Kalwaria Zebrzydowska is a town in southern Poland and a sanctuary site that has immense cultural and religious value to Polish Catholics. The whole historical, architectural and pilgrimage complex consists of a basilica, a Franciscan monastery and several avenues, all of which were added to the UNESCO World Heritage List in 1999. Actually, it is the only Calvary in the world to be so listed, and in Europe alone there are over a thousand of them. Pope John Paul II was greatly attached to this place. As a boy, he would often come to Kalwaria Zebrzydowska from his neighbouring hometown of Wadowice. After he became Pope he was to visit Kalwaria twice more.
Kalwaria Zebrzydowska TOURISM
Two major events occur each year and draw great numbers of visitors to this picturesque spot. One of these events takes place during Holy Week, when pilgrims arrive eager to attend the colourful, dramatic and realistic Passion Play relating to the last days of Jesus’s life. The play, regarded as an act of collective catharsis, provides a deeper understanding of traditional Polish Catholicism. During the summer Kalwaria reawakens for the Festival of the Assumption (15 August) – the most significant Polish Marian holiday.
Kalwaria Zebrzydowska is located in the Lesser Poland Voivodship (Malopolska), 40 km to the south-west of Krakow. It developed alongside the River Cedron, between two majestic mountains – Lanckoronska (555 m above sea level) and Zar (527 m). This small town has a population of around 4,000 people.
Mikolaj Zebrzydowski was the squire of Krakow in the 17th century, and had a castle standing on Lanckoronska Mountain. The story is that one day his wife was looking out of a castle window when she had a vision of three flaming crosses, rising higher and higher. Mikolaj founded a church and a monastery in that very spot. Also at his initiative a very special garden was created at the bottom of Lanckoronska Mountain, where he came to pray and make penitence. Before long an entire complex of about... ( more >>)