Góra Kalwaria

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Góra Kalwaria
Catholic Church of the Immaculate Conception
Catholic Church of the Immaculate Conception
Flag of Góra Kalwaria
Coat of arms of Góra Kalwaria
Coat of arms
Góra Kalwaria is located in Masovian Voivodeship
Góra Kalwaria
Góra Kalwaria
Góra Kalwaria is located in Poland
Góra Kalwaria
Góra Kalwaria
Coordinates: 51°58′24″N 21°12′52″E / 51.97333°N 21.21444°E / 51.97333; 21.21444Coordinates: 51°58′24″N 21°12′52″E / 51.97333°N 21.21444°E / 51.97333; 21.21444
Country Poland
Voivodeship Masovian
GminaGóra Kalwaria
Established13th century
Town rights1670
 • MayorArkadiusz Strzyżewski
 • Total13.72 km2 (5.30 sq mi)
 • Total12,109
 • Density880/km2 (2,300/sq mi)
Time zoneUTC+1 (CET)
 • Summer (DST)UTC+2 (CEST)
Postal code
Area code(s)+48 22
Car platesWPI

Góra Kalwaria (pronounced Goo-rah Calvaria [ˈgura kalˈvarʲa]Calvary Mountain) is a town on the Vistula River in the Masovian Voivodeship, in east-central Poland. It is situated approximately 35 kilometres (22 miles) southeast of Warsaw and has a population of around 12,109 (as of 2019).[1] The town has strong religious significance for both Catholic Christians and Hasidic Jews of the Ger dynasty.


Historic town hall

The village of Góra already existed in the 13th century. Completely destroyed during a Swedish occupation known as the Deluge, in 1666, it became the property of Stefan Wierzbowski, Bishop of Poznań, who decided to found a new town on the ruins. His plan was to build a calvary — a religious center dedicated to passion plays and services, which was popular in the early modern Poland. He was encouraged by the fact that the local landscape resembled that of the Holy Land.

In 1670, the town was renamed Nowa Jerozolima, granted city rights and construction work kicked off. The urban design was based on medieval maps of Jerusalem, and the street grid formed a Latin cross. The bishop invited Dominican, Bernardine and Piarist orders to settle in the town, which soon became dotted with monasteries, churches, chapels and passion paths (such as stations of the Cross). The town was supposed to be a purely Christian one and Jews were not allowed to settle there.

After Bishop Wierzbowski's death the decline of the town began. Many churches and chapels were pulled down, and in the years 1883–1919 the town was deprived of city rights.

In the early 19th century, the ban on Jewish settlement was lifted and Jews shortly became the predominant group in the town. Góra Kalwaria then became one of the major centers of Hasidic Judaism and home to the Ger dynasty. During the Holocaust, the Jewish population of the town was first concentrated in a small ghetto. In 1942, it was transferred to the Warsaw Ghetto and from there to the Treblinka extermination camp.


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