This is the painting adorned with the so-called Diamond Robe, another popular image of Our Lady of Czestochowa distributed also as little pocket-size pictures.
The painting has eight different robes made of precious fabrics with golden embroidery and jewel stones (some of the stones go back to 15th c.). To see the robes click here, scroll down and enlarge the photos. The robes are absolutely lovely!
The robes are displayed in the 600th Anniversary Museum at Jasna Gora.
Fondest memory: Looking at the Miraculous Painting from the distance of maybe 3-4 meters right in the Chapel behind the metal gate... That was a once in a lifetime experience, and certainly not because of having a chance to examine the precious robe!
' When I look at the strrets of a big city with crowds of people I think to myself: how many children the Holy Father has. And he knows all of them and cares for them, never forgetting anyone. God doesn't know the dimension for Heart. It is people that dose out the heart as if they were pharmacists'.
the words of Cardinal Stefan Wyszynski
This gangway is probably used most often by those who drive to Czestochowa or come in organised bus-trip groups. It connects the huge parking lot with one of Jasna Gora's gates. And, frankly, this is the shortest way to get to Our Lady's Chapel, it's almost right behind the Gate :-)
I call this gangway "international" because this is where you hear all kinds of foreign languages from people who just got off their buses :-)
The monastery and shrine are a huge complex and its lean and bold tower (over 106m/353ft) is well visible from 10+ km distance. It is the tallest of its kind in Poland, fairly appropriate for the Patron Queen's residence :-)
You might as well take a look at it from much closer...
I like this tower a lot, although I generally tend to prefer mediaeval architecture. But this one is just sweet and serene... and yet it shoots off boldly right up to the sky.
This is an amazing place, as beautiful as the Basilica. The polychrome vaults were completed in 1693, and the cabinets also go back to the second half of the 17th c. You are really in an entirely different world the moment you enter the sacristy (which is between the Chapel and the Basilica).
I remember when I first saw it... I literally froze as I did not expect this "function" chamber to be such beauty... One of the monks laughed when he saw my face! :-)
Photo from Jasna Gora website
When you go for a stroll along the walkways and gangways, look around to admire the architecture.
Jasna Gora is quite unique in that it combines the attributes of a sanctuary with the general features of a fortress. The two roles have blended perfectly! I personally like this combination...
Fondest memory: Discovering some new features each time I go there!
Favorite thing: On the limehills extending from Krakow to Wielun ("land of the eagle's nest") on the River Warta, rises the city of Czestochowa, the capital of the province of the same name. It is believed that the name of the city derives from its founder, a Slav called Czestoch. In 13th century documents, it is mentioned as a village of horsemen called Czestochowa and at the end of the 14th century, it received its charter.
Jasna Gora , Sanctuary of the Mother of God, holds the "Black Madonna" icon and is the most religous place in Poland. It MUST be the reason you visit Czestochowa. At the most religous times of the year, to see the thousands of pilgrims and visitors coming to the church is amazing. The building itself is fantastic, mounted on top of a military fort, it's highest tower can be seen for miles. Once inside, the atmosphere is beautiful. During the numerous masses that take place throughout the day, try to find a place towards the front of the "Black Madonna" chapel. This is no easy task as hundreds of faithful worshippers of all ages fill the chapel in the hope that they will see the Icon when the cover is revealed at the end of each mass.
Fondest memory: To hear the sung prayers echoing around you is deeply moving and will stay in the memories of anyone experiencing them.
It's important to understand what Jasna Gora and the icon of the Black Madonna mean to Polish people. For many, the sanctuary's fame and significance for the history of the Polish nation have made it the religious capital of Poland. More than 5,000,000 pilgrims and tourists from all over the world come here annually. In Europe, only the sanctuaries at Lourdes and Fatima draw more visitors.
Many visitors ask me how religion was during Communist Poland. For a glimpse of this, please visit my DURING COMMUNISM travelogue, where you will see photographs from 1969 and 1983 taken by the secret service of the Polish People's Republic, with captions from the former files of the Ministry of the Interior.
Fondest memory: The amazing hotel I stayed in - see Accommodation Tips below
Favorite thing: If you get invited to eat at someones home then take them up on the offer as Polish food is amazing!!
You can climb the tower to get the overall view of the vast Jasna Gora complex.
It's quite breath-taking, you can't really imagine it from the ground.
Such details contribute to the overall picture.
I always appreciate it when a simple function is "dressed up" in a nice idea.
Mind you, we could do with such approach to things in Warsaw...
Favorite thing: There are many buildings in this complex which I enjoyed ...even a small museum which my husband found interesting.
Favorite thing: This courtyard is a lovely place with arches and columns...the rain prohibited us from staying for very long...we were drenched...but it actually provides some interesting reflection in photos.