Open main menu

CZENSTOCHAU, or CZENSTOCHOWA (chens′to-gou), a town of Poland, 148 miles S. W. of Warsaw by rail. A Catholic monastery, founded here about 1382, is visited yearly by 50,000 to 60,000 pilgrims, as possessing the famous “Black Virgin,” a murky painting of Byzantine origin, but ascribed by legend to St. Luke himself. In 1655 Czenstochau was the only place in Poland which offered resistance to Charles Gustavus of Sweden, when 70 monks and 150 soldiers for 38 days held out against 10,000 men. The inhabitants, about 18,000, carry on a considerable trade in sacred pictures and rosaries.