Category: Religious Destinations

Category: Religious Destinations

Wooden Churches of Southern Malopolska

Wooden churches

Wooden churches – updated 10 September 2022

The Wooden Churches of Southern Małopolska inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage Site list are located in: Binarowa (ca 1500), Blizne (mid-15th century.), Dębno (1335), Haczów (14th/15th century), Lipnica Murowana (end of 15th century) and Sękowa (1520). They were built using the horizontal log technique and represent outstanding examples of the different aspects of medieval church-building traditions in Roman Catholic culture.

Wooden churches - All Saints Church, Blizne

These old wooden Gothic churches were all located within the historic region of Małopolska in southern and south-eastern Poland and were sponsored by families of nobility as symbols of their prestige.

Horizontal Log Technique

The horizontal log technique was commonplace in Northern and Eastern Europe during the Middle Ages. The wooden church style of the region was Gothic ornament and painted detail and was very different to the style of stone and brick buildings at the time due to the timber construction, structure and form of the churches.

The form of the churches was influenced by the Greco-Catholic and Orthodox presence in the region. They had an extensive spatial structure initially consisting of a rectangular nave and a narrower chancel to the east, usually terminating in a three-sided apse. Chambered towers of post-and-beam construction were added at the west end later on.

Advanced joinery

The standard of joinery was of the highest quality and the use of advanced joinery solutions allowed for a system of roof trusses binding the log structures of the nave and chancel resulting in tall, shingled roofs.

The Wooden Churches of Southern Małopolska all exhibit diverse techniques and styles of workmanship, rich iconography, outstanding artistic quality and boast valuable décors and fittings.

The oldest church is the 15th century church in Haczów, made of fir-wood and covered with shingles.

The church at Binarowa boasts a very precious wall painting depicting scenes from the New Testament and a carved wood figure of Madonna from the 14th century.

The majority of the wooden churches are located in picturesque mountain valleys and the six trails on the Route of Timber Architecture in the Małopolska region are over 1500km long. They feature 232 timber constructions including 123 Roman Catholic churches, 39 Orthodox churches, 25 rural and small-town complexes, and 27 rural architecture museums that comprise 9 skansens and 14 country manors.

Bialowieza Tours (up to 7 people)

Wooden Churches of Southern Malopolska

What to expect from this tour

Participate in this day trip from Krakow and discover wooden churches of southern Poland listed on the UNESCO World Heritage.

This tour includes the service of a private tour guide-driver who will pick you up from your accommodation in Krakow, so you don't have to worry about a thing!

Visit some of the wooden churches of Southern Malopolska located in charming, picturesque villages. Admire the architecture of the temples in Binarowa, Sekowa, Owczary and Ropica. See the idiosyncratic structural solution used in their construction and appreciate the uniqueness of these Gothic buildings.

Wooden Tserkvas Of The Carpathian Region

Wooden Tserkvas

Wooden Tserkvas – updated 10 September 2022

The tserkvas Of The Carpathian Region were built between the 16th and 19th centuries by communities of Orthodox and Greek Catholic faiths. Sixteen tserkvas (churches) are listed by UNESCO of which eight are located in Poland and eight are located in Ukraine.

Wooden Tserkvas - St Michael the Archangel in Smolnik

Complex structures

The tserkvas were built of horizontal logs and were complex structures constructed using distinct building traditions rooted in Orthodox ecclesiastic design interwoven with elements of local tradition. The wooden tserkvas were built on a tri-partite plan surmounted by open quadrilateral or octagonal domes and cupolas with wooden bell towers on the outside and iconostases and polychrome decorations in the inside.

Outside, they had churchyards, gatehouses and graveyards bounded by perimeter walls or fences and gates, often surrounded by trees.

Carpentry skills

Exceptional carpentry skills were required to construct the wooden tserkvas particularly for the complex corner jointing that was required. The tserkvas were raised on wooden sills placed on stone foundations, with wooden shingles covering roofs and walls.

Wooden Tserkvas - St Michael the Archangel in Turzańsk

Poland

The wooden tserkvas in Poland are the Tserkva of St Parascheva in Radruż, the Tserkva of the Birth of the Blessed Virgin Mary in Chotyniec, the Tserkva of St Michael the Archangel in Smolnik, the Tserkva of St Michael the Archangel in Turzańsk (Podkarpackie Voivodeship), the Tserkva of St James the Less in Powroźnik, the Tserkva of the Virgin Mary's Care in Owczary, the Tserkva of St Parascheva in Kwiatoń and the Tserkva of St Michael the Archangel in Brunary Wyżne (Małpolskie Voivodeship).

The 16 churches can be divided into four groups of different ethnographic architectural traditions.

The Tserkvas of the Carpathian Region in Poland and Ukraine were included on the World Heritage List in 2013 during the 37th session of the World Heritage Committee in Phnom Penh (dec. 37 COM 8B.37).

Buildings are available to visitors. The tserkvas in Radruz, Rohatyn and Drohobych are currently used as museums.

Churches Of Peace in Jawor and Swidnica

Churches Of Peace

Churches Of Peace – updated 09 September 2022

The Churches of Peace in Jawor and Swidnica, were built in the former Silesia in the mid-17th century. They were named after the Peace of Westphalia, which was the name given to two peace treaties signed in October 1648 that resulted in the end of the Thirty Years War bringing peace to the Holy Roman Empire and closing a calamitous period of European history that killed approximately eight million people.

Churches Of Peace

The peace treaties effectively eradicated the Evangelical Church in the region depriving the Evangelical majority of the population any religious freedom and all of their churches.

After diplomatic intervention by Sweden, permission was granted to build three churches outside the city walls; however, this permission came with strict physical and political constraints. The Lutherans of Silesia were allowed to build three churches from wood, clay and straw without steeples and church bells with a construction deadline of just one year.

Churches Of Peace

Albrecht von Säbisch

The project was handed to architect and engineer Albrecht von Säbisch who had the difficult task of meeting the requirements of the large Evangelical community whilst also adhering to the caveats imposed on the construction of the churches.

The architect created a set of buildings that represented the pinnacle of timber-framing construction technology and architectural solutions. The Churches of Peace are the largest timber-framed Baroque ecclesiastical buildings in Europe and were built to a scale and complexity unknown in European wooden architecture before or since.

Churches Of Peace

Albrecht von Säbisch used traditional materials and technologies and despite the impermanence of the materials used, the building survived for hundreds of years.

Jawor

The Church of the Holy Spirit in Jawor was built in 1654–1655 as a rectangular three-aisled basilica with a three-sided chancel of reduced form.

Świdnica

The Church of the Holy Trinity in Świdnica was built in 1656–1657 as a three-aisled basilica with a Greek cross ground plan. The third of the Churches of Peace allowed under the Peace of Westphalia was built in Głogów in 1652 but burned down a hundred years later. Since 2001, the two remaining churches are listed as UNESCO World Heritage Sites.

Jawor and Swidnica Tours

Centennial Hall

What to expect from this tour

Visit two UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Lower Silesia in one day. Admire the beauty of the wooden church in Swidnica, the largest wooden church in the world and see the largest timber-framed religious buildings in Europe in Jawor.

The wooden church in Swidnica is the largest wooden baroque church in the world. It was built in 1655 and dedicated to the Holy Trinity. It is made of non-durable materials, which survived so far more than 350 years.

The timber-framed religious buildings in Jawor are the largest wattle and daub buildings in Europe, built at the times of the old Silesia in the middle of the XVII century, at a time of religious conflicts. These buildings are a manifestation of the desire for religious freedom and a rare mixture of Lutheran ideology connected to a Catholic church.

Wieliczka Salt Mine

Wieliczka

Wieliczka Salt Mine – Updated 23 August 2022

The salt mine is a UNESCO World Heritage site located around 14km southeast of Kraków and is one of Poland’s most popular attractions, welcoming tourists since 1722.

Wieliczka

Going underground

Wieliczka is a subterranean labyrinth of tunnels, shafts and chambers, underground saline lakes, chapels with altarpieces, majestic timber constructions and unique statues sculpted in rock salt. The size of the mine is staggering, it reaches a depth of 327m and extends via horizontal passages and chambers for over 287 km distributed over nine levels. Only a small part of the mine is open to the public.

Wieliczka Salt Mine Sculptures

The oldest sculptures were carved out of rock salt by miners; more recent figures have been fashioned by contemporary artists. Even the crystals of the chandeliers are made from rock salt that has been dissolved and reconstituted to achieve a clear, glass-like appearance. The rock salt is naturally grey in various shades, so that the carvings resemble unpolished granite rather than the white or crystalline look that many visitors expect. The carvings may appear white in the photos, but the actual carved figures are not white.

Chapel of St Kinga

The highlight of the mine is a vast chamber housing the ornamented Chapel of St Kinga. Everything that you will see within the chamber is made from salt including altarpieces and chandeliers. It took over 30 years for three sculptors to complete this underground temple, and about 20,000 tonnes of rock salt had to be removed. The rock salt in the mine resembles unpolished granite and its natural colour is grey, not white as many people might expect.

Salt Mine

The older sculptures have been supplemented with new carvings made by contemporary artists.

Working mine

Historically, Wieliczka was a working mine; however due to falling salt prices and flooding, commercial salt mining was discontinued. The mine has produced salt since the 13th century and was one of the world’s oldest operating salt mines.

UNESCO World Heritage Site

Salt Lake

Other highlights are the Salt Lake in the Erazm Barącz Chamber, whose water is denser than the Dead Sea, and the awe-inspiring 36m-high Stanisław Staszic Chamber.

If you’re worried about the air quality down there, great news: the mine’s special microclimate actually has a beneficial effect on asthma sufferers and those with allergies!

UNESCO World Heritage Site

378 steps

To get down to the 64-metre level of the mine, visitors must descend a wooden stairway of 378 steps. After the 3km tour of the mine’s corridors, chapels, statues and lake, 135 metres underground, visitors take an elevator back up to the surface. The elevator holds 36 persons (nine per car) and takes some 30 seconds to reach the surface.

Getting there

Getting to the Wieliczka Salt Mines from Krakow shouldn’t prove too difficult or expensive. Regular buses run from the top of Starowislna Street opposite the Main Post Office, taking around forty minutes to get there. Be warned that buses are a little cramped and we advise you check departure details at one of Krakow’s tourist information offices as these routes chop and change quite a bit. You’re best asking a friendly Pole where to get off too, as this is a public bus not a tourist service.

Wieliczka Salt Mine Tours & Experiences

Niepokalanów

Our Mary Immaculate and Saint Maximilian Kolbe

Niepokalanów – Updated 23 August 2022

Niepokalanów, known as, ‘The Shrine of Our Mary Immaculate and Saint Maximilian Kolbe’ is a Roman Catholic religious community located about 40km west of Warsaw.

Niepokalanów

The shrine is one of the newest in Poland but also one of the most popular, primarily due to the cult following of Saint Maximillian who was canonised in 1982.

Maximillian Kolbe

Maximillian Kolbe was a Polish Franciscan Friar who founded Niepokalanów in 1927 on land donated by Duke Drucki-Lubecki. The aim was to build a new monastery and in the autumn of the same year the first wooden barracks were built and a consecration of the new monastery took place on 7 December 1927.

The Knight of the Immaculate

Prior to the Second World War, Niepokalanów was the largest monastery in the world, housing as many as 760 men. It contained a printing house producing many publications. One of these publications was called, ‘The Knight of the Immaculate’ and had a press run of 750,000 copies a month.

During the Second World War, Maximillian Kolbe was sent to Auschwitz-Birkenau for the crime of hiding Jews from the Nazis. He died in the camp, giving his life for the life of another prisoner and it was this act of heroism, which fuelled the cult of St. Maximillian to become widespread at the end of the war.

After the war the printing house in Niepokalanów was reopened and The Knight of the Immaculate was issued again. A new church was built between 1948-1954 and this and the monastery were visited by Pope John Paul II during his second Pastoral Visit in Poland on 18th of June 1983. The visit of the Pope made Niepokalanów famous not only in Poland, but also abroad.

Today over 700,000 pilgrims come to Niepokalanów, to visit the Basilica of the Blessed Virgin Mary and also the monastic cell of St. Maximilian. They also come to see the Panorama Theatre, which commemorates 1,000 years of Christianity in Poland and highlights the most important events in the history of the church in Poland.

Visit the Niepokalanów website.

Religious Tours

Wadowice

What to expect from this tour

This fascinating tour with a religious context will start from the pick-up from your accommodation in Krakow. At first, you will go to Wadowice, the hometown of The Holy Father John Paul II. Follow in the footsteps of one of the greatest Poles in history.

You will see the secondary school which young Karol Wojtyła attended. Then you will go to the Main Market Square named after John Paul II and visit the parish church. You will admire numerous paintings, chapels and famous baptismal font where future Pope had been baptized. Finally, you will participate in a guided tour at the Family Home Museum of John Paul II available in various languages.

From Wadowice you will go directly to Częstochowa often called the spiritual capital of Poland. Marvel the beauty and mystical atmosphere of Jasna Góra, the famous Polish shrine to the Virgin Mary and one of Poland’s most visited pilgrimage sites. Upon arrival enjoy your time having a lunch break at your own expense. Start your tour at The Monastery guided by venerable Pauline’s Monk. In the end, you will admire the miraculous painting of The Black Madonna of Częstochowa.

Kalwaria Zebrzydowska

Zebrzydowska

Kalwaria Zebrzydowska – Updated 23 August 2022

A town in southern Poland located within the Lesser Poland region, around 14km east of the former home of Pope John Paul II in Wadowice.

Kalwaria Zebrzydowska

Pilgrimage site

Kalwaria Zebrzydowska is Poland’s second most important pilgrimage site after Jasna Góra in Częstochowa and owes its existence to the squire of Kraków at the time, Mikołaj Zebrzydowski.

The story is that Mikołaj’s wife had a vision of three burning crosses on the very hill the park is now located upon. Seeing this as a heavenly message, Mikołaj commissioned the construction of a calvary modelled on the 1584 map of Jerusalem by Christian Kruik van Adrichem. Today the calvary is known as the ‘Polish Jerusalem’.

Kalwaria Zebrzydowska was established in 1600. By 1617, twenty-four chapels had been built over the surrounding hills with many replicating the look of chapels in Jerusalem. As the place attracted growing numbers of pilgrims, more chapels were erected, eventually totalling 42. Today, over a million pilgrims visit this devotional complex every year. In 1999 Kalwaria Zebrzydowska was added to Unesco’s list of World Heritage sites.

The site is also one of Poland's official national Historic Monuments, as designated November 17, 2000, and tracked by the National Heritage Board of Poland.

Baroque St. Mary's Basilica

The crowning glory of Kalwaria Zebrzydowska is the marvellous Baroque St. Mary's Basilica, the first building to be constructed and the work of Giovanni Maria Bernardoni and Paolo Baudarth.

Kalwaria Zebrzydowska

Calvary Park

Calvary Park consists of 42 chapels modelled and named after places in Jerusalem and Holy Land. There are two main paths, one devoted to Jesus Christ and the other one devoted to Holy Mary. The first has 24 chapels, the second 11 chapels, the rest are common to both of them.

Pope John Paul II made several visits to Kalwaria Zebrzydowska on the pilgrimages he made to his homeland Poland.

Visit the official Kalwaria Zebrzydowska website.

Religious Tours

Wadowice

What to expect from this tour

This fascinating tour with a religious context will start from the pick-up from your accommodation in Krakow. At first, you will go to Wadowice, the hometown of The Holy Father John Paul II. Follow in the footsteps of one of the greatest Poles in history.

You will see the secondary school which young Karol Wojtyła attended. Then you will go to the Main Market Square named after John Paul II and visit the parish church. You will admire numerous paintings, chapels and famous baptismal font where future Pope had been baptized. Finally, you will participate in a guided tour at the Family Home Museum of John Paul II available in various languages.

From Wadowice you will go directly to Częstochowa often called the spiritual capital of Poland. Marvel the beauty and mystical atmosphere of Jasna Góra, the famous Polish shrine to the Virgin Mary and one of Poland’s most visited pilgrimage sites. Upon arrival enjoy your time having a lunch break at your own expense. Start your tour at The Monastery guided by venerable Pauline’s Monk. In the end, you will admire the miraculous painting of The Black Madonna of Częstochowa.

Wadowice

Wadowice, birthplace of the Pope

Wadowice – Updated on 23 August 2022

Wadowice is a city in southern Poland located around 50 km southeast of Kraków and is the birthplace of Karol Wojtyła, better known to the world as Pope John Paul II, the first non-Italian pope since the 16th-century Pope Adrian VI.

Pope John Paul II - Wadowice

Pilgrimage destination

Wadowice has evolved into a popular pilgrimage destination with more than 200,000 visitors every year. Pilgrims arrive to pay their respects to the Wojtyła family home, which is now a museum and to also have a slice of the famous kremówka, the Pope’s favourite cream-filled pastry.

The Pope’s former home is a modest apartment block located at 7 Kościelna Street and in the Pope’s own words, “It is the place where it all began.”

The Wojtyła family first moved into the apartment in 1919 and rented two rooms with a kitchen on the first floor. Karol Wojtyła was born in this apartment on 18 May 1920. After his mother's death on 13 April 1929, Karol and his father occupied only one smaller room and the kitchen. Wojtyła lived in this house until 1938, when he moved with his father to Kraków and enrolled at Jagiellonian University.

The apartment has been a historic house museum since 1984; it preserves its original structure and houses a collection of objects that belonged to the Wojtyła family.

Museum

The museum also commemorates Wojtyła's life and his work in Poland until he left Kraków for the Vatican in 1978.

Visit the website – The Holy Father John Paul II Family Home Museum.

Pope John Paul II was the head of the Catholic Church and sovereign of the Vatican City State from 1978 until his death in 2005. He was elected pope by the second papal conclave of 1978, which was called after John Paul I, who had been elected in August to succeed Pope Paul VI, died after 33 days. Cardinal Wojtyła was elected on the third day of the conclave and adopted the name of his predecessor in tribute to him.

John Paul II is recognised as helping to end Communist rule in his native Poland and the rest of Europe.

Religious Tours

Wadowice

What to expect from this tour

This fascinating tour with a religious context will start from the pick-up from your accommodation in Krakow. At first, you will go to Wadowice, the hometown of The Holy Father John Paul II. Follow in the footsteps of one of the greatest Poles in history.

You will see the secondary school which young Karol Wojtyła attended. Then you will go to the Main Market Square named after John Paul II and visit the parish church. You will admire numerous paintings, chapels and famous baptismal font where future Pope had been baptized. Finally, you will participate in a guided tour at the Family Home Museum of John Paul II available in various languages.

From Wadowice you will go directly to Częstochowa often called the spiritual capital of Poland. Marvel the beauty and mystical atmosphere of Jasna Góra, the famous Polish shrine to the Virgin Mary and one of Poland’s most visited pilgrimage sites. Upon arrival enjoy your time having a lunch break at your own expense. Start your tour at The Monastery guided by venerable Pauline’s Monk. In the end, you will admire the miraculous painting of The Black Madonna of Częstochowa.

Licheń

The Basilica of Our Lady of Licheń

Licheń – Updated 23 August 2022

The Basilica of Our Lady of Licheń is a Roman Catholic church located at the Shrine of Our Lady of Sorrows, Queen of Poland, in the village of Licheń Stary near Konin in the Greater Poland Voivodeship in Poland.

Licheń

The size of the church is staggering, the nave (central part of the church) is 120m long and 77m wide. It has a 98m tall central dome and a 141.5m high tower and is Poland’s largest church and one of the largest church buildings in the world. It has been estimated that the church can house a congregation of 7,000 worshippers.

A painting of the Virgin Mary, the Sorrowful Queen of Poland, is displayed on the basilica's main altar. The painting is believed to date back to the 18th century and alongside the church itself is one of Poland’s principal pilgrimage sites.

The Basilica of Our Lady of Licheń was constructed between 1994 and 2004 and was designed by Barbara Bielecka, a Polish Functionalist architect and was funded by pilgrims' donations.

The temple is a five-nave transept cruciform basilica (Latin cross) with a semi-circular chancel. Its façade is headed by an impressive column portico. The whole building is covered with an enormous golden dome, visible from the distance of almost 20km away.

Tomasz Kłossowski

The history of the foundation of the church can be traced back to 1813. It all started with a Polish soldier named Tomasz Kłossowski who was fighting under Napoleon at the Battle of Leipzig and was seriously wounded.

According to legend, he prayed to the Virgin Mary begging her not to let him die in a foreign land and she appeared to him wearing a golden crown, a dark red gown, with a golden mantle, and holding a white eagle in her right hand.

Licheń

She comforted the soldier and promised he would recover and return to Poland. Tomasz was instructed to have an image of her made, and to place the image in a public place so that “My people will pray before this image and shall draw many graces at My hands in the hardest times of trial.”

Pope John Paul II blessed the Basilica in 1999.

The largest organ in Poland (13th largest in the world) was added to the church between 2002 and 2007.

Religious Tours

Wadowice

What to expect from this tour

This fascinating tour with a religious context will start from the pick-up from your accommodation in Krakow. At first, you will go to Wadowice, the hometown of The Holy Father John Paul II. Follow in the footsteps of one of the greatest Poles in history.

You will see the secondary school which young Karol Wojtyła attended. Then you will go to the Main Market Square named after John Paul II and visit the parish church. You will admire numerous paintings, chapels and famous baptismal font where future Pope had been baptized. Finally, you will participate in a guided tour at the Family Home Museum of John Paul II available in various languages.

From Wadowice you will go directly to Częstochowa often called the spiritual capital of Poland. Marvel the beauty and mystical atmosphere of Jasna Góra, the famous Polish shrine to the Virgin Mary and one of Poland’s most visited pilgrimage sites. Upon arrival enjoy your time having a lunch break at your own expense. Start your tour at The Monastery guided by venerable Pauline’s Monk. In the end, you will admire the miraculous painting of The Black Madonna of Częstochowa.

Jasna Góra Monastery

Jasna Góra

Jasna Góra – Updated 23 August 2022

The Jasna Góra Monastery is located in Poland’s spiritual capital, the city of Częstochowa, within the Silesian Voivodeship in southern Poland. The site is one of Poland's official national Historic Monuments.

Jasna Góra is a shrine dedicated to the Virgin Mary and was founded in 1382 by Pauline monks. The Paulite order named the hill in the western part of the city ‘Jasna Góra’ (Bright Hill) and erected the monastery, which has been a pilgrimage destination since the Middle Ages.

The Black Madonna

The image of the Black Madonna of Częstochowa, also known as Our Lady of Częstochowa, to which miraculous powers are attributed, is one of Jasna Góra's most precious treasures.

Jasna Góra

Each year, thousands of believers are drawn to the site to see the Black Madonna painting in the Chapel of Our Lady and to look around the monastery. It is estimated that over 4 million pilgrims visit the shrine every year from as many as 80 different countries. Many Polish pilgrims travel there by foot with the average distance for a pilgrim group to travel being around 350 km over an 11-day period. Pilgrims usually plan their journeys so that they arrive in Jasna Góra in time for the Assumption of Mary.

The Chapel of Our Lady is the oldest part of the monastery, and this is where the Black Madonna can be viewed. The picture is unveiled from 6am to noon and from 1.30pm until 9.20pm. During weekends times are 6am to 1pm and 2pm until 9.20pm.

Several Pontiffs have recognised the venerated icon, beginning with Pope Clement XI who issued a Canonical Coronation to the image on 8 September 1717 via the Vatican Chapter. Pope John Paul II, a native son of Poland, prayed before the Madonna during his historic visit in 1979, several months after his election to the Chair of Peter. The Pope made another visit to Our Lady of Czestochowa in 1983 and again in 1991.

The legend concerning the two scars on the Black Madonna’s right cheek is that the Hussites stormed the Pauline monastery in 1430, plundering the sanctuary. Among the items stolen was the icon. After putting it in their wagon, the Hussites tried to get away, but their horses refused to move. They threw the portrait down to the ground and one of the plunderers drew his sword upon the image and inflicted two deep strikes. When the robber tried to inflict a third strike, he fell to the ground and writhed in agony until his death. Despite past attempts to repair these scars, they had difficulty in covering up those slashes as the painting was done with tempera infused with diluted wax.

There’s a lot more to Jasna Góra than the Black Madonna such as the 17th century basilica with its opulent baroque furnishings, the 106m tall bell tower, an arsenal with an impressive collection of Turkish weapons from the 1683 Battle of Vienna and a museum.

Museum

You’ll find some very interesting artefacts in the museum such as the founding documents of Jasna Góra from 1382 and a cross made from steel from the rubble of the World Trade Center.

Among the monastery's most important exhibits is the medal from the 1983 Nobel Peace Prize received by Lech Wałęsa, the former Polish president and trade-union organizer and rosaries made from breadcrumbs by concentration camp prisoners.

There are typically numerous pilgrims and tourists at Jasna Góra Monastery, and the volume of excited voices can be high. However, upon entering the Monastery, it is expected etiquette for visitors to be silent or as quiet as possible out of respect. Often, there is a long line of people who wait to approach the shrine of the Black Madonna of Częstochowa. Upon arriving at the place of the shrine at which one would pass in front of the icon of Our Lady, it is expected and a sign of respect for pilgrims to drop to their knees and traverse the anterior of the shrine on their knees.

Religious Tours

Wadowice

What to expect from this tour

This fascinating tour with a religious context will start from the pick-up from your accommodation in Krakow. At first, you will go to Wadowice, the hometown of The Holy Father John Paul II. Follow in the footsteps of one of the greatest Poles in history.

You will see the secondary school which young Karol Wojtyła attended. Then you will go to the Main Market Square named after John Paul II and visit the parish church. You will admire numerous paintings, chapels and famous baptismal font where future Pope had been baptized. Finally, you will participate in a guided tour at the Family Home Museum of John Paul II available in various languages.

From Wadowice you will go directly to Częstochowa often called the spiritual capital of Poland. Marvel the beauty and mystical atmosphere of Jasna Góra, the famous Polish shrine to the Virgin Mary and one of Poland’s most visited pilgrimage sites. Upon arrival enjoy your time having a lunch break at your own expense. Start your tour at The Monastery guided by venerable Pauline’s Monk. In the end, you will admire the miraculous painting of The Black Madonna of Częstochowa.

Lesser Poland (Malopolskie)

Lesser Poland

Lesser Poland – updated 22 September 2022

Lesser Poland (Malopolskie) is located in south-east Poland and has the city of Kraków as its administrative capital. The region has played an important part in Polish history and once was the focal point of the ancient Polish kingdom.

Lesser Poland

Mountains

The region is very rich in natural beauty, to the north you will find the Świętokrzyskie Mountains, to the south, the Tatra, Pieniny and Beskidy Mountains and to the west is a broad range of hills.

National Parks

Lesser Poland has six National Parks and 11 Landscape Parks including: Tatra National Park and Babia Góra National Park in addition to many areas for tourism and recreation, including Zakopane, which is Poland’s most popular winter resort.

Lesser Poland

Skiing

In the winter, thousands arrive in Zakopane to ski, especially around Christmas and in February. The most popular skiing areas are Kasprowy Wierch and Gubałówka. There are a number of cross-country skiing trails in the forests surrounding the town.

Historic sites

The province also has many historic sites. The salt mine at Wieliczka, the pilgrimage town of Kalwaria Zebrzydowska, and Kraków's Old Town are ranked by UNESCO among the most precious sites of world heritage.

Lesser Poland

John Paul II

At Wadowice, birthplace of John Paul II is a museum dedicated to the late Pope's childhood. The area of Oświęcim, with the former Nazi concentration camps Auschwitz-I and Auschwitz-II-Birkenau is visited annually by a million people.

Lesser Poland

It is widely agreed that everyone should visit Auschwitz at least once in their lives, it is a stern reminder of the horrors that human beings can inflict on each other and for some people, a life-changing experience.

Another tourist destination is the town of Bochnia with its salt mine, Europe's oldest.

Krakow

Kraków may no longer be Poland's political capital, but it makes a strong case for being the country's cultural capital. Cited as one of Europe's most beautiful cities, its Old Town was declared the first UNESCO World Heritage Site in the world. According to official statistics, in 2019 Kraków was visited by over 14 million tourists including 3.3 million foreign travellers.

Tours & Attractions