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Kalwaria Zebrzydowska: the Mannierist Architectural and Park Landscape Complex and Pilgrimage Park - Zabytek.pl

Kalwaria Zebrzydowska: the Mannierist Architectural and Park Landscape Complex and Pilgrimage Park

World Heritage Kalwaria Zebrzydowska

Kalwaria Zebrzydowska, Bernardyńska 46

woj. małopolskie, pow. wadowicki, gm. Kalwaria Zebrzydowska-miasto

The Mannerist Architectural and Park Landscape Complex and Pilgrimage Park in Kalwaria Zebrzydowska is a cultural landscape which remains an outstanding reflection of the European ideal of a Counter-Reformation era calvary, which had a major impact on the development of the pilgrimage movement.

The Calvary, which forms a perfect illustration of the religious beliefs and culture of the early 17th century, was the first complex of its kind in the country and served as a source of inspiration for subsequent projects. Its original design solutions remain unique on a European scale, as does its remarkable unity with the surrounding landscape as well as the unbroken liturgical traditions reaching back many centuries, the latter forming a crucial part of the site’s intangible heritage.

The complex, containing ideological references to the Passion of Christ and the life of the Virgin Mary, was erected in the first half of the 17th century, at the initiative of Mikołaj Zebrzydowski, the voivode of Kraków and the starost of Lanckorona. A 1604 map of the complex covers a site with a surface area of approximately 380 hectares. The author of the project, the eminent mathematician, astronomer and land surveyor Feliks Żebrowski, has recreated the copy of landscape of Jerusalem from the times of Jesus Christ on the basis of the work of Adrian Cruys, also known as Adrichomius (written in 1584) as well as on his own system of measurements. Furthermore, he has also skillfully incorporated this landscape into the existing natural surroundings. The names of individual components of the site topography, such as Kidron Valley, Mount of Olives or Golgotha, were also a reference to the Biblical city of Jerusalem. The distinguishing features of the entire complex are the exceptional vistas of both the park itself, the city of Kraków and the nearby Tatra Mountains. The complex itself is a quintessential Mannerist design, combining the characteristics of the parks and gardens of the Italian Renaissance and the French Baroque with informality and irregular arrangements. View corridors, a distinguishing feature of Mannerist design, are also used extensively throughout the complex.

The main architectural features of the complex - most of them built in years 1605-1632 - are located at the edges thereof, interconnected with picturesque footpaths and tree avenues. The most important of those structures are the basilica, a number of churches and a dozen-odd shrines. A group of 14 of the oldest shrines deserve a particular mention due to their exceptional artistic quality; designed by Paweł Baudarth, they bear all the hallmarks of the Mannerist style.

The cultural landscape of Kalwaria Zebrzydowska has retained its original shape, with the architectural form of buildings and other structures also having been preserved intact. The complex continues to serve as a place of worship and a pilgrimage destination. For more than 400 years, the celebrations of the mysteries of the Way of the Cross and the Burial of the Virgin Mary have been held here, attended by thousands of worshippers.

Kalwaria Zebrzydowska: the Mannerist Architectural and Park Landscape Complex and Pilgrimage Park was included on the World Heritage List in 1999 during the 23rd session of the World Heritage Committee in Marrakesh (dec. CONF 209 VIII.C.1).

Entry made on the basis of criteria II and IV:

Criterion (II):

Kalwaria Zebrzydowska is an exceptional cultural monument in which the natural landscape was used as the setting for a symbolic representation (in the form of chapels and paths) of the events of the Passion of Christ. The result is a cultural landscape of great beauty and spiritual quality in which natural and man-made elements combine in a harmonious manner.

Criterion (IV):

The Counter-Reformation of the late 16th century led to a flowering in the creation of Calvaries in Europe. Kalwaria Zebrzydowska is an outstanding example of this type of large-scale landscape design, which incorporates natural beauty with spiritual objectives and the principles of Baroque park design.

The property is accessible to visitors.

Compiled on the basis of materials of the National Heritage Board of Poland 30-11-2015

Category: cultural

Building material:  kamienne

Protection: UNESCO World Heritage

Inspire id: PL.1.9.ZIPOZ.NID_N_12_UN.31