Mannerist Architecture, Park Landscape Complex and Pilgrimage Park
The sanctuary in Kalwaria Zebrzydowska was founded at the beginning of the 17th century and modelled on the Way of the Cross in Jerusalem. Its initiator was Mikolaj Zebrzydowski, the Voivode of Krakow.
Along with the Jasna Góra Monastery, the sanctuary is the principal destination of pilgrimages in Poland. Its religious importance aside, Kalwaria Zebrzydowska is one of the most interesting landscape and architecture complexes in the country. It comprises of a Baroque basilica with the Holy Icon of the Mother of God of Kalwaria, a monastery, as well as a complex of Baroque and Mannerist churches and chapels. All objects and symbolic places of worship relating to the Passion of Jesus Christ and the life of the Virgin Mary are in a picturesque setting of the Beskid landscape.
The basilica features Baroque interiors, Renaissance decorations, a Baroque pulpit, and a vault covered with modernist polychrome by Włodzimierz Tetmajer. The 1641 picture of Calvary Mother of God by Stanisław Paszkowski, a painting the faithful hold in special esteem, can be viewed in one of the three chapels adjoining the church.
What also makes the Zebrzydow complex a special place are the so-called dróżki or walking alleys, which run for kilometres on end through the picturesque scenery of hills and woods.
The sanctuary is visited all year round by several thousands of pilgrims, in particular during the Holy Week before Easter and in August, on the day of Assumption of the Virgin Mary.
Well worth a visit is also the town itself, sitting in a valley between the Makow Beskids and the Wieliczka Foothills, two hill ranges which are covered in beech and oak forests.