Wadowice

Wadowice, 30 miles southwest of Krakow is best known as the birthplace of Karol Wojtyla who became Pope John Paul II in 1978. Today Wadowice attracts tens of thousands of visitors to see the house in which he was born and raised until leaving to study at the Jagiellonian University in Krakow at the age of 18.

The greatest lure for visitors to Wadowice is 7 Koscielna Street, the house in which the former Vatican chief spent his childhood years. It has since been converted into a museum exhibiting the family´s former possessions. But it is the Pope´s room that gets the most attention as it gives you the greatest insight into the activities he enjoyed as a boy. He was known to be something of a poet and a rucksack, boot and skis also suggests he enjoyed venturing out into the nearby mountains to enjoy the alpine air.

Populated by some 20,000 people, Wadowice is only a small, but is a happy and lively place. Nestled in the foothills of the Beskidy Mountains and sliced by the Skawa River, Wadowice is surrounded by pleasant scenery and visitors are invited to follow in the footsteps of its favourite son and go hiking in the countryside and snowing in winter.

Other places of interest in Wadowice are the neo-gothic Calemite monastery where Karol Wojtyla frequented as a child and returned as Pope John Paul returned to canonize St. Raphael Kalinowski in 1991. An even more important site is perhaps the 15th century Gothic church in which the future Pope was baptized as a baby and later served as an altar boy.