When in Cracow, make sure you do not miss the chance to visit a thousand year old monastery in Tyniec, which has been with us almost since the beginning of Polish statehood.
The Benedictine Abbey in Tyniec was set up in 1044 on a hill by the Vistula river, in a picturesque area no more than fifteen kilometres South-West from Cracow. As it used to be located near the border, it used to serve as a stronghold for centuries. Due to that unfortunate fact, parts of the monastery were teared down and rebuilt numerous times. Between 1618 and 1622, the Gothic church that had been a part of the complex was remodelled in a baroque manner and it retains that shape to this day.
After a couple of havocs more, in 1816, the abbacy in Tyniec was abolished by Austrians, making the monastery a dwelling for the bishop, and a regular church a few years later. Finally, a fire started by a lightning consumed most of the buildings in 1831. Only the church was rebuilt after that. However, in 1939, thanks to the efforts of Belgian Benedictines, monks were reinstantiated to Tyniec after 123 years of absence, in order to rebuild the monastery, which was accomplished by 1947.
In 1968, the abbacy was finally reintroduced and the place has become a lively spiritual and cultural centre once again. Today, you can stay in the guest house, attend workshops in icon writing, calligraphy or literature, join the monks for the Liturgy of the Hours, go on a retreat, find inner peace and tranquility, or just relax. There is a museum, a restaurant, a café, a library, and a shop with various Benedictine products like food and cosmetics. The monks are doing their best to renew the place for its 1000 year jubilee in 2044, so new things spring up all the time. There are also many cycling and walking paths around the hill and the view are truly breathtaking. The monastery is open for everyone: pilgrims wishing to draw on the Benedictine spirituality, as well as tourists interested in the history and beauty of the place.