The historic centre of Cracow, the former capital of by cbf45154


									 The historic centre of Cracow, the former capital of Poland, is situated at the
     foot of the Royal Wawel Castle. The 13th-century merchants' town has
 Europe's largest market square and numerous historical houses, palaces and
    churches with their magnificent interiors. Further evidence of the town's
       fascinating history is provided by the remnants of the 14th-century
fortifications and the medieval site of Kazimierz with its ancient synagogues in
  the southern part of town, Jagellonian University and the Gothic cathedral
                     where the kings of Poland were buried.
                History of Krakow

 Krakow has miraculously escaped destruction towards the end of the
last war, for the retreating Nazis had every intention of turning Krakow,
  like Warsaw into fields of rubble. But in January 1945, the Red Army
  under Marshal Koner outflanked the Germans, obliging them to flee
                    before they could blow the city up.

Krakow, the former capital of Poland has a population of over 700,00,
         is the third largest centre after Warsaw and Lodz.
                        History of Krakow
•In the 11th century, Krakow was the main        •At the turn of the 15th and 16th centuries, the
seat of the first Polish kings of the Piast      Jagellions forged the first dynastic power in
dynasty.                                         Central Europe, and Krakow became the
                                                 leading city in this part of the European
•In 1241, after a Tartar raid, the settlements   continent. The Renaissance culture inspired by
situated around the Wawel Hill were greatly      Italian, German and Dutch centers was in full
destroyed.                                       bloom.
•In 1333, under the last king from the Piast     •1569 - Poland united with Lithuania. Krakow
dynasty, Casimir the Great (1333-1370), the      became situated on the periphery of the large
city became a rightful member of the             country and gradually lost its political
Western culture.                                 importance in favour of the centrally situated
•1364 - The establishment of a university,       Warsaw.
renovated under King Ladislaus Jagiello          •1609 - King Sigismund III (1587-1632), the first
(1386- 1434), the first King from the            Polish king of the Vasa dynasty, decided to
Jagiellon family. It was to become one of        transfer his seat to Warsaw.
the most important European university
schools. Many eminent scientists received        •1655 - Krakow was captured for the first time
their education here, including the great        and plundered by the Swedes.
Nicolaus Copernicus.                             •1795 - After the fall of Poland, Krakow became
                                                 part of the Austrian empire.
                                                 •1918 - Poland regained it's independence and
                                                 the city slowly began to be restored to life.
                The Royal Castle
   A few hundred metres from the Main Market Square stands the Royal
 Castle. It is located atop Wawel Hill which commands a view of the whole
    town spreading at its feet. The Wawel cathedral has witnessed royal
  coronations and funerals; and in the Wawel Castle were taken the most
  important decisions determining the subsequent stages of the country’s
development. The origins of this magnificent structure date back to the year
 1000. Every visitor to Krakow should see the cathedral, the Renaissance
   cloisters of the castle and the beautiful royal chambers, decorated with
                 tapestries manufactured by Flemish masters.

Adjacent to the castle is the Wawel cathedral, not only a splendid historical
   building but also a functioning church as well as a national Pantheon,
containing the tombstones of many Polish kings, national heroes and poets
    of the Romantic period. The showpiece of the church interiors is the
   Renaissance Sigismund Chapel. At the western edge of the hill is the
 entrance to the Dragon’s Cave, where the legendary Wawel Dragon lived.
          Wawel Cathedral in Krakow

The Wawel Cathedral,
Poland's national sanctuary
with 1000-year-old history,
was the coronation site of
Polish monarchs.
It presents 14th-century walls
shelter with a great variety of
top-class objects of art, from
Gothic to Renaissance to
Baroque to Classicist to
Modern. It is also the burial
ground of most Polish royalty
as well as the greatest
national heroes, two poets,
four saints and countless
Krakow bishops.
                Basilica of the Virgin Mary's

 The Basilica of the Virgin Mary (or Kosciol
Mariacki) at Krakow’s central Grand Square
 has been traditionally the temple of choice
  of the city’s burghers. It also seems to be
 the most famous of all Poland's churches.
         The Gothic edifice replaced its
  Romanesque predecessor by the end of
  the 13th century. In 1365 a chancel was
  added and soon its splendid big stained-
  glass windows, of which three are still in
place, were ready as well. By the end of the
14th century the body of the church got the
present form of a basilica. The taller (81 m)
   of its two towers, with a fantastic Gothic
  spire of 1478 and a gold-plated crown of
1666, curiously belongs to the municipality.
    The lower tower (69 m), with the 1592
               Renaissance roof.

The basilica of the Virgin Mary's is home to
   an unmatched giant Gothic altarpiece
 carved by great Veit Stoss between 1477
                  and 1489.
        The Market Square
Krakow’s magnificent Rynek Glowny is one of the largest Medieval squares
  in Europe and dates from 1257. It is dominated by the Sukiennice, the
        arcaded Renaissance cloth hall that stands in the centre.
                                     The Cloth Hall

        - Krakow's Cloth Hall, the
       Renaissance monument of
 The world's arguably oldest shopping
mall has been in business in the middle
    of Krakow's central Grand Square
  (Rynek Glowny) for 700 years. Circa
  1300 a roof was put over two rows of
     stalls to form the first Sukiennice
building – Cloth Hall – where the textile
  trade used to go on. It was extended
 into an imposing Gothic structure 108
meter long and eight meter wide in the
     second half of the 14th century.

  - Shopping center and art gallery
Nowadays stalls on the ground floor and
     shops in the arcades mostly sell
          assorted souvenirs.
 Upstairs, since the 1880s the Krakow
   National Museum has exhibited its
unparalleled collection of the 19-century
   Polish art, including Jan Matejko's
   famous movie-like giant paintings.
The Jagiellonian University
                    The 630-year-old Jagiellonian University
                 moved in to the building at the corner of the
                 Jagiellonska and Sw. Anny streets in 1400,
                   when King Vladislav II Jagiello bought the
                  house with funds his late wife, queen-saint
                 Jadwiga, had earmarked for the renewal of
                              Krakow’s alma mater.
                 The Grand College, or Collegium Maius, the
                 oldest college of the Polish oldest and best
                 university, was rebuilt by the end of the 15th
                     century as a splendid late-Gothic edifice
                    around a vast courtyard with surrounding
                    arcades and a well of 1517 in the center.
                 Professors lived and worked upstairs, while
                 lecturing downstairs. In the 1490s they had
                   Copernicus among their students, and the
                      astronomer that revolutionized entire
                       European science remains the most
                  illustrious of Krakow university’s graduates
                         together with Pope John Paul II.

                  Over centuries a whole university quarter
                  has arisen around the Collegium Maius,
                   while the old college became first the
                  university library and then the university
                     museum rich in unrivaled exhibits.
The gate is one of the few remains of the Krakow's mediaeval fortification
    that surrounded the city. It was built at the break of 13th/14th c. The
       image of the gate's patron, St. Florian, can be seen above the
   entrance. The main fortified wall was brought down at the beginning of
     the 19th c. It had been declining since the 18th c. anyway because
        when artillery came into use, the wall was no longer needed.

                                Florian Gate

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