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Dates of visit:
April 15 -28, 2007 &
May 9 - 13, 2007

We rate this trip a:

Trip Highlights:
 Revisit family
 Krakow
 Wadowice
 Pope John Paul II
 Nowy Wisnicz Castle
 Warsaw
 Warsaw's Old Town
 Warsaw's Palaces
 Aviation Museum
 Ethnographic Park
 Lipowiec Castle
 Polish dining
 

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Romania
Ukraine
*** Poland ***
*** City of Wadowice ***
*** Pope John Paul II Birthplace ***
*** Nowy Wisnicz Castle ***
*** Jan Matejko's Koryznowka ***
        Map of Poland
        Travel Route
        City of Wadowice & Pope John Paul II
               Site Gallery - Wadowice & Pope John Paul II
        Castles and fortifications - Nowy Wisnicz
               Site Gallery - The Castle in Nowy Wisnicz
        Koryznowka - Jan Matejko Museum
               Site Gallery - Koryznowka, Jan Matejko Museum
City of Wadowice
Wadowice Location of Wadowice

Wadowice’s history ... The history of the town of Wadowice can be traced back to the 13th century. First it belonged to the princedom of the Silesian Piasts, next to form a part of the Principality of Oswiecim that would morph later into Principality of Zator. In 1482 the short-lived Principality of Wadowice was created that lasted 11 years. Returned to the Zator statelet, in 1495 Wadowice was bought with it by Poland and incorporated to the powerful kingdom. During the first partition of Poland in 1772 the Austrian Empire annexed the southern part of the Krakow province, including Wadowice. In 1867 the town was made the capital of a county, which brought it new prosperity. In 1918, after the Great War, Wadowice returned to Poland reborn as a republic. At the outset of the Second World War, when the Nazi Germany invaded Poland in 1939, Wadowice was annexed to the Third Reich. Since the end of the WWII the town has been Poland again.

The Birthplace of Pope John Paul II ... Wadowice has gotten international recognition as the birthplace of Pope John Paul II. Born in 1920 as Karol Wojtyla, the future Pontiff lived in Wadowice till 1938 when he moved to Krakow to study at its ancient Jagiellonian Univesity. Yet to his last days the late Holy Father remembered fondly his Wadowice youth and places associated with it, the schoolmates, his teachers, and other local folks he had used to know. Also, he tried to include the town, when possible, in his visits to Poland.

Tourists seek in Wadowice sites connected with Pope John II. Their first obvious choice is the house at 7 Koscielna Street with flat where the future Vicar of Christ was born and raised. The place has been turned to a museum and exhibits comprise the Wojtyla family’s former possessions such as an oven, a shelf, a table, tableware, a laundry basket, family pictures as well as personal belongings of Father Karol Wojtyla – skis, a rucksack, a cap, a prayer book, etc., plus photos from his three visits to Wadowice as the Pope. The building is situated in the town’s heart, next to the baroque church of the Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary at the central square.

The church of the Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary is perhaps most iconic in the life of the Pontiff. The future John Paul II grew up in its shadow, was baptized a Catholic and later confirmed in it, served as an altar boy and prayed daily here before its miraculous picture of Our Lady of Perpetual Help. The church’s Gothic chancel dates from the 15th century while the late-Baroque nave and aisles were built in the 1790s. The left aisle contains a baptismal font where the baby Karol Wojtyla was baptized.

Kremowka Papal Cream Cake ... It does not happen all too often that a casual remark can shoot up a tasty but ordinary tidbit into stardom. It was during the 1999 visit to his home town of Wadowice that Pope John Paul II summoned the memories of his younger days. What he said then had a great effect on the whole of the Polish confectionery business. The Pope reminisced about the sweet taste of the cream cake called kremowka which he and his schoolmates used to buy in a pastry shop in the market square. On the very next day, kremowka became the order of the day in all local tea-rooms and confectionery shops! And so, the cake has been known ever since as “Papal kremowka”: a thick layer of cream and custard filling sandwiched between two squares of delicate French puff pastry, with a whiff of brandy to taste.


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Site Gallery - Wadowice & Pope John Paul II
 
To Wadowice
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Church of Presentation of Blessed Virgin Mary
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Pope John Paul II
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Church Interior
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Pope Birthplace
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Church Plaza
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Nowy Wisnicz
Castle Fortification Location of Nowy Wisnicz

Castles and fortifications ... In the eastern part of the Malopolska Region of Poland, and the southernmost part of Poland, there are many fascinating places, both for those seeking picturesque landscapes and those more interested in historical and architectural landmarks. Also, in this area one can find mysterious structures shrouded by century-old legends that welcome guests into the magic by hosting widely attended mock battles.

The development of castles in Poland was sparked by the appearance of noble families and the urgency of protecting Polish borders. (Region) Tarnow's land did not compose a border but it was on the path of a major trade route that needed the protection of armed men and powerful fortresses. As a result, brick castles and fortifications began to spring up around this area in the 13th century. The greatest period of development was during the first half of the 14th century when many noblemen were building strongholds and towns thought it an essential precaution to surround themselves with walls. The Castle of Nowy Wisnicz is certainly the biggest and arguably the most beautiful fortified Baroque residence in Poland. In a class of its own, this fortified Renaissance mansion elegantly combines aesthetic, defensive, and residential functions in its exceptional structural design. In such a way it offers a sharp contrast to other structures of the region.

Nowy Wisnicz The Castle in Nowy Wisnicz – is the largest preserved Baroque fortified residence in Poland, receiving its current Renaissance-inspired facade during the reign of Piotr Kmita.

The residence is composed of four two-story wings surrounding a quaint, little courtyard. The feature that allows the Castle its unparalleled allure is the four towers that proudly stand at each of the corners of the residence.

Each tower has its own unique shape, rendering the appearance of a completely different structure from every angle. The current structure is the result of an architectural design by Stanislaw Lubomirski, who had the Castle built in the years from 1615 to 1637. Since then, the Castle has been rebuilt and has received a stone fortification that now surrounds it.

A local legend tells a story of Stanislaw Lubomirski, a lord who brought many Turkish captives to the Castle of Nowy Wisnicz after winning the battle of Chocim. A few of these prisoners that were confined to a tower began to construct wings from the feathers of the tower pigeons. When the wings were complete, four of the captives decided to fly to their freedom. Unfortunately they did not make it far ... the first fugitive crashed in town near the Castle ... the second and the third a few kilometers further ... and the fourth one crashed near Bochnia. Stone obelisks were placed in each of these locations to commemorate their tragic deaths.


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Site Gallery - The Castle in Nowy Wisnicz
 

Nowy Wisnicz on hilltop
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Approach to castle
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Town of Nowy Wisnicz
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Castle Entry
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Castle
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Castle Courtyard
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Castle Chapel
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Castle Crypt
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Castle Kitchen
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Castle Typical Room
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Castle School for Restoration
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Whimsical Figures
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Koryznowka - Jan Matejko Museum
Koryznowka Location of Koryznowka

Koryznowka ... Jan Matejko ... (also known as Jan Mateyko; b: July 28, 1838, Kraków, Poland – d: November 1, 1893, Kraków, Poland) was a Polish painter known for paintings of notable historical Polish political and military events. His most famous works include oil on canvas paintings like Battle of Grunwald, paintings of numerous other battles and court scenes, and a gallery of Polish kings. He is counted among the most famous Polish painters.

Matejko was born in the Free City of Kraków, part of the Polish territory annexed by Austria during the Partitions of Poland. His father, Franciszek Ksawery Matejko was a Czech from the village of Rudnice. He was a tutor and music teacher who first worked for the Wodzicki family in Koscielniki, then moved to Kraków, where he married the half-German, half-Polish Joanna Karolina Rossberg. Jan was the ninth child from eleven that his parents had. After the death of his mother in 1846, Matejko and his siblings were taken care of by his aunt, Anna Zamojska.

From his earliest days Matejko showed exceptional artistic talent that allowed him to advance from grade to grade, although he had great difficulty with other subjects. He never mastered a foreign language and did not do well even with his native Polish language. As a result, the public appearances he was obliged to make all his life must have been difficult for him. At a young age he witnessed the Kraków revolution of 1846 and the 1848 siege of Kraków by the Austrians, the two events which ended the existence of the Free City of Kraków. His two older brothers served in them under general Józef Bem and one died.

He attended St.Anna high school which he dropped out of in 1851 because of poor results. Despite that and because of his exceptional talent he studied at the School of Fine Arts in Kraków from 1852 to 1858 under Wojciech Korneli Stattler and Wladyslaw Luszczkiewicz. During this time he began exhibiting historical paintings at the Society of Friends of the Fine Arts there.

After studying under the historical painter Hermann Anschütz in Munich (1859) (where he got a bronze medal for a study of male act) and then briefly and less successfully in Vienna, Matejko returned to Kraków, where he lived for the rest of his life and where, beginning in 1873, he was for many years the principal of the Academy of Fine Arts.

During the January Uprising of 1863 in which he did not participate because of poor health, Matejko gave financial support and transported arms to the insurgents' camp in Goszcza). In 1864 he married Teodora Giebultowska, with whom he had four children: Beata, Helena, Tadeusz, and Jerzy.

In the same year he became a member of Scientific Society in Kraków. At that time Matejko started to gain international recognition; literally a starving artist during his younger days, in 1865, his painting Skarga's Sermon won the gold medal at the annual Paris salon. It was subsequently purchased by Count Maurycy Potocki for 10,000 guldens.

In 1867, the painting Rejtan won the gold medal at the World Exhibition in Paris. French critics included Matejko among the most outstanding representatives of historical painting in Europe. Through his painting, he succeeded in reminding Europe that partitioned Poland still existed despite political realities.


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Site Gallery - Koryznowka, Jan Matejko Museum
 

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