Arrival to Warsaw
Arrival at Warsaw's airport, meeting with the tour leader in the hall of the airport and transfer to the hotel.
Dinner in the hotel or at the restaurant.
Visit of Warsaw
Breakfast in the hotel. Meeting with the guide at the hotel reception desk for the visit of Warsaw. In the 18th and 19th century Warsaw was known as the “Paris of the North”, thanks to its wide, tree-lined streets and classical architecture. However, during the Second World War, the city was almost completely destroyed and the following reconstruction changed its character and urban layout. Despite the reconstruction of the major monuments and historic parks, the aspect of Warsaw is indelibly marked by the architecture of socialist realism. It is clear from one of the symbols of the city and its most important landmark, the Palace of Culture and Science (Palac Kultury i Nauki), an example of socialist realism monumental architecture. This huge building, constructed between 1952 and 1955, situated beside the Warsaw Central Railway Station, is located in what is now the Warsaw's commercial and financial centre. The most picturesque part of the city is the Old Town (Stare Miasto) which roughly corresponds to the “Old Warsaw”, the first urban core of the city that dates back to the 13th century. The Barbican, built in 1548, leads us to the New Town (Nowe Miasto) located to the north, outside the medieval walls dating back to the 15th century. In the southern part of the Old Town, there is the "Castle Square" (Plac Zamkowy) with the Royal Castle (Zamek Królewski) towering above it. The Royal Castle was erected in the 14th century and then rebuilt after it was completely destructed by the Nazis in 1944. On the square, there is also the “Sigismund's Column” which commemorates King Sigismund III Vasa, who in 1596 had moved Poland's capital from Cracow to Warsaw. Among the places of artistic interest, we must mention the great “Lazienki Park”, established in the 18th century at the behest of King Stanislaw August Poniatowski. In the Park, we can admire the beautiful neoclassical buildings such as the "Palace on the Isle” (Palac na Wodzie) and the “Theatre on the Isle” built on the bank of the Lazienki Lake. In many places in the city, the Jewish culture and history resonate down through time. The tragic pages of Warsaw’s history are commemorated in places such as the Monument to the Ghetto Heroes, the Umschlagplatz, fragments of the Ghetto wall on Sienna Street and a mound in memory of the Jewish Combat Organization.
Lunch at the restaurant. Visit of the Royal Castle.
Dinner in the hotel or at the restaurant.
Warsaw – Czestochowa – Cracow
Breakfast in the hotel. Departure for Czestochowa.
Lunch at the restaurant in Czestochowa. Visit of the Czestochowa Shrine, one of the most important places of the Catholic cult in Poland. It is visited by over four millions of pilgrims every year. In Jasna Gora Monastery (lat. Mons Clara, eng. Luminous Mount) we can find the image of the Black Madonna who is so precious for Polish people that they gave her the title of the Queen of Poland. Departure for Cracow.
Arrival to Cracow. Dinner in the hotel or at the restaurant.
Visit of Cracow, Kazimierz – Jewish district and former communist district Nowa Huta
Breakfast in the hotel. Meeting with the guide and visit of Cracow: the Royal Castle Wawel (the visit of the cathedral and courtyard), the Market Place, the Clothmarket, the Saint Mary's church, the Jagiellonian University, the Florian's Gate and Barbican. The second part of the visit: former Jewish district Kazimierz.
Lunch at the restaurant in Cracow. Guided visit of Nowa Huta – the former communist district, which was built after the Second World War next to the enormous steelworks that were 5 times bigger than Cracow's city centre. The district situated about 9 kilometers from Cracow was planned by the communists as an ideal communist city. The other idea of the goverment was to make this district „the city without God', but it was quickly shot down by the citizens, who organized protests in order to build a church in Nowa Huta (today's Lord's Ark, which was eventually built thanks to the help of Karol Wojtyla). This way Nowa Huta became a stronghold of „Solidarnosc” - a trade union that played a very significant role in dismantling comunism in Poland. Free time.
Dinner (optional proposal dinner with Jewish music concert).
Cracow – Lagiewniki – Kalwaria Zebrzydowska – Wadowice – Cracow
Breakfast in the hotel. Departure for Lagiewniki.
Visit of Lagiewniki: The Sanctuary is situated in buildings of the monastery of the Congregation of the Sisters of Our Lady of Mercy, which was founded in 1891 by Polish noble A. Lubomirski for girls and women in need of moral renewal.
In the interwar period in the Monastery lived and died Saint Maria Faustina Kowalska (1905-1938), a nun and mystic through whom the Lord Jesus Christ gave the message of the Divine Mercy to the Church and to the whole world. It sheds light on the mystery of the Divine Mercy, calls to put trust in God and have merciful attitude towards people. In 1943 Father J. Andrasz SJ, the confessor of Faustina, blessed the first Divine Mercy Image painted by A. Hyła. It was an ex-voto, offered by the painter in thanksgiving to God for saving his family during the war.
The image quickly became well-know for many graces, the number of pilgrims has grown each year, considering also the pilgrims visiting the Sister Faustina's tomb.
Very dynamic expansion of the cult of the Divine Mercy was launched not only by the beatification of Sister's Faustina (18th of April 1993) and later, her canonisation (30th of April 2000), but also by the pilgrimages of John Paul II to Łagiewniki (in 1997 and 2002). It all caused the extension of the Sanctuary i.a. building a new church - basilica, that was consecrated by Pope John Paul II on 17 August 2002. In this place Pope solemnly entrusted the world to the Divine Mercy. Departure for Kalwaria Zebrzydowska.
Visit of Kalwaria Zebrzydowska: The famous UNESCO-listed sanctuary is a place where pilgrims worship the Passion of Christ as well as pray to his mother Mary. In the baroque basilica of Saint Mary of Angels, administered by the Bernardines living in the nearby monastery, one can see the miraculous image of the Blessed Virgin Mary of Kalwaria. Kalwaria was established in 1600 after the example of the Way of the Cross in Jerusalem. The painting of the Madonna was donated to the sanctuary in 1641. Around that time, a great number of Calvarian chapels were spread around the picturesque landscape of the Beskids.
Among the festivals celebrated in Kalwaria Zebrzydowska in honour of Virgin Mary are the feast of the Madonna of Angels (2 August) and of the Dormition and Assumption of Mary, (8 September). On top of that, each year during the Holy Week, Passion plays are staged in the church (with the crowning performance on Good Friday). Departure for Wadowice.
“It all started here in this town, in Wadowice, everything. Life started, and school started, studies started, and the theatre started, and the priesthood started.” This is how John Paul II remembered his hometown during his visit on 16 June 1999. It was his third and last visit to Wadowice. It is here that Karol Wojtyła was born on 18 May 1920, in a tenement house owned by a Jew named Chaim Bałamut. Two days later, he was baptised in a nearby church, today known as the Church of the Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary. During his 1979 visit to Wadowice, he prayed by the church’s baptismal font and he crowned the miraculous painting of Our Lady of Perpetual Help. In Wadowice one can find a number of other places connected with Karol Wojtyła: school buildings, the “Sokół” building, where he attended his first theatre classes, the confectionery where he had his famous cream cakes, and many others…
Lunch in Wadowice. Departure for Cracow. Free time.
Cracow – Oswiecim – Brzezinka (Auschwitz-Birkenau) - Wieliczka – Cracow
Breakfast in the hotel.Departure for the Auschwitz-Birkenau Museum. Visit of the former concentration camp Auschiwitz-Birkeanu. The Auschwitz concentration camp was one of tree camps which were the part of the whole complex based near Auschwitz (in Polish Oswiecim). The second part of the complex was the extermination camp based in Birkenau (in Polish "Brzeiznka") and the third - the labor camp Monowitz (in Polish "Monowice"). In 1979 the whole camp was named a World Heritage Site by UNESCO.
Lunch at the restaurant. Departure for Wieliczka. Guided visit of the salt mine: the Wieliczka Salt Mine, located about 13 km from Cracow's city centre, was opened in 13th century. It is one of the oldest salt mines in the world (the table salt was produced until 2007). The main attractions of the mine are the cathedral carved by local miners, three chapels and dozens of statues. In 1978 the mine was inscribed on UNESCO's list of World Heritage Sites. Wieliczka Salt Mine is one of the most popular attractions in Poland - each year over 1 million tourists visit this place.
Dinner (optional: dinner with folclore concert).
Departure from Cracow
Breakfast in the hotel. Check-out. Transfer to the airport.