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Wednesday, 31 December 2014

Happy New Year Dear Hearts!

Dear sweet hearts,

We are counting down to the end of this year and the beginning of the next one: 2015! May it be at least as awesome and fulfilling as the one that just passes by us.
May your coming year be filled with magic and dreams and good madness. I hope you read some fine books and kiss someone who thinks your wonderful, and don’t forget to make some art—write or draw or build or sing or live only as you can. And I hope, somewhere in the next year, you surprise yourself. ~Neil Gaiman
True Loves Kiss :)
This year was a marvelous year for us - we had our church wedding and party, my family (including my awesome Granny) came to visit us in Poland, we bought our very own apartment, I switched jobs and we visited Koln/Bonn and we saw my best friend, my pea in the pod, Dana :) I thank God for all our family and friends that have been with us this year. 
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Tomorrow everything starts brand new, tomorrow brings 2015 as a open page where one can write new stories... make sure you write from stories with your heart and soul. Make sure you spend time with the ones you love and make sure you tell them as often as you can that you love them. Don't be afraid to admit it! :) I, for one, wish you an amazing new year, full with love and dreams ready to come true! Make sure you make the best even from the worst moments... in the end, it all depends on us. The beauty of this world is in the eye of the beholder ;) Now let's go and watch those fireworks! :)

Happy New Year dearest hearts!

Yours truly,
The Twisted Red LadyBug & The Friendly Moose :)

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Tuesday, 30 December 2014

Let it snow, let it snow!

Dear friends,

One of the greatests gifts God gave us this Christmas was the snow :) I thought that once more we would not have a white Christmas, but there it was! In the evening of the first day of Christmas is started snowing and it does so since. It was sad without snow in November and December - listening to carols and setting up the Christmas tree, without having the white and pure view outside. I love how averyone gets enthusiastic about the first flurry of snow. It's like everyone turns into a child... It took only a few hours to build up a few centimeters of snow and Marek and I went outside, to breathe in the fresh air... 
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We went for Christmas to his parents and it was truly a full house as all his brothers and sisters were in - families and kids included. They sang carols - in Polish language, I dunno any so I just sat and listened - and we watched the yearly "Home Alone" with Kevin :) We ate a lot of goodies and we visited the uncles. It was relaxing and exhausting at the same time :) as Marek's bigger sister has 4 small girls that took away all the energy :) but I did not mind it... tell you the truth, I love kids too much to be bothered! :)
After 2 hours of continuous snow there was enough for some Christmas snowball fight :)
“I will honor Christmas in my heart, and try to keep it all the year.” ― Charles Dickens
The Lovely Christmas Tree
“Want to keep Christ in Christmas? Feed the hungry, clothe the naked, forgive the guilty, welcome the unwanted, care for the ill, love your enemies, and do unto others as you would have done unto you.” ― Steve Maraboli, Unapologetically You: Reflections on Life and the Human Experience
The Day Before Christmas
“Christmas can be celebrated in the school room with pine trees, tinsel and reindeers, but there must be no mention of the man whose birthday is being celebrated. One wonders how a teacher would answer if a student asked why it was called Christmas.” ― Ronald Reagan
Sunny Christmas Eve Afternoon
“I heard the bells on Christmas Day
Their old, familiar carols play,
And wild and sweet
The words repeat
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!”
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
Christmas Eve Dinner
“In the old days, it was not called the Holiday Season; the Christians called it 'Christmas' and went to church; the Jews called it 'Hanukkah' and went to synagogue; the atheists went to parties and drank. People passing each other on the street would say 'Merry Christmas!' or 'Happy Hanukkah!' or (to the atheists) 'Look out for the wall!” ― Dave Barry
Christmas morning - Crispy and crystal clear :)
“And when we give each other Christmas gifts in His name, let us remember that He has given us the sun and the moon and the stars, and the earth with its forests and mountains and oceans--and all that lives and move upon them. He has given us all green things and everything that blossoms and bears fruit and all that we quarrel about and all that we have misused--and to save us from our foolishness, from all our sins, He came down to earth and gave us Himself.” ― Sigrid Undset
And On Christmas Day It Started To Snow... slowly :)
How was your Christmas this year? Are you all ready for the New Year that creeps in slowly? Do you have setup already resolutions for the year that comes? I realised that having plans with points down to the smallest detail does not help... evertime there is something new that appears. I preffer keeping an open mind and loving the ones around me, taking things one step at a time... At least for now :) Hope you had a very Merry Christmas dearests! :)

Yours truly,
A LadyBug In Love With Christmas Time
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Saturday, 27 December 2014

The Longest Street In Krakow - Ulica Dluga

Dearest friends,

I hope each and every one of you is ok after the yum yummy Christmas dinner with the family :) I hope you are well rested and eager to get to the New Year - which, by the way, is knocking at our door more and more persistently. Today I will not worry you with any heavy post reviews, listings and God knows what! :) Today I plan to make it easy and light by showing you one of my favourite streets in Krakow. It is also one of the most famous ones - to the natives here - and it's name is ulica Dluga. Dluga = (in Polish language) long. And that is exactly what it is! The longest street in Krakow, Poland. Everyone knows it as all the ladies get there sooner than later. Why? Well... it has the biggest conglomeration of wedding dress shops! ;)
In order for everyone to understand how importand and special this ulica/street is for the locals, I need to tell you not much has been changed there and the buildings are the same as they have been hundreds of years ago (+/- the renovation work done). The locals even went overboard and created a Facebook page that at this point has around 250 likes. People post there old pictures of how the street used to look but there is not much differencs, except the clothes of the people inside the pictures...
Ulica Dluga goes from Aleja Juliusza Slowackiego to Bastowa, in a quite straight line of around 850 meters - more or less :) so you can stroll away for 15 minutes in a leasury walk and admire the buildings. Each and every one of them is specific and different from one another. The details and colors are lovely and I recommend you to go and have a look ;)
A Window Display on the 1st floor of an old building :)
If you are hungry you can always drop by and have something sweet :)
These are only a few shots I took quickly recently with my phone, but trust me there is so much more to see with your own eyes. Be it of you wish to find a wedding dress or you just wish to have a stroll in a place you did not check yet in Krakow, you should try this street out ;) And you can reward yourself along  the way by jumping into one of the bakeries and having something sweet, just for you ;) and you need to let me know who much you liked it!

Yours truly,
A LadyBug That Finds Ulica Dluga Very Familiar

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Wednesday, 24 December 2014

O Holy Night! - Reasons Why I Love Christmas

My dear sweet friends,

Welcome to the most wonderful time of the year. Welcome to the most magical day of the year - for young and the old alike. Welcome to the Christmas Eve. The moment is coming closer and closer, soon we will start getting ready for going to church and coming back to the bosom of the family. Coming home to rejoice together upon the brightest day of all: Noel - the day that Christ was born. Though in the Bible we have nothing to tell us specifically to set this day apart from all others, we feel these days more closer to us than any other holidays/celebrations that we actually participate in. 
Source
Both in Romania and in Poland there is a saying that Christmas must always be spent with family and New Year's Eve can be spent with friends. Christmas, as Easter, will always be a family tradition, when everyone will gather around the table and sing songs and tell merry jokes or old-time stories (incuding embarrassing ones from your childhood). I have always loved Christmas with all my heart - just like Charles Dickens Tiny Tim :) - and I do try and celebrate it the whole year. It may be due to that fact that after my birthday - in the end of October - I pull out the CDs with the Christmas Carols and start listening it. It is never too late/early to listen to Christmas Carols, my friends :) They always bring a smile upon my face!
Source
Now today will be a short post, as I am with Marek's family and I wish to make the most of it. During the major holidays of the year we are somehow reminded how fast time passes us by and how little time we manage to spend with the ones we love. Truly, there comes a time in everyones life when we no longer want gifts under the trees, but people we love and miss very much :( But enough with the sadness, as I don't wanna transform myself into a Grinch! Here are a few reasons why I love Christmas so much:
  1. Everybody seems to light up from inside, seems to have less worries and seems to smile a bit more during (and maybe even before) Christmas. In the end we are all children, and who doesn't like presents and snow and a warm evening with the ones you love?
  2. All the Christmas decorations - from the lights to the trees to the baubles to the candy canes - they just make me smile... I know its not eco friendly when it comes to cutting trees, and that is why we have a fake one, but looking outside and seeing all those beautiful lights and decorations makes one smile like a child.
  3. The Christmas Food - oh! even the smell alone could make you feel you are in Heaven. Everyone wants to do their best for Christmas as it is the time when all the family is together and when you will have a lot of friends visiting. You always have to have something good on the table and your door must be always open. Did you know that the Polish custom demands the Christmas Eve dinner should have 12 types of food! (for the 12 apostles).
  4. The Christmas Traditions - like caroling in the family and then going out to the neighbours and singing for them as well. Did you know that the Romanian custom is that children would gather up and go around the village/town/city to the people they knew/care and they would sing carols to them? In exchange they would receive the traditional bread, walnuts and apples. Recently that changed and money is granted as well - #livinginamaterialworld ... If you want to read more about the Traditional Polish Christmas click on the link ;)
  5. The Christmas Movies - be it the oldies and goldies be it the new ones... I love all the versions of A Christmas Carol. I consider this movie the movie of the season, no matter the year! I cannot remember a year when I have not watched a version or 2 of it and/or read the book! It always reminds me of home, it reminds me of true human nature, it reminds me that no matter how bad we are we can always change and feel the true Christmas spirit within us! My fav adaptations are the old one done by the magnificent Patrick Stewart & the rather new 3D animated version with Jim Carrey. And trust me, I have never seen a movie in 3D better than that animation! Of course, rewatching Harry Potter and Love Actually is always a must, this time of year ;) And let's not forget the quite fresh Frozen and the lovely and enchanting old animation of Anastasia.
  6. The Christmas Carols - that uplift your spirits and make you sing along, even if one does not have a voice ;))) Which one is your favourite? Mine is The Little Drummer Boy :)
  7. Going to the church - Midnight Mass - yet another Polish tradition is the Pasterka (Midnight Mass) With all the banqueting and present-giving out of the way, most Poles head to church for Pasterka. Carols (Koledy) are sung before the mass itself begins, and the service is a spirited occasion that's full of energy. I love it how Polish people are rooted into their past and culture and beliefs and they keep this tradition of going to church, no matter the weather. From old to young, everyone boards in the car and goes quietly to the Midnight Mass.
  8. Being with the family - nothing is better than being able to spend some quality time with the ones you love. Sometimes you manage to do this only once or twice a year - if you are an expat like myself. As you grow older you understand more and more that family is where you feel the most at peace. You can be whomever you want to be, they will always love you and welcome you with open arms. I love the love inside families. It knows no boundries and even if you don't see eachother often, you are able to pick it up exactly where you started last time :)
  9. Vacation time - thank God for National Holidays and for the moment when people agreed that holidays like this should be a #timeoff for everyone! You get to relax and not stress about work and what deadlines you need to focus on. You can have time for yourself and the ones you love. Or you can just be selfish and sleep all day long :)))
  10. Being able to speak about the Lord without having people look funny at you - how about putting the Christ back into Christmas and talking less about Santa Claus? I believe some of us truly forgot what this celebration stands for. This is not a typical holiday for consumerism... 
How about you? What are your reasons for loving Christmas? Why do you love this time of year?

Yours truly,
A LadyBug That Loves Christ(mas)
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Sunday, 21 December 2014

Glimpses Of Krakow - A Panoramic Photo Post

Dearest hearts,

Recently I get to spend less and less time in front of the computer contructing posts, sorting out pictures and writing emails to my dear ones. That is due to 2 factors combined: work and the new apartment. Oh! Yes, that's right... I promised to tell you more about that but to tell you the truth we did not finish it up so you need to wait a bit more until it will be ready to be shown to the public :)
Add to all that the weird flu that got me this all last week out of order and you will understand why when I got home all I wanted to do is curl into the blanket and get some sleep - provided the heavy breathing (my own!) would let me do so... I did not get out much and the "out" we had was always connected to the new flat. Hence the lack of recent pictures. I leave you today with some panoramic views of Krakow, taken late November. Worry not! The town is basically the same now as it is in these pictures: no snow, leaves on the ground... with the addition of the Christmas Fair/Market in the Main Market Square and in front of the Galeria Krakowska.
Hotel Europejski, Hotel Polonia, The Number 1 Postal Office, Hotel Andel
Krakow Rakowicki Cemetery
Railway tracks near Galeria Krakowska
Fast Tram tracks near Politechnika
Galeria Krakowska and its surroundings
Krakow Business Park - daytime - the parking lot
Krakow Business Park - nighttime
People rushing to catch the train
The Main Train Station in Krakow is connected to Galeria Krakowska
An old fort near the Krakow Rakowicki Cemetery
How are you lovely people doing? I hope you did not catch the cold as I did... If you did or planning to, make sure you drink loads of liquids/stay inside the house/wrap yourself warm/ eat a dozen of mandarins (citrus fruits) per day and get you vitamin C level up ;) Make sure Christmas does not catch you with your nose as red as Rudolph!

P.S. All Panoramic photos were taken with the Samsung Galaxy S4 from my awesome husband! :) I would love to know what do you make of it and if you feel something is missing.

Yours truly,
A LadyBug Very Much Into Panoramic Photos :)
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Thursday, 18 December 2014

Magia Cafe Bar - A Quiet Place To Hide

Dearest friends,

Today I am taking you into a magical journey into a coffee place/mini-restaurant right next to the lovely Mariacki church, in the Main Square of my beloved city Krakow. You can't miss it if you go from Florianska, take a left right next to the Saint Mary Church, like you would go to the Small Square and on Plac Mariacki 3 you will find the welcoming doors - and in the spring/summer/autumn you can even find places outside! - of the lovely Cafe Bar Magia :)
You can find them online both on their website and on their Facebook fan-page. Or you can just drop by their place and check out their cozy interior. The atmosphere is just magical, especially in the evening with the candles burning on each and every table. It is a wonderful place to warm up and have a rest, even though the service is not as prompt as one would want the place and the food makes it up for that in full! I recommend their tea (as they have quite a wide selection) and also the mulled wine with loads of spices and dried fruits. It is just heavenly!
Even if it is so close to the Main Market Square not many people bustle about it and there are many seats to choose from - be it indoor or outdoor. You can even have lunch there as they have sandwiches and pierogi and soups. If the soup of the day is the onion one, I recommend it wholeheartedly as it is one of the best things I ate in Krakow! It is not quite a soup, but more of a stew with loads of onions and vegetables and meat. Steamy hot it just warms you up perfectly when the nights are cold and you need something to make up for it ;)
The cakes are also quite good and they have creme brulee - but still the bets creme brulee I ate was at Charlotte. The sweets come with a price range between 6 zloty for cake with season fruits and 10 zloty for the cake with chocolate and sour cherries ;) The sandwiches are around 7-8 zloty each and the pierogi 10-11 zloty. It is definetely worth your time and you should totally check it out next time you are in the area ;) It is open daily from 8 am and it keeps its doors open till around 2 am. You can pay by card and if you are lucky you will catch a glimpse of the huge kitten living in the museum upstairs :) If you do manage to get there, let me know of your thoughts upon the place :)

** This post was made out of love for good food and great mulled wine. I was not repayed in any way and all the opinions are my very own, straight from the heart! **

Yours truly,
The Twisted Red LadyBug
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Monday, 15 December 2014

Pierogarnia - Slow Or Fast Food?

Dear friends,

Here are the facts of the day: pierogi are boiled, baked or fried dumplings of unleavened dough traditionally stuffed with potato filling, sauerkraut, ground meat, cheese, or fruit. The word pierogies is popular in the U.S. and Canada because it underlines a ‘plurality’ of this well-known Polish food. However, this usage is not so appropriate since in fact the word ‘pierogi’ is already plural in Polish language.

Traditionally considered peasant food, they eventually gained popularity and spread throughout all social classes including nobles. Although Pierogi are still an important part of Polish culture and cuisine today, they are very popular in other European countries such as Slovakia, Romania, and Ukraine. 
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Pierogi are served in a variety of forms and tastes (ranging from sweet to salty to spicy) in Polish cuisine, considered to be the Polish national dish. They are served at many festivals, playing an important role as a cultural dish. At the 2007 Pierogi Festival in Kraków, 30,000 pierogi were consumed daily.
When you visit Poland remember that in many Polish towns you can come across some Polish restaurants called "pierogarnia". These are places designed to offer pierogi in dozens of tastes. This is a great thing for every tourist going to Poland. Most of the pierogarnia also sell other popular Polish food. To be noted that the prices are quite low when you compare to other countries in Europe. For example, in the picture above you can see also the prices for each style of pierogi that you may wish to order.
The Pierogarnia from these pictures is located on the street called Slawkowska 32, right between ROSSMAN and the Restaurant Miod i Wino (as you can see in the below picture, taken from Google Maps) - it is usually open 24 hours so it is perfect for having a quick bite before/after/during a party in town :) You can find the same type of Pierogarnia in Krakow and in Warsaw as well - Pierogarnia Zapiecek.
Here you can find their Krakow menu. As I said, the prices are convenient and you can pay either by cash or by card - no limit instated. They specialise in pierogi, both boiled and fried, but they have soups and main dishes and sweets as well. I always have some fried meat pierogi with some home-made kompot (juice made out of boiled fruits, sweetened). The usual portions are of 10 pieces of pierogi, but the nice part about this place is that you can have half portions - in case you are just a bit hungry. And also you can mix, half of the portion can be pierogi with meat and half could be pierogi with fruits! :) The portion of 10 pierogi right now (12/15/2014) is maximum 12 zloty (around 3 euro) and the soups are around 1 euro per portion!
Cute small fact: The Guinness record in making pierogi belongs to ten students from a Catering School in Wroclaw, Poland. In 100 minutes they managed to make as many as 1663 dumplings! That was over 90 pounds. Their great result was officially written down in The Guinness Book of Records. After cooking and packing, the pierogi were sent to Wroclaw children's homes.
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Question: Would you consider pierogi fast food or slow food? I mean, it basically gets prepared in time, it gets frozen and then you can save it for weeks. When you need it, you just pull it out of the fridge and boil it or fry it... Slow or fast food? Hmmm... What say you?

P.S. All pictures were taken with the Samsung Galaxy S4 camera, a present from my awesome hubby :)  and they were taken late November. Some of them were modified with the freeware Fotor Photo Editor (lately they changed it and it has a lot of glitches... so... I don't recommend it with fully all my heart; but I do hope it will be eventually stable as I liked it very much!)

** This post was made out of love for Polish great pierogi. I was not repayed in any way and all the opinions are my very own, straight from the heart! ** 

Yours truly,
The Twisted Red LadyBug That Loves Pierogi (the ones deep fried, with meat ;) )
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Saturday, 13 December 2014

Czestochowa - It's Clear (Panoramic Photo Post)

Dearest friends,

As you know I am in Poland now for more than 3 years and in those 3 years I heard multiple times how one day I should try and go to visit the monastery in Czestochowa. I should visit Jasna Gora, climb to the top of the tower of the monastery, enjoy the wonderful view and pray at the famous Black Madonna. Well, guess what?! I have made it, this November, with the great help of my awesome better half and husband, to go see Jasna Gora and even if we were there just a few hours, just to visit the monastery, we promised we would come back one day :)
The weather was cold and windy and foggy but still the view from the tower is amazing! and I managed to snap some quick panoramic photos with my new baby-toy from Marek - the awesome and very friendly Samsung Galaxy S4. True it will not replace my love for cameras and lenses but it does come in handy for short trips ;) and I recommend it with all my heart, especially when it comes to panoramic pictures ;) So stay put and check out the pictures below. The regular ones are done with the camera, no filter, and you will of course bump into the panoramic ones at the end. Still shaky a bit, as these actually are my first panoramas, but I will learn more :)
Jasna Gora
The motto of the city is: Jasne, że Częstochowa (Częstochowa it's clear). The name of Częstochowa means Częstoch's place and comes from a personal name of Częstoch mentioned in the medieval documents also as Częstobor and Częstomir.Variations of the name include Czanstochowa used in 1220, and Częstochow used in 1382 and 1558. 
A part of today's city called Częstochówka was a separate municipality mentioned in the 14th century as the Old Częstochowa (Antiquo Czanstochowa, 1382) and Częstochówka in 1470-80. The city was also known in German as Tschenstochau and in Russian as Ченстохов (Chenstokhov).
According to archaeological findings, the first Slavic settlement in the location of Częstochowa was established in the late 11th century. It was first mentioned in historical documents from 1220, when Bishop of Kraków Iwo Odrowąż made a list of properties of the Mstów monastery. Two villages, Częstochowa and Częstochówka were mentioned in the document. Both of them belonged to the basic territorial unit of Slavic tribes (opole), with its capital at Mstów.
Częstochówka was located on a hill on which the Jasna Góra Monastery was later built. In the late 13th century Częstochowa became the seat of a Roman Catholic parish church, which was subjected to the Lelów deanery. The village was located in northwestern corner of Kraków Land, Lesser Poland, near the Royal Castle at Olsztyn. Częstochowa lay along a busy merchant road from Lesser Poland to Greater Poland. 
The village was ruled by a starosta, who stayed at the Olsztyn Castle. It is not known when Częstochowa was granted town charter, as no documents have been preserved. It happened some time between 1356 - 1377. In 1502, King Alexander Jagiellon granted a new charter, based on Magdeburg rights to Częstochowa. 
In 1382 the Paulist monastery of Jasna Góra was founded by Vladislaus II of Opole - the Polish Piast prince of Upper Silesia. Two years later the monastery received its famous Black Madonna icon of the Virgin Mary and in subsequent years became a centre of pilgrimage, contributing to the growth of the adjacent town.
Huge posters depicting the late Pope John Paul 2nd are posted on the wall of the monastery
Częstochowa prospered in the late 15th and early 16th centuries, due to efforts of Sigismund I the Old, the future king of Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth. At that time, Sigismund ruled the Duchy of Głogów, and frequently visited Częstochowa on his way to the Duchies of Silesia (1498, 1502, 1502, 1503, 1505, 1505, 1506). 
In 1504, Częstochowa was granted the right to collect tolls on the Warta river bridge. In 1508, Częstochowa was allowed to organize one fair a year; in 1564, the number of fairs was increased to three annually, and in 1639 to six. In the year 1631, Częstochowa had 399 houses, but at the same time, several residents died in a plague, after which 78 houses were abandoned.
In the first half of the 17th century, kings of the House of Vasa turned the Jasna Góra Monastery into a modern Dutch-style fortress, which was one of the pockets of Polish resistance against the Swedish armies during Swedish invasion of Poland in 1655
The town of Częstochowa itself was almost completely destroyed by Swedish soldiers. It has been estimated that the town lost 50% of population, and 60% of houses. Nevertheless, the destruction was less severe than at other towns in the area (Przyrów, Olsztyn and Mstów). It took several years for Częstochowa to recover from extensive losses. 
As late as in the 1680s there still were ruined houses in the town. At the same time, the Jasna Góra Monastery prospered. On February 27, 1670, the wedding of king Michał Korybut Wiśniowiecki with princess Eleanor of Austria took place here.
Furthermore, in 1682 the celebration of 300 anniversary of the Black Madonna of Częstochowa brought thousands of pilgrims from both Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth and Silesia. The Jewish community in Częstochowa came into existence by about 1700.
During the Great Northern War, Częstochowa was captured by Swedish army on August 11, 1702. In February 1703 Swedes besieged the monastery, but failed to seize it. In April 1705 the Swedes returned, and appeared at the monastery again in September 1709. Unable to capture the fortified stronghold, they looted villages in the area, set Częstochowa on fire and left towards Wieluń. At that time, a village of Częstochówk also existed next to Częstochowa. 
The village belonged to the monastery and quickly developed. In 1717 it was granted town charter, and its name was changed into Nowa Częstochowa (New Częstochowa). The town was completely destroyed during the Bar Confederation. On February 8, 1769, the monastery was seized by rebels of the Bar Confederation, commanded by Kazimierz Pułaski. Soon the stronghold was besieged by Russians under German-born General Johann von Drewitz. The Russians gave up on January 15, 1771.
In the Polish Defensive War of 1939, Częstochowa was defended by the 7th Infantry Division, part of northern wing of Kraków Army. After the Battle of Mokra and other battles, Polish forces withdrew, and the Wehrmacht entered the city on Sunday, September 3, 1939. Częstochowa was renamed into Tschenstochau, and incorporated into the General Government.
Monday, September 4, 1939, became known as Bloody Monday, when 227 people (205 ethnic Poles and 22 Jews) were killed by the Germans (some estimates of victims put the number at more than 1,000; 990 ethnic Poles and 110 Jews). German occupiers from the very beginning initiated a plan of cultural and physical extermination of the Polish nation.
Finished the panoramas, now Marek can take the lead :)
Częstochowa was a city county (Stadkreis Tschenstochau), part of Radom District of the General Government. The city was located near the border with Upper Silesia Province, and in its area operated units of the Home Army and National Armed Forces (NSZ). On April 20, 1943, a NZS unit attacked local office of the Bank Emisyjny w Polsce.
After the collapse of the Warsaw Uprising, Częstochowa briefly was the capital of the Polish Underground State. In the autumn 1944, Germans fortified the city, preparing for a lengthy defence. On January 16, 1945, however, the Wehrmacht retreated after one day of fighting.
On April 9, 1941, a ghetto for Jews was created. During World War II approximately 45,000 of Częstochowa's Jews, almost the entire Jewish community living here, were killed by the Germans. 
Life in Nazi-occupied Częstochowa is depicted in the Pulitzer Prize-winning graphic novel Maus, by Art Spiegelman, the son of a Jewish Częstochowa resident. Before the Holocaust, Częstochowa was considered a great Jewish center in Poland. By the end of WWII, the town was essentially Judenrein.
Due to the communist idea of fast industrialisation, the inefficient steel mill was significantly expanded and named after Bolesław Bierut. This, combined with the growing tourist movement, led to yet another period of fast city growth, concluded in 1975 with the creation of a separate Częstochowa Voivodeship.
In the immediate post-war period, Częstochowa belonged to Kielce Voivodeship (1945–1950), and then the city was transferred to Katowice Voivodeship. In the People's Republic of Poland, Częstochowa emerged not only as an industrial, but also academic center of the region.
The city expanded, with first tram lines opened in 1959. On January 1, 1977, several villages and settlements were annexed by Częstochowa. As a result, the area of the city expanded from 90 to 160 square kilometres (35 to 62 sq mi).
In modern times, Pope John Paul II, a native son of Poland, prayed before the Madonna during his historic visit in 1979, several months after his election to the Chair of Peter. The Pope made another visit to Our Lady of Częstochowa in 1983 and again in 1987, 1991, 1997 and 1999. On August 15, 1991, John Paul II was named Honorary Citizen of Czestochowa. On May 26, 2006, the city was visited by Pope Benedict XVI.
A View From The Tower
Currently the city is one of the main tourist attractions of the area and is sometimes called the little Nuremberg because of the number of souvenir shops. It attracts millions (4.5 mln - 2005) of tourists and pilgrims every year. The Black Madonna of Częstochowa, housed at the Jasna Góra Monastery, is a particularly popular attraction.
Throughout the centuries, many buildings have been erected, most of them now have status of tourist attractions and historical monuments since Częstochowa was established already in the Middle Ages. Among those attractions are old townhouses and the urban core of the city centre. The most popular with religious tourism as mentioned above is the Jasna Góra Monastery.
There are typically numerous pilgrims and tourists at Jasna Góra Monastery, and the volume of excited voices can be high. However, upon entering the Monastery, it is expected etiquette for visitors to be silent or as quiet as possible out of respect.
Often, there is a long line of people who wait to approach the shrine of Our Lady. Upon arriving at the location of the shrine where one would pass in front of the icon of Our Lady, it is expected and a sign of respect for pilgrims to drop to their knees, and traverse the anterior of the shrine on their knees.
DISCLAIMER: Please be advised that all text and information concerning the historical dates and facts were taken from Wikipedia but can also be found in the Jasna Góra Monastery museum, which is quite extensive and should be visited if ever you are in the area. 
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As a downside, you will not be able to take pictures or record anything but you will be able to see pieces that not even the Wawel Castles treasury does not hold! Not to mention the entrance was for free and we spent around 2-3 hours in the monastery :) If you are with kids, they may get bored as they would not be allowed to touch anything, but if you are into history, I recommend it with all my heart!

P.S. If you manage to get to Jasna Góra Monastery make sure you see: the Black Madonna, the museums inside the monastery, the small crypts, take a tour of the monastery and see the 12 stops of the cross (you will pass by the canons and by the stand where the Pope blessed the people) and make sure you save the best for last - the view from the tower! Take a deep breath and climb those stairs! and once done, enjoy the view, even if it is windy :) trust me, if you did the Koln Cathedral this tower will be a piece of cake ;)

Yours truly,
The Twisted Red LadyBug Who Loves Towers :)
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