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Tuesday, 9 December 2014

13th Most Populous City In Poland

Dear sweet friends,

There are a few magical places around Krakow. Places that inspire people, places that make lads/lasses travel hundreds of kilometers by foot in a pilgrimage on an annual basis. One such place is Czestochowa,  located some 140 kilometers from Krakow. The monastery of Jasna Gora in Czestochowa is the 3rd largest Catholic pilgrimage site in the world! According to folk legends/tradition, the icon that all the people come to see - the Black Madonna - was painted by Luke the evangelist on a tabletop built by Jesus himself. 
Now I will tell you more about the magical monastery in another post. I tool so many pictures it is hard for me to settle down on just a few of them. Not to mention a few panoramic pictures with new toy - the Samsung Galaxy S4 - given by my awesome husband :) for today I will only share with you some street art pieces that we found on our way back to the bus station. 
Czestochowa is situated in southern Poland, on the Warta River and its confluents, the Konopka and Stradomka Rivers. In terms of administrative divisions, it belongs to the Silesian province, being its second city after Katowice, but geographically Czestochowa belongs to the Krakowsko-Czestochowska Upland, the lovely region spreading between the two cities. The average height of the upland is 350-450 m above sea level.
Statue of a local writer. I believe Marek told me she wrote poems...
Its main attraction is the Eagles' Nests Trail, the string of castles built on top of the nearby Jurassic rocks and hills, known as Olsztyn, Ogrodzieniec, Ojcow and Pieskowa Skala. They once formed a line of fortifications together with Jasna Gora in Czestochowa, which was once a defensive point. If you visit the trail, you may also like to check out Bobolice Castle as well ;)
Tower of Babel
October 10, 2014 - Symbolically unveiled in Czestochowa "Tower of Babel" - monumental mural design by Thomas Sętowskiego. Mural is placed on the facade of the building at ul. Dabrowski 1, adjacent to Avenue of the Virgin Mary and the square Biegański. During the ceremony, the project was unveiled by the artists in the company of the President of Czestochowa Krzysztof Matyjaszczyk. The team of young artists who - under the leadership of Tom Sętowski - performed a mural from the end of August was former out of: Nicholas Sętowski, Mark Laskowski, Philip Krzyształowskiego and Tadeusz Kiedrzynka.
Town Hall
We did not spend the whole day in Czestochowa, but just a few hours. We took the early bus from Krakow to Czestochowa. That takes you roughly around 2 hours and it is fast and comfortable. Way better than taking a train - with the train you would have to switch in Katowice and it would be double the price. As it was, on the 15th of November, a one-way bus ticket regular price was 18 zloty. You need to plan your trip carefully. Marek told me this place gets crowded during celebrations, pilgrimage and especially in the summertime. We went out of season so it was quite a ghost town. We did not have much sun but there was plenty of fog in the morning and wind in the afternoon. We got to see a few pieces of street-art on our way from the Monastery to the train/bus station.
We passed by the Tower of Babel mural and a couple of street-art statues - a cute little lady with pidgeons, a local poem writer... We also saw the Town Hall and payed our respects to the statue of Józef Klemens Piłsudski. He was a Polish statesman; Chief of State (1918–22), "First Marshal of Poland" (from 1920), and de facto leader (1926–35) of the Second Polish Republic, Minister of Military Affairs. From mid-World War I he had a major influence in Poland's politics, and was an important figure on the European political scene. He was the person most responsible for the creation of the Second Republic of Poland in 1918, 123 years after it had been taken over by Russia, Austria and Prussia. Under Piłsudski, Poland annexed Vilnius from Lithuania following Żeligowski's Mutiny but was unable to incorporate most of his Lithuanian homeland into the newly resurrected Polish State. He believed in a multicultural Poland with recognition of numerous ethnic and religious nationalities.
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Now I really recommend you to go visit Czestochowa even if for only half a day. We spent around 3 hours roaming around and about the Monastery, we climbed the tower and took panoramic pictures, we enjoyed the view and had our heart racing with all the steps up, we saw the Black Madonna and all the miracles that she did, we saw the Tower of Babel and went home with a smile upon our faces. We wish to go again, but this time we want to prepare ourselves and see what else Czestochowa can offer us. This was just an impromptu trip :) Wait for the Monastery post, it will come soon ;)

Yours truly,
A LadyBug That Liked Czestochowa