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UNESCO World Heritage Site #203: Kalwaria Zebrzydowska: the Mannerist Architectural and Park Landscape Complex and Pilgrimage Park

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UNESCO World Heritage Site #203: Kalwaria Zebrzydowska: the Mannerist Architectural and Park Landscape Complex and Pilgrimage Park

UNESCO World Heritage Site #203: Kalwaria Zebrzydowska: the Mannerist Architectural and Park Landscape Complex and Pilgrimage Park

From the World Heritage inscription:

Kalwaria Zebrzydowska is an exceptional cultural monument in which the natural landscape was used as the setting for a symbolic representation in the form of chapels and avenues of the events of the Passion of Christ. The result is a cultural landscape of great beauty and spiritual quality in which natural and man-made elements combine in a harmonious manner. The Counter Reformation in the late 16th century led to a flowering in the creation of Calvaries in Europe. Kalwaria Zebrzydowska is an outstanding example of this type of large-scale landscape design, which incorporates natural beauty with spiritual objectives and the principles of Baroque park design.

The official name of this site is: Kalwaria Zebrzydowska: the Mannerist Architectural and Park Landscape Complex and Pilgrimage Park. I think that just might be the longest name of any World Heritage site on Earth.

That aside, is the one of the more questionable world heritage sites I’ve visited. I don’t really think that the architecture is that much different than you will see in hundreds of other churches around Europe. I’m also not sure that a glorified stations of the cross is really worth of world heritage status.

Nonetheless, this is a popular pilgrimage site for Polish people and there is quite a bit both inside and outside the main cathedral devoted to the visits of Pope John Paul II, both as a boy, a bishop and pope. You can see a statue of him in the photo above.

I went in early March, but I got the strong impression that the site is much busier in the summer. There were very few people there when I visited, yet there parking spaces for large coach buses, a restaurant and large bookstore. Almost nothing here was in English, which indicates that the site is primarily of interest to Poles.

View my complete list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites.

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