Kalwaria Zebrzydowska – Updated 23 August 2022
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.
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.
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.