Wadowice

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.

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.

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.

If you’re staying in Krakow, we recommend the Pilgrim tour to Pope John Paul’s hometown Wadowice. The John Paul II route tour covers the most important places connected with the pope. The main attractions are the John Paul the II Museum, established in the pope’s family home, the Kalwaria Zebrzydowska (listed at UNESCO) and the Sanctuary of Divine Mercy in Krakow. This full-day tour by minivan with an English-speaking driver is a private tour, while a maximum of 15 people can enter the museum.