Kalwaria Zebrzydowska

 

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This small town lies only 33 km from Krakow. It is known for its Calvary on the hill slope which is the imitation of the original one in Jerusalem. It is the oldest calvary in Poland and also the most unusual one. It was commissioned and planed in 1600 by Mikolaj Zebrzydowski, the ruler of Krakow and an ardent Catholic. It was built in 1605 – 1632 as a complex which consists of 42 chapels and small churches in the Dutch Renaissance or Baroque style located around the Baroque Church of Our Lady of Angels.


For nearly 400 years the calvary has attracted thousands of pilgrims. The famous Passion Plays are performed at Kalwaria Zebrzydowska starting from Palm Sunday, when Christ played by a monk arrives in Jerusalem, and last through the second half of the Holy Week. The scenes of Jesus’ arrest and interrogation, the Way of the Cross and the Passion of Christ are enacted every year with the participation of a hundred thousand pilgrims and tourists. In August the Feast of Assumption is also celebrated here. In 1999 Kalwaria Zebrzydowska was put in the UNESCO list of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage.



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