You find many Black Madonna’s spread across Europe – nobody really knows why this dark figure became famous in a continent where dark skinned people would be extremely rare during the middle ages. There are speculation the strange images might have their origin in pre-Christian pagan deities which might have been in cooperated in the new religion as a black Madonna with a kid.
You can find hundreds of these Black Madonna’s spread across the Catholic parts of Europe with a couple of hundreds found just in the south of France. One of the most famous of the Black Madonna’s is found in the Polish town of Czestochowa in the southern part of the country. The Madonna is located in a large monastery complex and it is the main attraction of the place for most of the visitors who just want to get a close look at the Madonna.
Nobody really knows just how old the Black Madonna really is and where it comes from. Part of the reason why it is so difficult to date the Black Madonna is it has been restored and repainted several times. The most important repair took place after it was severely damaged by robbers in 1430. I guess this mean the painting certainly was famous enough to try to steel almost seven hundred years ago.
One legend of the origin of this Black Madonna is it was discovered by St. Helena in Jerusalem in 326. St. Helena should have taken the icon back to give to her son the Roman Emperor Constantine the Great.
It should have arrived in Czestochowa in 1384 when a man was driving by and his horses refused to move when they passed by this spot. The Madonna has been here ever since.
We head to the monastery to see the Madonna – you have to wait in line to get close to the Madonna – unfortunately just as we were a couple of spots away from the entrance to the Madonna they played some music which apparently meant the Madonna would be covered up and we would be unable to see it. We went for lunch for a while and then came back when the Madonna would be unveiled for the public.
The Madonna was covered behind a golden cover which prevented us from seeing it. Then the unveiling started and the golden colour slowly started to move up. Slowly bit by bit the Madonna would become visible again for a while. After a couple of minutes the process was finally over and we could see the Madonna.