th century, grease merchants, producers of goo, a by-product of petroleum distillation used for smearing wheels and horse hoofs, travelled as far as Yekaterinburg and the Balkans, inticing potential clients to buy their products.
Today, their encouraging calls can be heard from tourists’ rides in grease merchant's carriages, which set off from a very interesting museum in Łosie, called "Grease Merchant's Stables". Apart from the grease merchants, who derive from the Lemkos, the area is also home to some disappearing craftsmen, such as birch tar makers from Bielanka or wooden spoon makers from Nowica. You can discover the history of petroleum exploitation in the PTTK (Polish Tourist and Sightseeing Society) Regional Museum, the Museum of Petroleum Extraction in Gorlice, "Magdalenka" mine in Gorlice, and an open-air Museum of Petroleum Industry and Ethnography in the near-by Libusza.