Every year, Częstochowa (chen-sto-ho-vah) attracts four to five million visitors from 80 countries, who come to fall at the feet of the Black Madonna. Some walk for 20 days over hundreds of kilometres with offerings for the Virgin. Others take a bus from Kraków.
Poland’s spiritual heartland is not just for the faithful. The Monastery of Jasna Góra is the country’s national shrine and one of the highlights of the region. Since an influx of resources from the EU, renovations are working their way up the main thoroughfare towards the monastery, adding new pride to ancient reverence.
During pilgrimage times – particularly the day of Assumption on 15 August – hordes of devotees become a main attraction for people-watchers, and a deterrent for crowd-weary wanderers.