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Poland, Wadowice – The Birthplace of the Pope

Published: 17.5.2020
Approximately 50 kilometers southwest of Krakow lies the almost 20,000-strong town of Wadowice, famous as the birthplace of Karol Wojtyla, later Pope John Paul II. Today we will not only follow in the footsteps of the Pope, but also look into history.

The town of Wadowice is located in the Lesser Poland Voivodeship by the Skawa River in the Silesian Foothills. The first settlement of the area dates back to the beginning of the 11th century. According to legend, the name of the town is derived from the Slavic name Wlad (Ladislav). The first written mention appears between 1325 and 1327, including the royal correspondence between the Duke of Auschwitz (John I. Scholastyk) and the Count of Luxembourg (John the Blind).

papež Jan Pavel II.

In 1430, the then town was hit by a devastating fire, which, paradoxically, contributed to the relatively rapid renewal of buildings, the granting of city rights and the general expansion of crafts and trade. The subsequent period is marked by property settlements. Gradually, the city came under the administration of the Czech and Polish kings, the Krakow voivodship, the Kingdom of Galicia, Austria-Hungary, and eventually became part of the newly born Poland. Over time, a hospital, a primary school, a road connecting Vienna with Ukrainian Lviv were built here, and several cultural and scientific institutions were also located here.

farský kostel – bazilika Panny Marie

An important year for the city was 1920, when Karol Wojtyla was born here, who became the bishop of Kraków, later Pope John Paul II, and was canonized after his death. Like other Polish cities, Wadowice did not escape German occupation, even between 1941 and 1943 a ghetto was founded in the city. After the war, regional importance in the field of transport and trade was maintained, but it was suppressed in 1975 by transferring competencies to the newly formed Bielsko-Biała Voivodeship.

rodný dům Jana Pavla II.   rodný dům Jana Pavla II.

After the year 89, most of the local industry went bankrupt (only small industries have been preserved), but thanks to the historical and ecological heritage and the Pope's birthplace, tourism is developing rapidly in Wadowice. Over 200,000 people visit the city every year.

rodný dům Jana Pavla II.

The most popular places include the birth house of John Paul II, where a museum has been established, the parish church - the minority basilica of the Virgin Mary from the 15th century (rebuilt in the 18th century), the neoclassical chateau Mikołaj from the 19th century and the historic street Kościelna 4 , where there is a listed house from the 18th century (currently the seat of the Municipal Museum and Tourist Information Center).

klášterní komplex karmelitánů

Also worth seeing is the square with burgher houses from the 19th century, the monument to the writer and co-founder of Polish expressionism Emil Zegadłowicz or the museum of the Polish priest and theologian of the Krakow Academy Marcin Wadowit. You must not miss the Carmelite monastery complex with the church of St. Josef, where the remains of its founder, the canonized Raphael Kalinowski, are buried.

klášterní komplex karmelitánů   klášterní komplex karmelitánů

The city is also an ideal starting point for nature trips. In its vicinity there are several national parks, such as Magurský, Ojcovský or Gorczaňský.

Dny města

The largest juice producer in Poland (Maspex) and the well-known Polish shoe manufacturer (Badura) are based here. Wadowice offers many beautiful places and with its "secular" atmosphere they are a great stop for every traveler.

GPS: 49°53'00.0"N 19°29'36.9"E

 

Text: Oskár Mažgút

Photos: Oskár Mažgút, Krzysztof Cabak - wikipedia.org (title)



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