This was the parish church of John Paul II. It is a lovely, small building on the main town square. Right next door, to the right of the church, is the home of the Pope. Inside the immaculately kept building you can see the baptismal font, at which the Pope-to-be was baptized.
Right next door to the church is the boyhood home of the pope. He and his family lived in the upstairs apartment of this home. Their landlords, who lived on the first floor, were Jewish. You enter the building through a small courtyard and take an outdoor staircase to the second floor. Inside you are required to put on slippers to protect the hardwood floors.
On display are photos of John Paul and his family and vestments belonging to him. It is a simple yet charming place.
Admission to this museum is free (Donations expected)
This was the home of the Wojtyła family of Karol, his wife Emilie and 13 year old son, Edmund from 1919, where they rented two rooms on the upper floor, of a property owned by a Jewish merchant named Yechiel Balamuth**. The following year, Karol Josef was born, he was the third child born to Karol (Senior) and his wife-a daughter Olga, had died in infancy.
When Karol Josef was 8, his mother died. Edmund had left home to study medicine at Krakow University (He too was to die at a young age (38) having contracted Scarlet Fever, through his work)
Father and youngest son, remained at No 7, moving into one smaller room.
Karol Josef completed his studies at Wadowice High School, qualifying for a place at Krakow Jagiellonian University (where he studied Polish Literature) He also enrolled in a drama school.
In 1938 They both left Wadowice and moved to Krakow.
In 1984, the upper rooms were opened as a museum. The rooms had been renovated and altered after 1938.
The exhibits represent the period from Karol Josefs birth until 16th October 1978, when he became the 264th Pope. It aims to commemorate his life and work in Poland throughout this time.
There are exhibits of his life as Pope John Paul 11 too, from his visits to Wadowice, and of his 20th Anniversary of being Pope.
You enter the museum through a gateway, into the courtyard, then climb an external staircase to the upper level. (No elevators/ mobility aids)
I was expecting to see the museum, set out in the way that it would have been, when the family were living there. (Apparently, most of the furniture was taken to Krakow in 1938, 'though a few pieces have been returned here).
The lady on the reception desk, was quite surprised to see so many nationalities in one group, and spent quite a while documenting each represented country.
We were instructed to follow the right side of the room in and the left out.
No photography allowed inside.
High heeled shoes have to be removed to protect the parquet flooring- felt 'slippers' are provided.
The exhibits cover Karol Josefs childhood, schooldays, University, and his entering the priesthood, with his promotions to Archbishop, Bishop and cardinal.
I particularly liked seeing the personal effects, such as his skiis, swiss army knife and tea tin. I found it quite interesting to find that he was a keen sportsman, enjoying Football (soccer), skiing, athletics, walking etc.
There are also documents and manuscripts (some original, some are copies), photographs, clerical clothing and books.
I'm not a Catholic, and I'm not particularly religious, but I found this visit to be quite interesting. It seemed that the focus was more on a 'local boy' than 'an icon'
October- April 9.00 - 12.00 and 13.00 - 16.00
May - September 9.00 - 13.00 and 14.00 - 18.00
Closed Mondays and at the following times
December 23 until January 6
Holy Thursday until Easter Monday
May 3 - until 14.00 (then open until 1800 hrs)
November 2 - until 14.00 (then open until 1600 hrs)
November 11 - until 14.00 (then open until 1600 hrs)
** Yechiel Balamuth, his wife and 3 daughters perished in the Belzec death camp, their son Chaim escaped, and made his way to the Russian border by motorcycle. Here he was arrested and sent to a Siberian labour camp. After the war, he moved to Israel, where he set up business and re-married. Here he had a son named Ron, who moved to New York, to become a doctor.
Ron has since tried to reclaim this property.
For a 1999 article about his visit back to his family home with a BBC reporter
Also known as The Basilica of the Presentation (or Devotion) of the Blessed Virgin or The Parish Church of the Oblation of the Holiest Virgin Mary!!
Originally, a brick church, built in 1440 stood here, which was known as All Saints church. A fire in 1726 destroyed a large part of the building. It was rebuilt between 1792 and 1798. The church was now known as the Parish Church of St Mary. It was built in the Baroque style, with 3 aisles and a central tower. The neo-baroque facade and the tower were built by the architect Tomasz Prylinski who came from Krakow.
On 20th June 1920 Karol Josef Wojtyla was baptised here , by Father Zak, in the font that can be seen in the Left aisle. He then took his first Holy Communion here aged 9 , and was confirmed into the Catholic church when he was 18. He prayed in this church daily on his way to school, (usually in the Chapel of the Holy Mother), and also served as an altar boy.
As Pope John Paull 11 he returned to this church in 1979, 1991 and 1999. In 1992, he granted the church with the title of a minor basilica.
I visited the basilica after seeing the house where Karol Wojtyla was born, (and lived until leaving for University in Krakow) so I didn't have too long to look around. I couldn't see an English guide to this church.
The church gets quite crowded with tour groups and individuals. We visited mid afternoon on the Saturday, so it wasn't too crowded.
It is quite a large church, with columns and arches,and painted ceilings depicting scenes from the scriptures.(pic 4) There are also statues (pic 3), photographs and paintings of Pope John Paul 11 around the church. Some are from his 3 visits. The photograph in pic 5 shows the Pope with an image of Our Lady of Perpetual Help. The original painting is in Rome.
The chapel of the miraculous image of Our Lady is on the Left side, behind black railings . The painting was blessed by John Paul 11 during his visit on 16th June 1999.
On 27th May 2006, Pope Benedict XV1 visited the basilica as a pilgrimage to John Paul and addressed the crowds in the square with this speech
The Baroque parish Church of Devotion of Holy Virgin Mary on the town square was constructed in the late 18th century, although the remodeled presbyterium dates back as far as the 15th century.
It was parish church of pope John Paul II and he was baptised there.He visited it as a pope three times: in 1979, 1991 and 1999. And John Paul II changed this local parish church into a minor basilica in 1992.
There is a town museum (Muzeum Miejskie) opposite to the pope's family house. There was a temporary exposition of photographs "Ground Zero - A Tribute to America" when we were there. We were too late to visit it but anyway Kathy from Dallas, Texas was touched to see such exposition there. Not at all coincidential place for such exposition, I think.
Pope John Paul II influences millions of lives, but also as a leading political figure he is known throughout the world for his doctrines of reconciliation and peace for all the people of the world.
There are always two expositions in the museum: "Galicyjskie Wadowice" (Galizian Wadowice) and "Hell's Angel".
Don't forget to get inside the basilica to see its very decorative interiors in Baroque style. The church has one wide nave and two aisles on both sides with numerous side altars.
Pope John Paul II was baptysed there. So you can find many commemorating plates devoted to him.
Pope John Paul II was born as Charles Joseph Wojtyla 15th May 1920 in this house of Wojtyla family on my picture. The possesion was renovated and there is a museum there since 1984.
There are a lot of original papers of the pope and his photographs as well inside. Add personal belongings like his skis, backpack, oar and a lot of his hand-writings. In my opinion it's interesting museum worth of your visit if you are interested in life of John Paul II.
May - September:
9.00am - 1.00pm and 2.00pm - 6.00pm
October - April:
9.00am - midday and 2.00pm - 5.00pm
Closed on Monday.
This is one of many statues of this Pope in Wadowice. Apparently it is known by locals as 'The Cream Cake Statue'!
The reason? - During John Pauls visit to Wadowice in 1992, he sat very near to this spot and reminiced about his early life in the town.
He mentioned how, he and his friends would enjoy kremówki (cream cakes) which they bought from a certain shop 'over there', which he pointed to.
The actual shop is no longer there, but you can buy these cream pastries in cake shops and cafes in Wadowice. Now I wish that I'd known about this delicacy before I left there!!
The statue shows the Pope in a familiar pose, with his crook in one hand, and his free hand raised in blessing (or pointing to the kremówka shop?)!!!
The statue was a popular place for people posing for photos.
I was quite amused to see a nun, who kept picking children to have their photos taken with her-some looked less than pleased!
She's there with my VA's in my travelogue!
The distinctive clock tower of the basilica, with its onion domed cupola shows the time for the people of Wadowice and visitors, the 4 clocks are easily visible from different directions.
On the wall of the church, is another time piece that is less visible, but could easily be seen by the young Karol Wojtyla from his window.
During his papal visit in 1999, when he reminisced to the crowd about his memories of living in Wadowice, he mentioned seeing the sundial every day, with its inscription "Time Flies-Eternity Awaits"
I thought I had a photo of this sun dial, and now I'm beginning to doubt if I really did see it whilst hurrying between sights!
This is a nice Basilica in the center of Wadowice, you simply can't miss it.
In front of it is a headpiece of Pope John Paul II, and lots of people light candles there and prey for their favorite citizen.
This is the house in which the Karol Jozef Wojtyła was born in 1920. Nowadays it is used as a museum. Museum of the Holy Father Family House in the native home of Pope John Paul II collects remainders and relics about Karol Wojtyła and his family.
The residence where Pope John Paul was born and raised as Karol Wojityla in 1920 has been turned into a museum. On display is several photographs and family belongings. The museum is free to visit.
Wadowice is the birthplace of John Paul II. There is a museum dedicated to the late pope, who was very popular throughout the world. The museum is what used to be his childhood home.