The Lichen Basilica

Looking at the picture below, and having no idea what premises these are exactly, one would say … yet another church or basilica. Quite a big one. Indeed it is one of the largest European churches quite close or even within the European top ten as per size. For people, who travel Europe accustomed to the huge and splendid cathedrals, it is nothing unusual. Yet another one. Let us visit it.


Basilica of Our Lady of Sorrows, Poland, the front view

This would however not be that easy as it looks like. This huge basilica is located among fields and nature with only small villages surrounding it. The closest city, not even on a tourist itinerary is located around twenty miles away. The other interesting fact is that it is practically brand new. The construction works ended just 2004.

The basilica is officially called Basilica of Our Lady of Sorrows, Queen of Poland. It is located in a village Old Lichen in central Poland. It was build quite close to a place where people had visions of Mother Mary in the XIX century. A short explanation for non-European readers: Mother Mary was the mother of Jesus Christ, central figure of the Catholic religion. In Poland, that besides Ireland and some southern European countries is told to be the major Catholic nation in Europe, many pilgrims visit spots where she appeared to people with a message.

The basilica is subject to some controversy in Poland. It is one of at least three major sacral objects constructed present-day in the country. The projects consume ten of millions of Euro, what in the country with dropping down churchgoing rates is by many considered as squandering. Contrary to other projects, this one was however financed by private means. So no issue here. The names of donors are displayed on walls at the basilica ground level. These are thousands but thousands of people.

The other controversy is about its architectural style. For some reason, many people are of the opinion that new sacral objects should be designed modern way, with interesting concept and be of minimalist style. The building materials should be natural and qualitative. If classic in style, there should be no place for opulence. The Lichen basilica is none of these. It imitates traditional opulent design simultaneously having the style of its own.

As I had the opportunity to do so, I decided to visit this place to make my own opinion of the Basilica. Below some photo impressions. I made the photos in the early afternoon on a working day, a cold autumn day. The interior was almost empty.


The front look onto the altar


The side look. The right hand side of the photo above.


The front look yet again, this time vertically to show the dome located just in front of the main altar. To comprehend the dimensions look at the man kneeing there. Continue reading

Enjoying Villa Nova


Sometimes making photos may be pure fun as it was for me on a late Summer afternoon in Villa Nova (Warsaw, July 2017)

Villa Nova or in Polish Wilanow is one of Warsaw quarters, originally a village where John III Sobieski (the one who commandeered the battle of Vienna >>>) build his summer residence. The palace with an extensive park, rebuilt and reconstructed after the war struggles is still the very centre of this part of the city.  It is told to be a nobility house, an Italian garden villa and a French palace in the style of Louis XIV all in one.

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The Chopin afternoon in Warsaw

While traveling or simple spending time somewhere, it is sometimes those simple things often unexpected at all that make the difference.

Totally unplanned, while in Warsaw (Poland) heading to one of the royal palaces midst the city centre I found myself getting of an express bus as other people did. Just so. As a courtesy for an elderly lady the driver opened the doors at a stop not in his itinerary. Ultimately, I  did not reach the royal palace. As I got out, I heard it, the piano music all around. No idea how I made it, but I have simply forgotten that if on a Summer Sunday in Warsaw and in the city centre, this is the must-be place. For the next hour or so I found myself lying on a grass and listening to a piano concert. Simply catching the momentum.

The music was by Frederic Chopin (1810-1849), the most distinctive Polish composer and artist ever. He is famous for his solo piano concerts. The music is one of the kind.


Frederic Chopin statue in Warsaw Lazienki park.

If I had to make a list of must-do things, while in Poland, going to a Chopin piano concert would be on it. The easiest way to do so is indeed in Summer in Warsaw, as each Sunday there are two open air concerts in the Lazienki park open for everybody. You come in, sit down wherever you want, and listen to music. Continue reading