If you are Polish you know what is Czestochowa. If you are Polish you are likely Catholic. If you are Catholic you know where is the sanctuary in your country situated – in Czestochowa.
In church the cultural shock happened to me when I noticed visitors going round the altar during mass. I also did it – on knees – people before me bended on knees, and not knowing traditions I repeated. Around 25 m on knees – it’s really hard. After I found people going freely on foot around alter. So it depends on your wish. In Ukraine in orthodox churches it is not allowed to be behind alter unless you are a priest.
Jasna Góra has tall bell-tower. You can visit it going upstairs. From balcony you will find good view to the city and neighborhood.
In the territory you can find 3 museums: small, mostly with exhibitions of treasury, arms.
Pleasant surprise: museums, entrance to bell-tower, toilets are free of charge. On me question in Tourist Information Center “Is it for free?” was the answer “No, we expect for donation.”
In general because of constant excursions (guides with microphone), crowds of people, Jasna Góra didn’t create for me impression as spiritual place. I’m sorry.
Apart from Jasna Góra Czestochowa has a lot of churches. I was inside at least at 3, saw at least 5. If you are first time in Poland or first time you see Catholic church – it is worth to visit. But if not – no. Outside it is a beauty, as usual: large size, gothic architecture. But inside they look surprisingly poor: white walls, no special stained-glass windows, nothing remarkable.
NON-RELIGION IN CZESTOCHOWA
I determine my function as to show what is interesting in Częstochowa apart from religion.
Whole city center is marked with signs with names of street and sights. All signs made in one style; this grants a style to the city. Big stands with map of city center are easily to find on streets. Also system of navigation of public transport. Till now I didn’t met in Poland such high level of tourist infrastructure.
Boxes with free Internet and Skype.
Can you imagine?! Boxes with free Internet and Skype on the street. Also with map of the city, history, weather forecast, photos. Look like boxes with telephone. Before I found free internet in Tourist information centers in different places, for sure I traveled little in my life, but nowhere I had found free internet on street – not only for tourists, but for locals also. It’s first stage of future’s fundamental human right – access to internet.
Lady in City Information center told that city has around 50 boxes.
Going to some place, meeting with local people is usually a part of trip which tourist skip. Not guides, waitresses, shop-assistants, but simple people on streets.
I cognized that Częstochowa city is territorially and mentally divided into 2 parts by railway. People in first (touristic) part don’t care about you – you are tourist, as thousands of others, with cameras, guides and so on. It’s modern, ordered part.
In second part architecture is the same, but people are different. Three times men (30-55 years) were talking to me without any visible interest from my side and even tried to touch. I was walking and people looked straightly at me. I didn’t understand why: I have European face, I wear average clothes. In shop in mirror I found the answer – I have photo camera on my belly.
I called this “Syndrome of touristic city”. Statement of locals:
“We, local people, know that our city has attraction for tourists. We aware that city earns money on this. You, tourists, have your touristic part of city where you can behave yourself whatever you want. But this is our part of city, and we are the masters here. We want to feel themselves like at home here, but not like in this touristic farce. So don’t go to my courtyard with your camera”.
I feel this very well. I come from touristic city.
Museum of Częstochowa. Gallery of Art and Sculpture of the 19th and 20th century
I met very well English speaking, intelligent seller of tickets in elegant suit. Look of this worker doesn’t correlate with emptiness of museum. In fact it was my first museum in Silesia and I was surprised that in Poland men are working in museums. In Ukraine – only women (work of museum worker is paid badly).
Seller asked if I am a student, I shown him my European Youth Card, and he sold me ticket at student price – 4 PLN. He added that with this ticket today I can visit 2 more departments of Museum of Częstochowa.
I was the only visitor in museum. I heard creaking of parquet of each my step. The lady followed me everywhere, opened and closed doors, turn on and off light. I had mixed emotion of shame and feeling that I’m queen.
Lady gave me brochure in English about history of museum which I had to give back in the end of tour. On my question: “What this building was before?” lady frightened and answered “I don’t know”, after several seconds of puzzlement she shown me page in brochure, where I could read it. English scares people.
Summarizing, this museum is one of more, more the same museums in all cities. I’m not judge of art, I found nothing interesting in exhibition.
Polish language web-site of museum can offer you a lot of information, in particular about other departments, situatted in different places of city.
The way to museum.
Museum of matches
Museum of matches is a disaster!
If you need my advice about the only place in Częstochowa is worth to visit– please, visit this Museum of matches. You need to visit it to feel these unforgettable emotions:
- To call to the door and wait 1 min to open it.
- To meet old strange man with smell of cigarettes who looks at you with not hidden wonderment “Ah, museum!” as if here last visitor was person who hammered sign with Information about fellowship of museum in Industrial Route in Silesia.
- To go through passage with smell of old production building and interior of Soviet room: posters, curtains, walls with fallen pieces of paint, clothes on hooks. Interior is not a museum exhibit – it’s real life. Welcome to USSR.
- To see machines of production of matches. The plant stopped work only 2 years ago but here is impression that this place doesn’t operates at least 20 years. Also here is impression that one day some director told: “Now factory stops working”, and workers left the same minute, and nobody even cleaned all mess.
- To follow a man being in rush, conducting miserable excursion in Polish. To think that he was so surprised of your appearance that forgot to take money from you for entrance ticket.
- To be invited to the office room (with tables, computers, printers, cupboards, papers) with sign something like “Financial department” to sit on chair and watch on computer 2 short movies: white-and-black about fire at factory and one about production process.
- To find great collection of matches boxes from all over the world.
- Finally to pay 10 PLN for ticket.
Remember: It’s not a museum – it’s an industrial museum.
Museum of matches is the part of Industrial Monuments Route – network of industrial tourist sights- as for me, the biggest attraction of Silesia region – something really unique in Poland.
Not useful web-site of museum of matches. Useful page on web-site of Industrial Monuments Route.
How to get to museum.
The Avenue of Our Lady
The main street, which leads you from busy city center to Jasna Góra. For me this avenue is a notable urban solution: here road for pedestrians is wider than roads for cars. You can take pleasant walk under linden or sit at one of plenty benches.