The Benedictine order has been around for quite a while – nearly 1000 years in fact – originally founded by Casimir the Restorer in 1044. They’ve lasted through centuries of foreign domination and suffered the relocation of Poland’s capital to Warsaw from Kraków, but managed to keep the Abbey functioning throughout most of their history. The era of Poland’s partition (1795-1918) was particularly daunting, and featured time periods where the monastic order largely abandoned their location. Ironically, it was in 1939 that the order rebounded for good in tandem with the Nazi invasion and annexation of most of Poland, including the Kraków region. As you can imagine, the monks believe it was due to divine intervention that they avoided the lethal wrath of the Nazi authorities during the years of German occupation and emerged relatively unscathed from the Second World War.
The order then thrived, even under forty years of a Communist regime that was clearly uncomfortable with - and occasionally threatened by - organised religion in general and the Roman Catholic Church in particular. The town of Tyniec was incorporated into the Krakow municipality in 1973, and is now just another distant (albeit uniquely charming) suburb. The city’s bus-lines and bike paths have now extended out to this ancient development, making it a cinch to get to. Rain or shine a half-day trip out to Tyniec is rewarding and is a surprisingly serene and charming setting just outside the heavily-touristed areas of Kraków. Even if you could find another place to hang out with amiable monks and snap scenic shots of Poland’s historic heartland, why would you skip this one?