Christian Pilgrimage

Poland – the homeland of pope John Paul II is famous for its beautiful sacral architecture, and Christian sanctuaries known all over the world. We will follow the steps of two most important people in Polish Catholicism – the Pope and St. Faustine Kowalska. This tour is a must for anyone who wants to learn about Christianity in Poland.

DAY 1: WARSAW: You arrive to Warsaw's Chopin airport. Your personal driver will pick you up straight from the arrivals hall and take you to a centrally located Warsaw hotel. In the evening you can take a short tour around the Old Town area, where Warsaw's most beautiful churches are located.

First stop will be the Holy Cross Church, hosting the urn with Frederic Chopin's heart, and then you will head for the St. John's Cathedral – completely destroyed during the war and then renovated. Its catacombs hold the graves of famous Polish writers and Nobel Prize laureates, Henryk Sienkiewicz and Wladyslaw Reymont.

DAY 2: WARSAW: You start the day with visiting the parish church in Warsaw, where Jerzy Popieluszko had been ministering. Popieluszko was murdered by the Security Service of the communist regime and has been revered as a martyr ever since. You will see his grave and the museum dedicated to his work. The next step is 18th century Powazki Cemetery – well known mostly because of great Polish figures buried here and a visit to the church of Charles Borromeo, designed by Dominic Merlini. On the cemetery you can find the Katyn Wall – built to commemorate Polish officers killed by the Soviet army in World War Two.

The second part of the tour will be spent in Niepokalanow – a small town near Warsaw, hosting a monastery founded by father Maksymilan Kolbe. The priest had died in Auschwitz during the war, when he offered his life in place of another prisoner's and was killed by Nazis with a deadly injection.

DAY 3: PLOCK – TORUN: Just after breakfast you head for Plock – the town strongly connected with the cult of Saint Faustine. It is believed that here, Jesus Christ appeared to Faustine and asked for his picture to be painted. You will pay a visit to the museum dedicated to Faustine's life in Plock.

The next step is Torun – a bit underrated and definitely a must-see. It is known as the city of Copernicus, since he was born here. During a short walk around the Old Town you will see the old, gothic Town Hall, monument of Copernicus and his house (it is deemed probable, though not certain, that he was born in that building). Torun is also a city of old, gothic sanctuaries.

DAY 4: LICHEN – GNIEZNO: On day four you will visit the biggest sanctuary in Poland, in the town of Lichen. Its history dates back to the 15th century, when the parish church was founded. Today it is mostly known for the enshrined painting of Our Lady and its cult, as well as the new, monumental basilica that makes an incredible impression. Lichen is one of the most important pilgrimage centers in Poland, visited by 1,5 million people every year.

Afterwards, you visit Gniezno – a town that is believed to be the very first capital of Poland. The first Polish king was crowned here in 1025. The Basilica of Saint Adalbert is a priceless historic monument, with parts of it dating back to 10th century. The present form of the sanctuary originates from 14th century. The tour will cover all parts of the building, culminating in the presentation of its famous sculpted door, made in 12th century and presenting 18 scenes from Saint Adalbert's life.

DAY 5: CZESTOCHOWA – KRAKOW: Just after breakfast you will head for Czestochowa – the most famous Sanctuary in Poland and the location of the Black Madonna painting. The history of the monastery dates back to 14th century, and the complex was rebuilt several times; today, the basilica stands proud in monumental baroque style.  Your visit to the Monastery will of course include the chapel with the miraculous painting, as well as the basilica proper, the treasury and the anniversary museum.

You will then part for Krakow, by a route that leads through the picturesque trail of old gothic and renaissance castles known as the Eagle Nests Trail. Built in 14th and 15th century, they were designed to protect the southern Polish frontiers.

DAY 6: KRAKOW: Be prepared for an intensive tour around Krakow – the former capital of Poland, city of Polish kings, historic buildings and vivid atmosphere. It is also a city of big significance to Catholics.

The visit starts with the Royal Castle on Wawel Hill, the former residence of Polish Kings, built with splendour and grandeur. The renaissance cathedral that accompanies the castle is the burial site of several Polish kings as well as writers and national leaders.

Heading down via the Royal Route, you can admire several churches, as well as the Palace of Krakow Bishops – famous for the "papal window". John Paul II used to live there during his stays in Krakow and he made a tradition of opening the window to the crowds that gathered below and chatting with them.

The next stops are: St. Mary's Chruch with the famous gothic altar sculpted by Veit Stoss, the Cloth Hall, where you can purchase hand-made souvenirs, Barbakan (defence walls) and Florianska Gate. Eventually, you will arrive to Tyniec, the part of Krakow where a thousand-year-old monastery is located.

DAY 7: WADOWICE – KALWARIA ZEBRZYDOWSKA – LAGIEWNIKI: On day seven, you shall follow in the footsteps of John Paul II. You will head for Wadowice, where he was born and where you can visit his house, now a museum. There is also a 15th century church where he was baptized. The sanctuary in Kalwaria Zebrzydowska was often visited by Karol Wojtyla when he was a priest, bishop and then cardinal. You will also visit the baroque Bernardine monastery and the fascinating Via Dolorosa (the Stations of the Cross) – a long sequence of chapels set in the countryside and an UNESCO landmark.

Afterwards, you will visit the Shrine of Divine Mercy in Lagiewniki, dedicated to Saint Faustine. The famous, miraculous painting of Jesus Christ is located in the monumental Sanctuary.

DAY 8: KRAKOW – WARSAW: The early afternoon is your free time. You can either take a short walk around the Old Town by yourself, do some last shopping, or simply enjoy the atmosphere of Krakow in one of its cafes. In the afternoon, you will head back to Warsaw. You can be dropped off either directly at the Warsaw airport or we can arrange for one more night in a nearby hotel.

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