My Trip to Poland with Zen: Day 9 – September 3, 2015.

As my trip to Poland begins to wind down, the remaining days are devoted to sightseeing mostly.  Today, we went to the famous pilgrimage site of the Jasna Gora monastery in Czestochowa, Poland.  It was here in 1655 that a small contingent of friars, Polish nobles and volunteers fought off the numerically superior Swedish force of German mercenaries for a month inspiring the Poles to rise up and sweep the Swedes out of Poland.  Legend has it that the inspiration for this valiant defense was a famous religious icon known as the Black Madonna of Czestochowa which has been housed in the Monastery since at least the 1300s.

The Black Madonna with the protective screen.

Years later, Jan III Sobieski stopped in Czestochowa to pray before the Black Madonna before leading his forces against the Turks in the defense of Vienna thereby halting the Turkish attempt to conquer all of Europe.  Today it is the most popular pilgrimage shrine in Poland and one of the most visited Catholic shrines in the world.  Pope John Paul II visited shortly after he became Pope and twice again later but his most notable visit might have been during WWII while a student when to do so was very dangerous.

Assorted photos from Czestochowa:

Statue of Cardinal Stefan Wyszyński who was the face of the Catholic Church which was severely repressed by the Communists in post-war Poland and is considered a national hero for his efforts to resist the totalitarian regime.


Other shots of the monastery’s fortifications and buildings:












The ruins of the castle called Zamok Mirow which struck me as a good symbol of Poland….though battered and bruised through years of external abuse, it still stand proudly, defiantly.


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