Those words of John Paul II are unusually accurate. In fact, this sanctuary is a one of a kind place. About million pilgrims arrives here every year. Why?
Calvaries, the landscape passion sanctuaries started to arouse in Europe in the 15th century. They were modeled on the Way of the Cross in Jerusalem. As this main Israel’s city was under Turkish occupation, the access to sacred places was restricted. The calvaries – copies of the Christ’s painful path with chapels, let the faithful conduct services and dignified participation in the celebration of the Passion.
In 1600 Mikołaj Zebrzydowski founded Kalwaria Zebrzydowska, which is visited by the biggest number of the faithful during the celebrations of the Holy Week and the Glorious Passion Play as well as the Funeral and the Triumph of the Holy Mother in August.
The slopes of Lanckorońska and Żar mountains. An amazing show among the trees and exuberant greenness. The space of the calvary is an actual scene, where great happenings take place. Mystery Plays are set in a baroque basilica of the Saint Mary of the Angels, the Bernardine’s cloister and the complex of baroque and manneristic churches and chapels, spread on the area of 6 km.
The whole complex has unique cultural, natural and cult values and it is the only calvary in the world, and there is over thousand of them in Europe only, which were put on UNESCO World Heritage List, which took place in 1999. Kalwaria Zebrzydowska is a unique historical object, whose natural elements and the parts created by man make a perfect whole. Both material and spiritual heritages intertwine there in an incredible way, as Kalwaria Zebrzydowska means not only amazing architecture assumptions, but mostly the place of prayer, concentration and experiencing the most holy truths of Christianity.
The most attractive part of the complex is the Basilica of the Holy Mother of Angels, where you can find multiple painting and sculpture treasures, richly gilded and decorated altars, the organ and marvelous polychromy by Włodzimierz Tetmajer. In the Holy Mother of Kalwaria’s Chapel there is an extremely beautiful painting from the first half of the 17th century, which is famous for its miracles. It is called the painting of the Crying Holy Mother, because the legend says that in 1641 one noticed bloody tears running down the Mother’s face.
This most interesting landscape and architecture complex in Europe is in the custody of Franciscans, the convent established by ST. Francis of Assissi, whose popular name in Poland sounds Bernardines.
It is situated 35 km in south-west from Kraków and 14 km east from Wadowice.