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Cistercian Monastery Complex in Szczyrzyc

The monastery complex in Szczyrzyc is the only continuously existing Cistercian monastery on Polish soil. The history of the abbey goes 750 years back. It was founded in 1234 by the governor of Kraków, Teodor Gryfita. He gave some land properties in the sub-Tatra region to Cistercians of Jędrzejów to colonise them. It is not known why the monks of the abbey moved it from Ludźmierz to Szczyrzyc. Probably, it had to do with frequent attacks of Tatars and thieves in the area.

Cistercians from Ludźmierz and Szczyrzyc founded Nowy Targ, built a fortified castle in Szaflary, turned wilderness into cultivated fields, regulated the courses of rivers, built bridges, and also educated young people in crafts, especially those connected with agriculture.

During the partitions, Cistercians of Szczyrzyc lost their land, and admissions to the novitiate were prohibited, but they were allowed to start a four-grade elementary school for children from rural areas. Władysław Orkan was one of its pupils.

During the Nazi occupation, many refugees from various parts of Poland found shelter in the abbey. They also taught in secret, which in 1945 turned into the Private Cistercian Middle School in Szczyrzyc, closed by the authorities in 1955.

After the political changes in Poland, the Cistercians bought back some parts of the land, intending to continue their agrarian tradition. For their bravery, during the Second World War, the abbey in Szczyrzyc was awarded the Virtuti Militari Cross.

Belonging to the abbey Church of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary was built in 1620 and consecrated in 1642. On the main altar, there is an image of the Virgin Mary the Benign. The painting dates back to the sixteenth century and underwent renovation in 2006. Currently, it is blocked from view by a painting of Our Lady of the Assumption hanging on the altar. In the temple there are also Baroque altars, Rococo confessionals, a pulpit and a historic Renaissance baptismal font.

The monastery has an internal square patio surrounded by arcades and galleries. Among the buildings of the monastery there is also a granary of the seventeenth century and a brewery. In the granary building there is a museum with collections of sacral art and military exhibits.


Opactwo OO.Cystersów
34-623 Szczyrzyc 1