Welcome to my pages.


Poland history & facts in brief

Excerpted from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

Cracow or Krakow (Polish: Kraków, in full Royal Capital City of Kraków; Polish: Królewskie Stoleczne Miasto Kraków, see also Cities alternative names; in Hungarian Krakkó) is one of the oldest and largest cities of Poland, with a population of 760,000 (as of 2004) - agglomeration 1.2 million. This historic city is situated on the Vistula (Wisla) River at the foot of Wawel Hill in the southerly region of Little Poland (Malopolska).
It is the capital of the Lesser Poland Voivodship (województwo malopolskie) (since 1999); previously it was the capital of Kraków Voivodship (since the 14th century).

Kraków has traditionally been one of the leading scientific, cultural and artistic centres of the country.
It was once the national capital and is considered by many to still be the heart of Poland, due to its history of more than a thousand years.
Kraków is also a major centre of local and international tourism, with more than two million visitors annually.

Voivodship: Lesser Poland
Municipal government: Rada miasta Kraków
Area: 326,8 km˛
- city 757,500 (2004 est.)
- urban 1,200,000
- density 2317.93/km˛
Founded: 8th century
City rights: 1257
Area code: +48 12
Car plates: KR
Twin towns: Bordeaux, Bratislava, Curitiba, Cuzco, Edinburgh, Fes, Florence, Frankfurt, Gothenburg, Innsbruck, Kyiv, La Serena, Leipzig, Leuven, Lviv, Milan, Nuremberg, Orléans, Pecs, Rochester, Seville, Solothurn, Vilnius, Zagreb Municipal Website: (http://www.krakow.pl/)

The old city of Kraków has a rich architecture, mostly Renaissance with some examples of Baroque and Gothic.
Kraków's palaces, churches and mansions display a richness of color, architectural details, stained glass, paintings, sculptures, and furnishings.
Among the most notable of the city's hundreds of historic buildings are: the Royal Castle and Cathedral on Wawel Hill, where King John III Sobieski is buried; the medieval Old Town with its beautiful square; Market Square (200 meters on a side); dozens of old churches and museums; the 14th century buildings of the Jagiellonian University; as well as Kazimierz, the historical centre of Kraków's Jewish religious and social life. The Gothic St Mary's Church stands by the market place. It was built in the 14th century, and its famous wooden altar was carbed by Veit Stoss. Every hour, a trumpet call called the hejnal is sounded from the church's main tower.

Kraków hosts many annual artistic events, including some of international significance, such as the festival of Short Feature Films, Biennial of Graphics.
The oldest parts of Kraków, united in late 18th century are: Old Town (Stare Miasto) - the area once contained within the city walls, now encircled by a park known as Planty Wawel - a limestone hill south of the Old Town, the site of the Royal Castle and the cathedral Stradom and Kazimierz - south of Wawel; the latter was once divided into Christian and Jewish quarters Kleparz - north of the Old Town Areas added in the 19th and 20th centuries include: Podgórze - built across the Vistula by the Austrians in the 19th century Nowa Huta - built east of Kraków by the Communist regime after the Second World War.

The earliest known settlement on the present site of Kraków was established on Wawel hill, and dates back to the 4th century.
Legend attributes the town's establishment to the mythical ruler Krak, who built it above a cave occupied by a ravenous dragon. Before the Polish state existed, Kraków was the capital of the tribe of the Vistulians, probably linked to the larger part of Greater Moravia.
Kraków's first appearance in historical records dates back to the 8th century, and notes that the prince of the Vistulians was baptized.
The first mention of the name dates to 966, when Abraham ben Jacob mentioned it as a notable commercial centre.
After Greater Moravia was destroyed, Kraków became part of the kingdom of Bohemia.
By the end of the 10th century, the city was a major center of trade.
Around this time, it was incorporated into the holdings of the Piast dynasty of Poland.
Several brick buildings were also constructed, including a castle, Romanesque churches, a cathedral, a basilica, and the St. Felix and Adaukt Church.
In 1038, Kraków became the seat of the Polish government.
Two hundred years later, it was almost entirely destroyed in the Tatar invasions.
In 1257, the city was rebuilt, in a form which has remained practically unaltered, and received city rights under Magdeburg Law.
1311 saw a rebellion agaist Wladislaus I of Poland.
Rebellion was organised by Albert and consisted mostly of German-speaking citizens in Kraków.
The rebellion cost Poland the city of Gdansk, which was taken by the Teutonic Orders, but German-speakers lost their political ambitions and began to Polonize.
Kraków rose to new prominence in 1364, when Casimir III of Poland founded the University of Kraków, the second in central Europe after the University of Prague.
There had been a cathedral school under the auspices of the city's bishop since 1150.
The city continued to grow under the Lithuanian Jagiello dynasty (1386-1572), which maintained close connections to the imperial house of Habsburg of the Holy Roman Empire.
As the capital of a powerful state, it became a flourishing center of science and the arts.
Many works of Renaissance art and architecture were created here during that time.
In 1475 delegates of the elector George the Rich of Bavaria came to Kraków to negotiate the marriage of Hedwig, the daughter of King Casimir IV Jagiello to George the Rich.
Hedwig traveled for two months to Landshut in Bavaria, where an elaborate marriage celebration, the Landshut Wedding (Landshuter Hochzeit) took place.
In 1572, the king Sigismund II died childless, and the throne passed to Sigismund III of the Swedish House of Vasa.
Kraków's importance began to decline, accelerated by the pillaging of the city during the Swedish invasion, and an outbreak of plague that left 20,000 of the city's residents dead.
Sigismund III moved his capital to Warsaw in 1596.
After the partition of Poland In the late 18th century, the weakened Polish state was absorbed by its more politically vigorous neighbors, Russia, Austria, and Prussia.
Kraków became part of the Austrian province of Galicia.
Tadeusz Kosciuszko initiated a revolt, the Kosciuszko insurrection, in Kraków's market in 1794.
The Prussian army put down the revolt, and looted Polish royal treasure kept in the city. When Napoleon Bonaparte of the French Empire captured what had once been Poland, he established the Duchy of Warsaw (1809) as an independent but subordinate state.
The Congress of Vienna (1815) restored the partition of Poland, but gave Kraków its independence, as the Free City of Kraków.
The city again became the focus of a struggle for national sovereignty in 1846, during the Kraków Uprising.
The uprising failed to spread outside the city to other Polish-inhabited lands, and was put down, resulting in Kraków's annexation by Austria.
After the Austro-Prussian War of 1866, Austria granted autonomy to Galicia, making Polish a language of government and establishing a provincial diet.
As this form of Austrian rule was more benevolent than that exercised by Russia and Prussia, Kraków became a Polish national symbol and a center of culture and art.
20th century During the First World War, Kraków Legions led by Jozef Pilsudski set out to fight for the liberation of Poland, in alliance with Austrian and German troops.
The Austrians and Germans lost the war, but the terms of the Treaty of Versailles (1919) established the first sovereign Polish state in over a century.
Poland was partitioned again in 1939, at the outset of the Second World War, and Nazi German forces entered Kraków in September of that year.
It became the capital of the General Government, a colonial authority under the leadership of Hans Frank.
The occupation took a heavy toll, particularly on the city's cultural heritage.
Kraków's population has quadrupled since the end of the war, and it is still regarded as the cultural capital of Poland.
In 1978, UNESCO placed Kraków on the list of World Heritage Sites.

Kraków is home to several major state universities and several dozen other schools of higher education. It is also home to Jagiellonian University, the first Polish university and one of the oldest and most prominent universities in Central Europe. Apart from the local population, the schools of Kraków provide education for inhabitants of the region of Southern Poland.

Kraków is considered by many to be Poland's capital of culture.
The city boasts one of the best museums in the country and some famous theaters. It counts two Nobel Prize winners in literature among its residents (Wislawa Szymborska and Czeslaw Milosz). It is also home to one of the world's oldest and most distinguished universities. Kraków was named a European City of Culture in 2000.

External links

This page was retrieved and condensed from (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Krakow) July, 2005
All text is available under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License
(see Copyrights for details).

Hui Chin and I visited Krakow during our 2005 trip in Europe.

We have really enjoyed the ambience of Krakow.

While in Krakow we taken time out to take a train to visit Oswicim or as it is better known probably Auswitz, the infamous concentration or death camp of WWII.

Some of my photos of Krakow.

You can click on these photos for an enlargement

Krakow Krakow Krakow Krakow
Krakow Krakow Krakow Krakow
Krakow Krakow Krakow Krakow
Krakow Krakow Krakow Krakow
Krakow Krakow Krakow Krakow
Krakow Krakow Krakow Krakow
Krakow Krakow Krakow Krakow
Krakow Krakow Krakow Krakow
Krakow Krakow Krakow Krakow
Krakow Krakow Krakow Krakow
Krakow Krakow Krakow Krakow

Krakow busess

Krakow trains

Krakow trams

Krakow trams Krakow trams Krakow trams Krakow trams
Krakow trams Krakow trams Krakow trams Krakow trams

Site Index            Back to Top            Photos Index

Thanks for coming, I hope you have enjoyed it, will recommend it to your friends, and will come back later to see my site developing and expanding.

I'm trying to make my pages enjoyable and trouble free for everyone, please let me know of any mistakes or trouble with links, so I can fix any problem as soon as possible.

These pages are best viewed with monitor resolution set at 640x480 and kept simple on purpose so everyone can enjoy them across all media and platforms.

Thank you.

You can e-mail me at Webmaster

free webpage hit counter