Błonia Park is a vast meadow with an area of 48 hectares directly adjacent to the historic centre of the city of Krakow. In past times, the field was used by peasants from neighbouring villages to graze their cattle. Today it is a recreation area, frequently hosting large events like concerts and exhibitions.
The place is best known for great Masses celebrated by Pope John Paul II in 1979, 1983, 1987, 1997 and 2002. Pope Benedict XVI also served the Mass there during his journey to Poland in May 2006. Furthermore, Błonia Park was the location of pop star Celine Dion’s concert “Taking Chances” in June 2008.
In 1162 a wealthy nobleman Jaksa z Miechowa donated the land between Zwierzyniec and Łobzów to the Norbertine Monastery to receive a blessing for his pilgrimage to the Holy Land. Until the 19th century Błonia Park was largely neglected and often flooded by the Rudawa River. After the swamps were drained, Błonia started hosting large gatherings.
In 1366 the Norbertine Nuns exchanged Błonia with the city’s authorities for a manor at Floriańska Street, making the area city property. It is probable that the frequent flooding by the Rudawa River contributed to the spread of epidemics in Krakow. In 1809, when the city was incorporated into the Duchy of Warsaw, Błonia was the place of salute of the troops of Napoleon, organised by Prince Józef Poniatowski and General Jan Henryk Dąbrowski.