The town is situated
in the valley of river Skawa, at the feet of Beskid Mały. Within
the town borders another river – Choszczenka (important for the
city’s development) flows into Skawa.
tourist trails lead from Wadowice to the surrounding peaks. More
about tourist possibilities is to be found further.
The etymology of the
name Wadowice is not clear. There are two hypothesis. The first
concerns a man named Wad – the founder if the place, his
children were called Wadowice. The second concerns the duke of
Oświęcim – Władysław, the suspected founder of Wadowice, who was
under strong Czech influence. The Czech diminutive of his name
is Wad or Wadec, so the initial name could be derivate from it.
about Wadowice come from church sources from the year 1325,
where the town is mentioned as Wadowic and belongs to the nearby
parish in Mucharz. In the following centuries Wadowice were a
part of parish in Wożniki.
A parish in Wadowice
was established in the year 1780 by the bishop of Kraków Kojetan
Important dates from
the town’s history:
24 Feb 1327 – Duke
of Oświecim pays homage to the Czech king John of Luxemburg. The
name Wadowicz is mention in the act.
1400 – in a written
German document the town Wadowice is mentioned as dowry of
Jadwiga wife of duke John II
10 Sep 1430 – after
a huge fire, duke Kazimiesz grants the town city rights
1496 – after a great
flood (river Skawa floods large part of Wadowice) duke Janusz
confirms the city rights
1802 – City throws
off its dependence from the nobility and becomes a royal fief.
1819 – District
authorities are being moved by the Austrian authorities from
Myslenice to Wadowice. Fast development of the town, new
institutions are established and new buildings constructed.
1866 – middle school
was established (the first such school in the area, its
graduates make the city famous around the world)
1876 – establishment
of a regional court (in a separate building since 1882)
01.06.1888 – The
first train comes to Wadowice
1896 – a hospital
1900 – A Carmelite
Monastery was built (the construction was supervised by St.
Rafał Kalinowski, who died in Wadowice and was buried in Czarna)
1909 – Wafer
production plan was built (MAFO) – today ZPC “Skawa”
1918 – Wadowice
return to Poland and become the seat of district authorities
01.09.1939 – after
the outbrak of WWII a border between the III Reich and the
General Governement was marked out on river Skawa
1975 – after the
administrative reform Wadowice are no longer the seat of local
government (until another reform in 1999)
16.10.1978 – Citizen
of Wadowice, graduate of middle school in Wadowice, bishop of
Kraków and cardina Karol Wojtyła was elected pope John Paul II.
1979, 1991, 1999 –
visits of John Paul II in Wadowice
What is worth seeing
1. The John Paul II
The John Paul II
Square is a popular square was planned during the location of
the town I 1430. After the fire in 1819 it changed it shape into
more irregular form as the buildings on the east side were
demolished. Once there was a town hall on the square *however it
is not sure). Very important is the fact that after the fire the
first brick buildings were constructed, the oldest come from the
first half of the XIX century and are located on the east and
west sides of the square. The most interesting structure is the
building of the magistrate (no 23) from the beginning of the XIX
The development of
the local government is dated back since the gaining of city
rights in 1430. The mayor and the town council gained in power.
In the XVI century the town had about 1000 inhabitants. In the
XVII century the town joined the Bar confederacy. The period of
partitions is the time of Austro-Hungarian rule. In 1793 emperor
Francisze II confirms all the privileges of the town. Since the
year 1819 the town enters a period of rapid development.
Parish church of the
Oblation of the Holiest Virgin Mary – the oldest monument in
Wadowice. The first brick church in this place was built in
1440. The present name the church has since 1756 (earlier it was
the All Saints’ church). In 1992 pope John Paul II granted the
church with the title of a minor basilica.
The church was
mostly destroyed by a fire in 1726 and it was rebuilt in the
years 1792-98. The new church had three aisles and a central
tower. The neo-baroque façade and tower were designed by an
architect from Kraków – Tomasz Pryliński.
The church is filled
with places relating John Paul II.
In the left aisle we
may found a baptismal font where Karol Wojtyła was baptized.
Next to it there is a sculpture of John Paul II and also a
plaque outside the church, describing the pope’s pontificate.
In the chapel of the
Heavenly Mother a painting, that was crowned by the pope during
his visit in Wadowice in 1999, is situated.
painting is in a church in Rome. The chronicles claim that one
of the last Piast descendents – Jadwiga was buried in the
The house on
One of the oldest
residential buildings in Wadowice. Built in classicistic style
at the turn of XVIII and XIX century. In the interwar period
family Banaś run a eatery here, where Karol Wojtyła and his
father used to eat.
building contains the Historical Collection of the Wadowice Land
and an exhibition devoted to American aviators called “Hell’s
Angels” (it’s a private collection of Zygmunt Kraus).
High School of
The building was
built in 1875 according to the project of T. Żebrowski in order
to locate there a newly established school (initially it had
only one floor and was expanded on the beginning of the XX
The school soon
became an important place for the history of Wadowice. Students
from this school published, at beginning of the XX century, a
magazine “Nasz Łan” and later “Lutnia Szkolna”. Karol Wojtyła
was one of the students from 1930 to 1938.
Many famous Poles
graduated from this high school, including: Adolf Graczyński,
Tadeusz Szantroch, archbishop Józef Bilczewski, generałowie: dr
Tadeusz Zapałowicz, dr Józef Zając, Walerian Czuma , Bruno
Olbrycht, artists: Emil Zegadłowicz, Stefan Essmanowski, Janina
Brzostowska, Gustaw Studnicki.
The statue of Emil
The statue, created
by Franciszek Sukanarowski was unveiled in the year 1968.
Initially it was the
town hall where the trials took place. The present courthouse
was built in the years 1880-1882 for the district court.
Simultaneously a lawyer company was established.
The building still
has its primal façade with attics above the entrance. The main
hall is about two stocks high and has an internal balcony.
Behind the building a small prison is situated, where for some
time Rudolf Hess, the commander of the Auschwitz camp was kept.
The structure was
built in the years 1897-1899 and is related with the person of
St. Rafał Kalinmowski. The church is neo-roman and has three
aisles. On the main altar a painting created by F. Bergmann. The
altar and the pulpit were designed in the workshop of master
Stuplesser in Tyrol. Many keepsakes of Rafał Kalinowski are to
be found in his cell. In the interwar period the church was used
as a garrison church for the 12th infantry regiment.
After purchasing the
terrain on the so called Górnica by the town council a town park
was planned there. The terrain was given to the new company,
called the Company of Beautifying the Town Wadowice and the
Surroundings. In 1913 a hostel was built and other
constructions, such like arbors soon followed. Many exotic trees
were planted in the park. Responsible for this task were
Wałdysław Kuzia and Antoni Drozdowski.
During the WW I the
park was expanded using the labor of Italian prisoners of war.
In 1934 water supply was built so a pond and a fountain could be
added to the park. Furthermore an electric lighting was
In 1979 the hostel
was given to the ZHP (Polish scout organization). The early
beginnings of the scout movement in Wadowice can be dated back
to 1911, when the first team was started. At the end of this
year the team counted 7 patrols and 80 members who participated
in the first scout gathering in England.
Opposite to the park
was the atelier of a sculptor Wincenty Bałys, who is
commemorated by a plaque on the wall of the building.
Saint Peter’s Church
The church was built
as a token of gratitude for electing Karol Wojtyła as the pope
and for miraculous saving him from the assassin on the Saint
Peter’s Square in 1981.
The construction was
started in 1984, in 1988 a cornerstone brought from the Saint
Peter’s Basilica was placed and in 1985 a new parish was
established there. The church was consecrated by the pope
himself on the 14th August 1994.
The church, built
with a substantial financial support of the parishioners, was
designed by Przemysław Szafer, Jacek Gyurkovich and Ewa
Węcławicz – Gyurkovich as a postmodern and symbolic
construction. Its particular elements refer to buildings in
Wadowice, Kraków and Rome and symbolize the path of Karol
Inside the church,
on the floor a mosaic showing contours of Saint Peter’s Square
with marked the site of the assassination attempt was placed.
In the back of the
church, on a hill a symbolic Golgotha was made public for the
statue of the pope made by Luciano Minguzzieg stays in the front
of the church.
The entrance to the
cemetery is a grand classicistic gate. The cemetery was planned
in 1822 and till then many deserving citizens of Wadowice were
buried there. Moving around the cemetery is easier after
studying a monograph by Gustaw Studnicki entitled “Cmentarz
After moving the
seat of the local government from Myślenice to Wadowice in 1819
the town became also the place wgere the 56th
infantry battalion stationed. A new barracks were built for the
purpose of this unit in 1822 (a square building with a vast
internal yard). Barracks for the cavalry were built on the
opposite side of the street. Most of the solders were Poles from
Wadowice and the surrounding districts. They fought and died on
almost every front of the First World War. 124 solders lie on
the cemetery number 123 in Łużna.
independence in 1918 the 12th infantry battalion
stationed here and after the Second World War it served as
quarters for the 18th infantry battalion from
Father of Karol
Wojtyła was a solder of the 12th infantry battalion
and after the war of the 18th infantry battalion.
After abandoning the
building by the army it was adopted by the Herbapol company.
Monument of the
solders of the 12th infantry battalion
On the 11th
November 1928 a monument of the solders from the 12th
infantry battalion was unveiled next to the barracks. The statue
was designed by Józef Jura. The statue was removed in 1939 and
in 1974 the rest of the monument was moved to the military
cemetery. In 1981 it was placed once again in the front of the
Monastery of the
Sisters of the Holy Family of Nazareth
The order of the
Sisters of the Holy Family of Nazareth began its
activity in Wadowice in 1894. The estate where the monastery is
located was purchased by
Lauretta Lubowidzka – mother
superior of the order. Sisters were famous for their charitable
and social activity.
A short history of
1897 – the
Congregation of the Charitable Sisters of St. Vincent a Paulo
was established (the first orphanage opened)
1905 - begins the
construction of the monastery (supervised by mother superior
Anastazja Gralewska and designed by Adam Kozłowski)
1910 – dormitory for
girls was opened
1913 – the new
chapel was consecrated
construction of the second floor (a Tailor Vocational School was
Source : http://www.wadowicki.iap.pl/
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