Without Krakow there would be no Poland. For in this beautiful city lies much of Poland's
rich historical, cultural and intellectual panoply.
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.
Founded over a thousand years ago, it is not definitely known who founded the city but the folks
have their little folklore on this matter.
- In the 11th century, Krakow was the main seat of the first Polish kings of the Piast dynasty.
- In 1241, after a Tartar raid, the settlements situated around the Wawel Hill were greatly
- In 1320, the first crowning ceremony of Ladislaus the Short in the Wawel
Cathedral strengthened the rank of the capital city of Krakow.
- In 1333, under the last king from the Piast dynasty, Casimir the Great (1333-1370), the city
became a rightful member of the Western culture.
- 1364 - The establishment of a university, renovated under King Ladislaus Jagiello (1386-
1434), the first King from the Jagiellon family. It was to become one of the most important European
university schools. Many eminent scientists received their education here, including the great
- At the turn of the 15th and 16th centuries, the Jagellions forged the first dynastic power
in Central Europe, and Krakow became the leading city in this part of the European continent.
The Renaissance culture inspired by Italian, German and Dutch centers was in full bloom. After the
death of King Sigismund Augustus, the last ruler of the Jagellion family, the age of bloom and
development of Krakow came to an end.
- 1569 - Poland united with Lithuania. Krakow became situated on the periphery of the
large country and gradually lost its political importance in favour of the centrally situated
- 1609 - King Sigismund III (1587-1632), the first Polish king of the Vasa dynasty, decided
to transfer his seat to Warsaw.
- 1655 - Krakow was captured for the first time and plundered by the Swedes.
- 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. This was later interrupted by the Second World War when the captive city played an
inglorious role of the capital of German-occupied Poland. Krakow beccame a place of martyrology
of the Jewish nation; Jews were first confined to the Krakow ghetto, later taken to the Plaszow
camp, wherefrom they were taken away to Auschwitz.
- After the war, significant sociological changes took place in Krakow, chiefly related to the
uncontrolled development of industry. In 1978, Krakow was recognized by the UNESCO as
a monument of world culture and is now a place where international cultural events are organized