in the mid 18th century.
very long history
Archeological finds prove humans have lived in
the Krakow area since 200,000 BC at least, and
some 50,000 years ago a hamlet with a factory
churning out stone tools prospered on Krakowís
central Wawel Hill. In 965 a
travelling merchant from Spanish Cordoba wrote
about Krakow as the bustling trade center of
Slavonic Europe, and recent excavations confirm.
in the Middle Ages
Its northern neighbors of the Piastsí dynasty
incorporated the Krakow province into their
principality in the 990s and thus the Kingdom of Poland was born. In the
year 1000 Krakow got its own bishop, and in 1038
the city became Polandís capital and its Wawel
Royal Castle the residence of Polish kings. Mongols
demolished Krakow in the mid 13th century, so the
then ruler, Prince Boleslaw the Shy, established
it anew in 1257 and endowed with both
self-government and immense trade privileges.
historic glory of Krakow
cityís Golden Age came by the end of the 15th
century when it was the thriving metropolis of a
vast and prosperous kingdom stretching from the
Black Sea to the Baltic Sea. Krakow remained
Polandís official capital till 1791 but from
1609 on successive kings after their coronation
in Krakow chose to reside in Warsaw where the
countryís political center moved with them
(monarchs kept returning to Krakow for good: to
be buried in the Wawel Cathedral).
city's ups and downs
18th century Krakow suffered a series of sieges,
foreign occupations and plunders. After Russia,
Prussia and Austria invaded and divided Poland
between themselves in the 1790s, the last empire
took Krakow. In 1815 the Congress of Vienna
created an independent, miniature Krakow Republic
forcibly incorporated into the Austrian empire in
1846. After Emperor Franz Joseph I granted Krakow
the municipal government in 1866 the city became
Polandís vibrant center of gravity again, which
eventually led to the 1918 rebirth of the nation
in the aftermath of the World War I.
the second world war and afterwards
remained the most important city in the southwest
part of the Republic of Poland till September
1939 when Hitlerís Third Reich and Stalinís
Soviet Union invaded the country and divided it
between themselves. On the German-occupied
territory the Nazis created a protectorate with
their governor-generalís residence in Krakow.
Fortunately, the historic city survived almost
intact the Soviet offensive in January 1945.
After the WW II Krakow retained its status as
Polandís second most important city and vied
with Warsaw for the cultural supremacy.