Translated from lapszewyzne.com
by Helen Bienick
The village of Łapsze Wyżne (Upper)) belongs to the district of Łapsze Niżne (Lower). It is long and narrow, 1.75 kilometers in length, located on an elevation of 635 to 670 meters above sea level in a deep valley of the stream called Łapszanka. It is situated on the road which runs between the towns of Trybsz and Niedzica. On its north rises a mountain ridge called Grandeus, 795 meters in height. To the south stands a mountain peak called Kurosówka. The old houses in existence are mostly built of brick, or wood on brick foundations, and face the street with small walls in front of them. The area covers 1685 ha of land, of which 35% are forests, and 16% are pastureland. The population numbers about 800 people.
The village of Łapsze traces its origin to 1340. In the 15th century, it was divided into two, namely Niźna (Lower) and Wyźna (Upper). The original inhabitants were referred to as “Dolinki” meaning “valley people”, which eventually evolved into the Hungarian word “Łapos”, which means a kneading trough, a valley, named “Dolinski”. Hence, the name Łapszanki comes from the Hungarian. The village maintained the prevailing customs of the era, and it was governed based on the German style and manner, which was typical of Upper Hungary. Along with its present architecture and its buildings, it has nothing in common with the former style. The new styles came into existence after 1945, when the village was rebuilt after its destruction in World War II. “Czworaki”, which were houses that contained four families disappeared, as well as the gates and shady porches and balconies made popular by the carpenter named Knaus, the “Horwatek”. (Note: the palace of the noble family named Horwath is still in existence).
The village continued its expansion and growth due to the building of a road leading to the present-day Slovakian border with Poland, and the villages of Stare Cło and Cisłowa Skała (ridge), where the Białka River splits into two, presently Gronków.
For many years carriage and wagon driving was the principal occupation of the people. Due to the poor soil, poverty was prevalent. The village was also known for the production of shoes and boots.
The villages of Kaćwin, Łapsze and Trybsz have much in common with their characteristics in such cases as architecture, soil condition, and dress fashion, akin to the Germans in Keżmark, as well as the manner of civil governing. Many names used by the German colonists were used in describing the dress, topography, even the utensils used in daily routine.
Many of the inhabitants were from Poland proper, who were assigned to work as serfs in the olden days. The German colonists were not looked upon favorably, since they were better organized. Although they were obligated to pay rentals for their land, they often petitioned the town bailiff for better living conditions and tax relief from the Hungarian nobility, and requested that they match the terms of living as experienced by the peasants from Poland proper.