Go to the southern Polish city of Zakopane, and you might run across the famous Ciupaga… a light axe/walking stick hybrid used by the local shepherds. While it is also popular in Slovakia, Czech Republic, Romania, and Hungary, this blog is about Poland, so we’ll only refer to those living north of the border!
The local górale (highlanders) have been using the ciupaga as a tool and weapon for hundreds of years. Most of the time, it helps them climb the steep inclines of the Tatra mountains, but every so often, when confronted by a hooligan or highwayman, the ciupaga serves its master in more lethal ways… That’s what you get for trying to rob a highlander!
Ever since governments have gotten a bit more efficient at keeping the population safe from highway robbery, the ciupaga has been relegated to a more artistic function… It has become a prop for regional song and dance troupes.