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.
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.
Tours & Experiences