The shrine to the Black Madonna in Jasna Gora Monastery, attracting more than four million visitors a year, symbolizes the Poles’ determination to preserve their heritage.The painting of the Black Madonna has been the subject of miracles including bleeding after being struck with a sword during a Hussite attack in 1430.He decreed that only those educated in Armagh were fit to spread the gospel, so numerous educational institutions were founded. More than 100,000 religious tourists visit annually to see the statue of the Black Madonna in the abbey’s lavishly decorated Baroque church.The seat of both Protestant and Catholic archbishops, Armagh is the most venerated of Irish cities. Also on visitors’ agendas are Diorama Bethlehem, regarded as the world’s largest nativity display with 450 hand-carved figures, and Panorama Crucifixion of Christ, a giant circular painting.Reformation-related sites are located in Eisenach, Erfurt, Lutherstadt Eisleben and Lutherstadt Wittenberg.Luther spent the majority of his life in Wittenberg, the site of the Schlosskirche (Castle Church), where in 1517 he nailed his 95 Theses, or demands for reform, on its doors. Poland has a Christian history more than 1,000 years old, and during that time the city of Czestochowa has gone through periods of enemy invasions and occupation.The town, about 25 miles southeast of Zurich, is close to many scenic hiking trails in the Swiss Alps.Geneva and Zurich have sites associated John Calvin and Ulrich Zwingli, Swiss leaders of the Reformation.
The stream unearthed by Bernadette Soubirous in 1858 is believed to have special properties that heal the ailments of sick people.As history tells it, a child drowned in a nearby river in 1489 and his mother took his body to the altar at the foot of a wooden statue of the Black Madonna.