"Czestochowa ~ Jasna Gora Sanctuary" Top 5 Page for this destination Czestochowa by gosiaPL

Czestochowa Travel Guide: 117 reviews and 289 photos

SANCTUARY OF THE POLISH NATION

The Jasna Gora shrine with the beautiful icon of Our Lady of Czestochowa is the place to visit if you want to see the best of Roman-Catholic faith and tradition in Poland. It is as special as Lourdes is in France, Fatima in Portugal, or Guadalupe in Mexico. Four millions pilgrims come to the Miraculous Painting of Our Lady throughout the year to beg for intercession or to give thanks for the grace they've been granted. The peak of this falls on the Feast of Assumption (August 15) when approximately 350 thousand pilgrims end their walking pilgrimage at Our Lady's Chapel. They come on foot in organised groups from the most distant parts of Poland, and foreign pilgrimages from all over the world increase in number every year.

In Poland the place is often referred to as the Sanctuary of the Polish Nation . It is the heart and centre of our Catholicism, but it is special to us also in our turbulent history (see my travelogue Kordecki... Pulaski... and others). It was besieged several times and the victories were always ascribed to Our Lady of Czestochowa. In 1656 king Jan Kazimierz pronounced Her the Patron and Queen of Poland , and the Jasna Gora shrine and fortress was from now on the symbol of our nation's freedom and the freedom of our religion.


Please visit Jasna Gora website for more information, available in several languages!

JASNA GORA is pronounced "yasnah goorah" ;-)




Did you know that there is another Jasna Gora... in the USA?
Check The National Shrine of Our Lady of Czestochowa in Doylestown, Pennsylvania


OUR LADY OF CZESTOCHOWA

Traditional belief had it that the picture was painted by St. Luke Evangelist on a board from the Holy Family's table, and that it was brought to Poland in 1382. But modern day research proves that the painting is of Byzantine origin and goes back to 6-9 century (a more exact date has not been established yet).

Mary's face in the painting has two big scars ... In the middle ages the sanctuary was famous for the many miraculous healings and the rich votive offerings made by grateful pilgrims. This attracted many robbers until finally in 1430 a groups of thugs from Czechia, Moravia and Silesia broke into the Chapel, stripped the altar of precious gifts, and cut the Madonna's face with a sword. Shortly after that the painting was repaired but the scars still showed.

Our Lady of Czestochowa is also referred to as the Black Madonna but Her face wasn't painted to be so dark. It is the colour of honey (the usual colour for faces in Byzantine paitings) but it is also covered with several layers of varnish that goes darker in time...
I guess this puts an end to incredible stories that some New Age followers invent to explain the phenomenon of Black Madonnas in Roman-Catholic tradition.

A SANCTUARY AND A FORTRESS

The name of Czestochowa is first documented in the early 13th c. but the name of the Jasna Gora (Clarus Mons) monastery appears only a century later. It was given by the Pauline fathers who were brought to Poland from Hungary and named the place after their main Claro Monte monastery in Buda (Budapest).

The Jasna Gora complex is situated on a hill that dominates Czestochowa. It is a concise complex that consists of the main shrine and other sacral edifices, the monastery, the king's apartments, the arsenal, as well as other buildings. The whole complex is encircled by fortified walls since the sanctuary was also a fortress. Along the walls are the Stations of the Cross marked by beautiful sculptures.

The Jasna Gora hill is surrounded by parks, a natural border between the sanctuary and the modern day town of Czestochowa. Only the eastern side is a vast open space for pilgrims to gather for the Holy Mass service. That is where you get the best view of the huge fortified wall.

Be sure to check the pictures in my Travelogues...

Photo from Jasna Gora website

Pros and Cons
  • Pros:Impressive architecture, spiritual / sacred ambience
  • Cons:Too crowded to visit on Catholic feast days
  • In a nutshell:A feast for your senses, even for non-Catholics :-)
  • Last visit to Czestochowa: Sep 2001
  • Intro Updated Jul 16, 2006
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Reviews (26)

Comments (21)

  • Pawtuxet's Profile Photo
    Jul 16, 2006 at 3:46 PM

    Reviewing and re-rating a wonderful page on a beautiful destination. Wish it wasn't pouring rain when I was there. Amazing sanctuary.

  • mikelisaanna's Profile Photo
    Jun 20, 2006 at 2:04 PM

    We enjoyed our visit to Czestochowa. Your pages brought ack some good memories!

  • gregoryr1m's Profile Photo
    May 1, 2004 at 7:15 PM

    Gosia, Wonderful travelogue. Filled with great history and art.

  • deecat's Profile Photo
    Mar 7, 2004 at 11:13 AM

    Fantastic pages that are so interesting and informational. I especially enjoyed the general information and the pilgrimage and your personal pilgrimage.

  • aussiedoug's Profile Photo
    Jan 24, 2004 at 4:14 AM

    Beautifully written pages & tips Gosia! Thank you for sharing your insights. If I ever get to Poland I will definitely visit here after reading your information.

  • Jan 16, 2004 at 4:22 AM

    Meeting Czarna Madonna...it was so impressive!! No words to describe this feeling...thank you Gosia for bringing those wonderful memories back!!

  • kenHuocj's Profile Photo
    Jan 11, 2004 at 6:18 AM

    superb insights, you have me thinking and wondering... ;-)))

  • matcrazy0's Profile Photo
    Jan 9, 2004 at 5:20 AM

    Cudna stronka! Jestem dumna widzac takie piekne strony utworzone przez Ciebie! Bylam w Czestochowie... ponad 10 lat temu i nie mam zadnych zdjec.

  • globetrott's Profile Photo
    Dec 27, 2003 at 8:26 AM

    What an interesting place & excellent pics ! One day I hope to see it myself !

  • mtncorg's Profile Photo
    Dec 22, 2003 at 1:39 PM

    A great tour of one of Poland's great sites. And you did it the right way :-]

gosiaPL

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