I visited this WHS in September 2014. Being close to the WHS hotspot of Krakow and only 14km away from Pope John Paul’s birthplace (Wadowice), I decided to visit this site by car on a half day trip. Before parking next to the Benedictine Monastery, I stopped to visit the several chapels clustered in what is called “Gethsemane and The Mount of Olives”, “The Mount of Moriah” and “The Mount of Zion”. The natural landscape and the chapels symbolically represent Jerusalem and the Passion of Christ. Next I visited the Chapel of St. Raphael which is situated right in front of the Basilica of Our Lady of the Angels. The entrance to the Basilica and all the chapels is free and photography is allowed as long as you don’t disturb the pilgrims. Around the Basilica, there are numerous confessionals for pilgrims. I’ve never seen so many confessionals next to each other and I’ve visited quite a lot of churches and monasteries! After spotting the UNESCO WHS plaque, I hiked uphill on “The Golgotha” to take in the view over the Basilica and to visit the remaining chapels, each with a unique architectural style. The Church of the Crucifixion and the Church of the Third Fall are the ones which stood out. There were several pilgrim groups going up and down “The Golgotha” and following one of the 2 Kalwaria pathways: The Pathway of Our Lord Jesus or The Pathway of Our Lady. The shrine of Kalwaria Zebrzydowska is one of the most often visited pilgrimage sites in Poland. However, due to the several chapels present as well as the sheer length of both pathways, it wasn’t as crowded as other shrines I’ve visited. The busiest periods are Lent (before Easter) and Assumption Day (15th August). It’s worth visiting if you have time as it’s an interesting national heritage but to me it doesn’t have the OUV to consider it as WHS.
Kalwaria Zebrzydowska: the Mannerist Architectural and Park Landscape Complex and Pilgrimage Park – Poland