We saw this tourist train when we visited. I don't know where it runs to but I imagine it must take you to some chapels that are further away on the nearby hill. There is an information office in the main complex behind the Benectine church which will have the information. Since we were there late in the afternoon it was already closed.
The squire of Krakow, Mikolaj Zebrzydowski commissioned the church and monestry in 1600 for the Bernardine Order. Seeing a resemblance of the area to the site of Jerusalem, he set about creating a place of worship similar to that in the Holy City.
The more pilgrims that arrived, the more churches were built, until there were 40 in total.
The church was gradually enlarged and today it is rather huge. Inside the church is a painting of the Virgin (to the left of the high alter) which legend says shed tears in 1641 and since that time miracles happen.
Our Lady of the Angels' Basilica is composed of a few parts including a high and wide nave with four bays separated by pilasters.
The main nave adjoined to the former church on the turn of the 17th and 18th centuries in the late Baroque style. It's highly decorated with wall and roof paintings.
The monastery was renovated recently. The cloisters are covered by red roof tiles and look very nice now. They surround courtyard on its three sides.The Our Lady of the Angels' Basilica wall forms the fourth side of the courtyard.
Here is my last picture of the basilica taken on the way to parking lot. You can see three domes - the biggest one is located in a main nave (with paintings by Tetmajer), the two smaller belong to its chapels. Add two towers of the basilica to the beautiful skyline.
If you don't have good sight... look at my picture. It's a wall-painting inside a dome of the basilica - 7 x zoomed in for you :-)
There are original paintings made by Wlodzimierz Tetmajer about 1914 there (Birth of BVM, the Annunciation of the BVM, Coronation of the BVM). He was famous Polish poet and painter. He studied painting in Krakow, Munich, Paris and Wien.
Look up at very high basilica nave vaultings which form a dome. If you have good eyes you can see details of colorful wall paintings of the dome. There are four windows around which transparent a lot of light inside during daytime.
When we came inside the basilica there was an evening mass for local monks. They were praying for health of pope John Paul II and singing wonderful songs.
So we couldn't take pictures not to disturb prayers... except a few pictures :-). It's a pity that when the mass ended they switched light off, so I wasn't able to take more pictures.
There is a statue of pope John Paul II in front of the basilica.
He has visited the sanctuary a lot of times and he is strongly connected to Kalwaria shrine. He came here with pilgrimages as a young boy with his father from the nearby Wadowice - his birthplace and later from Krakow as a priest.
He visited Kalwaria Zebrzydowska as a pope twice: in 1979 and recently in 2002.
There is a stone portal closed with columns which leads to the Basilica. This door was closed when we visited the basilica - the side entrance to the basilica (to the right) was opened.
Look up, above the portal where is a stone carved cartouche with Magdalena Czartoryska’s coats of arms and over it an Our Lady statue (1837) in a window. Add reinforced concrete balcony (1934-1936). The side areas of the facade place richly framed niches with the statues of four Evangelists (Matthew, Mark, Luke and John) dated from 1867-1873.
Take a look at the Basilica facade from the Paradise Square. It comprises a central part (as wide as the width of the nave), divided into two floors and topped with a triangular gable and two towers standing a little back.
It's typical baroque facade easy to find in Poland.
Great examples of baroque architecture outside Poland?
- Karlskirche in Wien,
- Piazza of St. Peter's in Vatican,
- Opera in Paris
and many, many more.
Look at the stone saints standing in front of the basilica.
There are figures of, counting from the north, St. Bernardino of Sienna, St. Louis, St. Clare, Our Lady, Jesus Christ, St. Francis of Assisi, St. Bonaventure, St. Anthony of Padua and Bl. Simon of Lipnica.
Haha, Kathy said that one of them must had been from Texas, he had a hat (Texican?). Guess which one?
At the front the Paradise Square is closed with an iron balustrade. Notice ten stone posts, which support stone figures created by Tomasz Galuszczynski in 1823.
They reminded me stone figures on roof of St. Peter and Paul Basilica in Vatican. Am I wrong?
We drove to Kalwaria Zebrzydowska from Krakow late afternoon - before sunset on rainy, business day and despite of it we noticed a few buses full of people.
Walking from the parking lot we noticed the huge, impressive building of the basilica, located on the top of the hill.
At the front the Paradise Square is closed with an iron balustrade and ten stone posts, which support stone figures of saints. Two of them with the cloisters you can see on my picture of corner of the Paradise Square.