Kraków (UK: /ˈkrækaʊ/, US: /ˈkrɑː-/;[2][3] Polish: [ˈkrakuf] (listen)), also spelled Cracow or Krakow, is the second largest and one of the oldest cities in Poland. Situated on the Vistula River in the Lesser Poland region, the city dates back to the 7th century.[4] Kraków was the official capital of Poland until 1596[5] and has traditionally been one of the leading centres of Polish academic, economic, cultural and artistic life. Cited as one of Europe's most beautiful cities,[6] its Old Town was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

The city has grown from a Stone Age settlement to Poland's second most important city. It began as a hamlet on Wawel Hill and was already being reported as a busy trading centre of Central Europe in 965.[4] With the establishment of new universities and cultural venues at the emergence of the Second Polish Republic in 1918 and throughout the 20th century, Kraków reaffirmed its role as a major national academic and artistic centre. The city has a population of about 770,000, with approximately 8 million additional people living within a 100 km (62 mi) radius of its main square.[7]

After the invasion of Poland by Nazi Germany at the start of World War II, the newly defined Distrikt Krakau (Kraków District) became the capital of Germany's General Government. The Jewish population of the city was forced into a walled zone known as the Kraków Ghetto, from which they were sent to German extermination camps such as the nearby Auschwitz never to return, and the Nazi concentration camps like Płaszów.[8]

In 1978, Karol Wojtyła, archbishop of Kraków, was elevated to the papacy as Pope John Paul II—the first Slavic pope ever, and the first non-Italian pope in 455 years.[9] Also that year, UNESCO approved the first ever sites for its new World Heritage List, including the entire Old Town in inscribing Kraków's Historic Centre.[10][11] Kraków is classified as a global city with the ranking of high sufficiency by GaWC.[12] Its extensive cultural heritage across the epochs of Gothic, Renaissance and Baroque architecture includes the Wawel Cathedral and the Royal Castle on the banks of the Vistula, the St. Mary's Basilica, Saints Peter and Paul Church and the largest medieval market square in Europe, the Rynek Główny.[13] Kraków is home to Jagiellonian University, one of the oldest universities in the world and traditionally Poland's most reputable institution of higher learning.

In 2000, Kraków was named European Capital of Culture. In 2013 Kraków was officially approved as a UNESCO City of Literature.[14] The city hosted the World Youth Day in July 2016.[15]


Krakow Rynek Glowny panorama 2
XII, XIV, XIX, Kraków
Kościół p.w. św. Piotra i Pawła, Kraków
Wawel Krakow June 2006 003
Kamienica, Floriańska 55, Kraków 1
Rynek Główny 3, Kraków
Kraków is located in Poland
Location of Krakow in Poland
Kraków is located in Europe
Kraków (Europe)
Coordinates: 50°03′41″N 19°56′14″E / 50.06139°N 19.93722°ECoordinates: 50°03′41″N 19°56′14″E / 50.06139°N 19.93722°E
VoivodeshipLesser Poland
City rights5 June 1257
 • MayorJacek Majchrowski (I)
 • City326.8 km2 (126.2 sq mi)
 • Metro
1,023.21 km2 (395.06 sq mi)
219 m (719 ft)
 (30 June 2018)
 • City769,498 Increase (2nd) [1]
 • Density2,327.7/km2 (6,029/sq mi)
 • Metro
Time zoneUTC+1 (CET)
 • Summer (DST)UTC+2 (CEST)
Postal code
30-024 to 31–962
Area code(s)+48 12
Official nameHistoric Centre of Kraków
Designated1978 (2nd session)
Reference no.29
UNESCO regionEurope


The name of Kraków is traditionally derived from Krakus (Krak, Grakch), the legendary founder of Kraków and a ruler of the tribe of Lechitians. In Polish, Kraków is an archaic possessive form of Krak and essentially means "Krak's (town)". Krakus's name may derive from "krakula", a Proto-Slavic word[16] meaning a judge's staff, or a Proto-Slavic word "krak" meaning an oak, once a sacred tree most often associated with the concept of genealogy. The first mention of Prince Krakus (then written as Grakch) dates back to 1190, although the town existed as early as the 7th century, inhabited by the tribe of Vistulans.[4]

The city's full official name is Stołeczne Królewskie Miasto Kraków,[17] which can be translated as "Royal Capital City of Kraków". In English, a person born or living in Kraków is a Cracovian (Polish: krakowianin). While in the 1990s the English version of the name was often written Cracow, the most widespread modern English version is Krakow.[18]


Krakow nagrobek Kazimierza W
Tomb of Casimir III the Great at Wawel Cathedral. Kraków was the capital of Poland from 1038 to 1596

Kraków's early history begins with evidence of a Stone Age settlement on the present site of the Wawel Hill.[19] A legend attributes Kraków's founding to the mythical ruler Krakus, who built it above a cave occupied by a dragon, Smok Wawelski. The first written record of the city's name dates back to 965, when Kraków was described as a notable commercial centre controlled first by Moravia (876–879), but captured by a Bohemian duke Boleslaus I in 955.[20] The first acclaimed ruler of Poland, Mieszko I, took Kraków from the Bohemians and incorporated it into the holdings of the Piast dynasty towards the end of his reign.[21]

In 1038, Kraków became the seat of the Polish government.[4] By the end of the 10th century, the city was a leading centre of trade.[22] Brick buildings were constructed, including the Royal Wawel Castle with St. Felix and Adaukt Rotunda, Romanesque churches such as St. Adalbert's, a cathedral, and a basilica.[23] The city was sacked and burned during the Mongol invasion of 1241.[24] It was rebuilt practically identical,[25] based on new location act and incorporated in 1257 by the high duke Bolesław V the Chaste who following the example of Wrocław, introduced city rights modelled on the Magdeburg law allowing for tax benefits and new trade privileges for the citizens.[26] In 1259, the city was again ravaged by the Mongols. A third attack in 1287 was repelled thanks in part to the new built fortifications.[27] In 1335, King Casimir III of Poland (Kazimierz in Polish) declared the two western suburbs to be a new city named after him, Kazimierz (Casimiria in Latin). The defensive walls were erected around the central section of Kazimierz in 1362, and a plot was set aside for the Augustinian order next to Skałka.[28]

Kościół św. Wojciecha
The Church of St. Adalbert is one of the oldest Christian temples in the city dating from the 11th century

The city rose to prominence in 1364, when Casimir III of Poland founded the University of Kraków,[29] the second oldest university in central Europe after the Charles University in Prague. King Casimir also began work on a campus for the Academy in Kazimierz, but he died in 1370 and the campus was never completed. The city continued to grow under the joint Lithuanian-Polish Jagiellon dynasty. As the capital of the Kingdom of Poland and a member of the Hanseatic League, the city attracted many craftsmen, businesses, and guilds as science and the arts began to flourish.[30] The royal chancery and the University ensured a first flourishing of Polish literary culture in the city.[31]

Kraków's "Golden Age"

Nuremberg chronicles - CRACOVIA
Woodcut of Kraków from the Nuremberg Chronicle, 1493

The 15th and 16th centuries were known as Poland's Złoty Wiek or Golden Age.[32] Many works of Polish Renaissance art and architecture were created,[33][34] including ancient synagogues in Kraków's Jewish quarter located in the north-eastern part of Kazimierz, such as the Old Synagogue.[35] During the reign of Casimir IV, various artists came to work and live in Kraków, and Johann Haller established a printing press in the city[36] after Kasper Straube had printed the Calendarium Cracoviense, the first work printed in Poland, in 1473.[37][38]

View of Kraków near the end of the 16th century
View of Kraków (Cracovia) near the end of the 16th-century

In 1495, King John I Albert expelled the Jews from the city walls of Kraków; they moved to Kazimierz (now a district of Kraków).[39] However, they were still allowed to trade on the Main Square.[39]

In 1520, the most famous church bell in Poland, named Zygmunt after Sigismund I of Poland, was cast by Hans Behem.[40] At that time, Hans Dürer, a younger brother of artist and thinker Albrecht Dürer, was Sigismund's court painter.[41] Hans von Kulmbach made altarpieces for several churches.[42] In 1553, the Kazimierz district council gave the Jewish Qahal a licence for the right to build their own interior walls across the western section of the already existing defensive walls. The walls were expanded again in 1608 due to the growth of the community and influx of Jews from Bohemia.[43] In 1572, King Sigismund II, the last of the Jagiellons, died childless. The Polish throne passed to Henry III of France and then to other foreign-based rulers in rapid succession, causing a decline in the city's importance that was worsened by pillaging during the Swedish invasion and by an outbreak of bubonic plague that left 20,000 of the city's residents dead. In 1596, Sigismund III of the House of Vasa moved the administrative capital of the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth from Kraków to Warsaw.[44]

19th century

Kościuszko taking an oath at Kraków's Market Square
Tadeusz Kościuszko takes the oath of loyalty to the Polish nation in Kraków's market square (Rynek), 1794

Already weakened during the 18th century, by the mid-1790s the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth had twice been partitioned by its neighbors: Russia, the Habsburg empire, and Prussia.[45] In 1791, the Austrian Emperor Joseph II changed the status of Kazimierz as a separate city and made it into a district of Kraków. The richer Jewish families began to move out. However, because of the injunction against travel on the Sabbath, most Jewish families stayed relatively close to the historic synagogues. In 1794, Tadeusz Kościuszko initiated an unsuccessful insurrection in the town's Main Square which, in spite of his victorious Battle of Racławice against a numerically superior Russian army, resulted in the third and final partition of Poland.[46] In 1809, Napoleon Bonaparte captured former Polish territories from Austria and made the town part of the Duchy of Warsaw. Following Napoleon's defeat, the 1815 Congress of Vienna restored the pre-war boundaries but also created the partially independent Free City of Kraków. An insurrection in 1846 failed,[47] resulting in the city being annexed by Austria under the name the Grand Duchy of Cracow (Polish: Wielkie Księstwo Krakowskie, German: Großherzogtum Krakau).[48]

In 1866, Austria granted a degree of autonomy to Galicia after its own defeat in the Austro-Prussian War.[49] Politically freer Kraków became a Polish national symbol and a centre of culture and art, known frequently as the "Polish Athens" (Polskie Ateny) or "Polish Mecca".[50] Many leading Polish artists of the period resided in Kraków,[51] among them the seminal painter Jan Matejko,[52] laid to rest at Rakowicki Cemetery, and the founder of modern Polish drama, Stanisław Wyspiański.[53] Fin de siècle Kraków evolved into a modern metropolis; running water and electric streetcars were introduced in 1901, and between 1910 and 1915, Kraków and its surrounding suburban communities were gradually combined into a single administrative unit called Greater Kraków (Wielki Kraków).[54][55]

Józef Brodowski 002-1(crop)
Act of granting the constitution to the Free City of Krakow. After the Partitions of Poland, Kraków was independent city republic and the only piece of sovereign Polish territory between 1815 and 1846.

At the outbreak of World War I on 3 August 1914, Józef Piłsudski formed a small cadre military unit, the First Cadre Company—the predecessor of the Polish Legions—which set out from Kraków to fight for the liberation of Poland.[56] The city was briefly besieged by Russian troops in November 1914.[57] Austrian rule in Kraków ended in 1918 when the Polish Liquidation Committee assumed power.[58][59]

20th century to the present

Rząca Tadeusz, Rynek Główny w Krakowie
Flower vendors in Rynek. First autochrome in Poland, dated 1912

With the emergence of the Second Polish Republic, Kraków resumed its role as a major academic and cultural centre, with the establishment of new universities such as the AGH University of Science and Technology and the Jan Matejko Academy of Fine Arts, including a number of new and essential vocational schools. It became an important cultural centre for the Polish Jews, including both Zionist and Bundist groups.[60][61] Kraków was also an influential centre of Jewish spiritual life, with all its manifestations of religious observance from Orthodox, to Chasidic and Reform flourishing side by side.

Following the invasion of Poland by Nazi Germany in September 1939, the city of Kraków became part of the General Government, a separate administrative region of the Third Reich. On 26 October 1939, the Nazi Regime constructed Distrikt Krakau, one of four total districts within the General Government. On the same day, the city of Kraków also became the capital of the administration. The General Government was ruled by Hans Frank who was based in the city's Wawel Castle. The Nazis envisioned turning Kraków into a completely Germanised city; after removal of all the Jews and Poles, renaming of locations and streets into the German language, and sponsorship of propaganda trying to portray it as a historically German city.[62] On 28 November 1939 Hans Frank created Judenräte (Jewish Councils) which were to be run by Jewish citizens for the purpose of carrying out orders for the Nazis. These orders included registration of all Jewish people living in the area, the collection of taxes, and forced labour groups.

On the eve of the war some 56,000 Jews resided in Krakow, almost one-quarter of a total population of about 250,000. By November 1939, the Jewish population of Krakow had grown to approximately 70,000. [63][64] According to German statistics from 1940, over 200,000 Jews lived within the entire Kraków District, exceeding 5 percent of the total population in the district. These statistics, however, are likely an underestimate.[64]

During an operation called "Sonderaktion Krakau", more than 180 university professors and academics were arrested and sent to Sachsenhausen and Dachau concentration camps, though the survivors were later released on the request of prominent Italians.[65][66]

Kraków Ghetto, 1942—a German checkpoint during operation Aktion Krakau

The formation of ghettos began in the District in December 1939. Before the forced transport of the Jews to the ghettos, they were encouraged to flee the city. Shortly thereafter in March 1941, the Jewish population was confined to a ghetto within the city of Kraków in which many died of illness or starvation. Initially, a majority of the ghettos were open and Jews were allowed to enter and exit freely. However, as the Nazi Regime became more powerful, many of these ghettos were closed and security became tighter. Those in the ghetto were later murdered or sent to concentration camps, including Bełżec, Płaszów and Auschwitz.[67] The largest deportations within the District occurred from June to September 1942. More specifically, the Kraków ghetto deportation occurred from 1 to 8 June 1942.[64]

Roman Polanski, the film director, is a survivor of the Kraków Ghetto, while Oskar Schindler selected employees from the ghetto to work in his enamelware factory, Deutsche Emailwaren Fabrik (Emalia for short) saving them from the camps.[68][69] Similarly, many men capable of physical labor were saved from the deportations to extermination camps and instead set to labor camps across the General Government.[64] By September 1943, the last of the Jews from the Kraków ghetto were deported. Although looted by occupational authorities, Kraków remained relatively undamaged at the end of World War II,[70] sparing most of the city's historical and architectural legacy. Soviet forces entered the city on 18 January 1945, and began arresting Poles loyal to the Polish government-in-exile or those who had served in the Home Army.[71]

Rozwój terytorialny Krakowa - EN
Kraków's territorial growth from the late 18th- to the 20th-century

After the war, under the Polish People's Republic, the intellectual and academic community of Kraków was put under complete political control. The universities were soon deprived of printing rights and autonomy.[72] The Stalinist government ordered the construction of the country's largest steel mill in the newly created suburb of Nowa Huta.[73] The creation of the giant Lenin Steelworks (now Sendzimir Steelworks owned by Mittal) sealed Kraków's transformation from a university city, into an industrial centre.[74] The new working-class, drawn by the industrialization of Kraków, contributed to rapid population growth.

In an effort that spanned two decades, Karol Wojtyła, cardinal archbishop of Kraków, successfully lobbied for permission to build the first churches in the newly industrial suburbs.[74][75] In 1978, Wojtyła was elevated to the papacy as John Paul II, the first non-Italian pope in 455 years. In the same year, UNESCO placed Kraków Old Town on the first-ever list of World Heritage Sites.


Kraków lies in the southern part of Poland, on the Vistula River, in a valley at the foot of the Carpathian Mountains, 219 m (719 ft) above sea level; halfway between the Jurassic Rock Upland (Polish: Jura Krakowsko-Częstochowska) to the north, and the Tatra Mountains 100 km (62 mi) to the south, constituting the natural border with Slovakia and the Czech Republic; 230 km (143 mi) west from the border with Ukraine.

There are five nature reserves in Kraków, with a combined area of ca. 48.6 hectares (120 acres). Due to their ecological value, these areas are legally protected. The western part of the city, along its northern and north-western side, borders an area of international significance known as the Jurassic Bielany-Tyniec refuge. The main motives for the protection of this area include plant and animal wildlife and the area's geomorphological features and landscape.[76] Another part of the city is located within the ecological 'corridor' of the Vistula River valley. This corridor is also assessed as being of international significance as part of the Pan-European ecological network.[77] The city centre is situated on the left (northern) bank of the river.


Krakow Klasztor Norbertanek
Convent of Norbertine Sisters in Kraków-Zwierzyniec and the Vistula River during the Winter season

Officially, Kraków has a oceanic climate, denoted by Köppen classification as Cfb[78][79], best defined as a semicontinental climate.[80][81] Too can be classified as an hemiboreal humid continental climate (Dfb) using the 0 °C (32 °F) isotherm.[82] By classification of the Wincenty Okołowicz has a warm-temperate climate in the center of continental Europe with the "fusion" of different features.[83]

Due to its geographic location, the city may be about marine influence, sometimes Arctic influence, but without direct influence, what makes the city to have a varibiality of the meteorological conditions in short spaces of time.[84][85]

Being towards Eastern Europe and a relatively considerable distance from the sea, Warsaw has significant temperature differences according to the progress of different air masses, having four defined defined seasons of the year. Average temperatures in summer range from 17.0 to 19.2 °C (63 to 67 °F) and in winter from −2.0 to −0.6 °C (28 to 31 °F). The average annual temperature is 8.7 °C (48 °F). In summer temperatures often exceed 25 °C (77 °F), and even 30 °C (86 °F), while winter drops to −5 °C (23 °F) at night and about 0 °C (32 °F) at day; during very cold nights the temperature can drop to −15 °C (5 °F). The city lies near the Tatra Mountains, there are often occurrences of halny blowing (a foehn wind), causing temperatures to rise rapidly, and even in winter reach up to 20 °C (68 °F).

In relation to Warsaw, temperatures are very similar in most of the year, except that in the colder months southern Poland has a larger daily temperature range, more moderate winds, generally more rainy in quantity as in days and with greater chances of clear sky on average, especially in winter. The lower sun angle also allows for a larger growing season.[86] In addition, for older data there was less sun than the capital of the country, about 30 minutes daily per year, but both have small differences in relative humidity and the direction of the winds is northeast.[80]

The climate table below presents weather data from the years 2000–2012 although the official Köppen reference period was from 1981–2010 (therefore not being technically a climatological normal[87]). According to ongoing measurements, the temperature has increased during these years as compared with the last series. This increase averages about 0.6 °C over all months. Warming is most pronounced during the winter months, with an increase of more than 1.0 °C in January.[88][89]

  1. ^ Sunshine data is calculated at Kraków Observatory from 1961–1990. Rest of the climate data is recorded at Kraków-Belice.


Barbakan Krakow z ulicy Basztowej
The Kraków Barbican dating from around 1498 was once a fortified outpost of the inner medieval city

Developed over many centuries, Kraków provides a showcase setting for many historic styles of architecture. As the city expanded, so too did the architectural achievements of its builders. It is for this reason that the variations in style and urban planning are so easily recognisable.

Built from its earliest nucleus outward, and having escaped much of the destruction endured by Poland during the 20th-century wars, Kraków's many architectural monuments can typically be seen in historical order by walking from the city centre out, towards its later districts. Kraków is one of the few medieval towns in Poland that does not have a historic Ratusz town hall in its Main Square, because it has not survived the Partitions of Poland.

Kraków's historic centre, which includes the Old Town, Kazimierz and the Wawel Castle, was included as the first of its kind on the list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites in 1978.[10] The Stare Miasto is the most prominent example of an old town in the country.[93] For many centuries Kraków was the royal capital of Poland, until Sigismund III Vasa relocated the court to Warsaw in 1596. The whole district is bisected by the Royal Road, the coronation route traversed by the Kings of Poland. The Route begins at St. Florian's Church outside the northern flank of the old city-walls in the medieval suburb of Kleparz; passes the Barbican of Kraków (Barbakan) built in 1499, and enters Stare Miasto through the Florian Gate. It leads down Floriańska Street through the Main Square, and up Grodzka to Wawel, the former seat of Polish royalty, overlooking the Vistula river. Old Town attracts visitors from all over the World. Kraków historic centre is one of the 13 places in Poland that are included in the UNESCO World Heritage Sites. The architectural design of the district had survived all cataclysms of the past and retained its original form coming from the medieval times. The Old Town of Kraków is home to about six thousand historic sites and more than two million works of art.[94] Its rich variety of heritage architecture includes Gothic, Renaissance and Baroque buildings. Kraków's palaces, churches, theatres and mansions display great variety of color, architectural details, stained glass, paintings, sculptures, and furnishings.

Krakow Kanonicza 20070804 1000
Kanonicza Street, at the foot of the Wawel Castle

In addition to the old town, the city's district of Kazimierz is particularly notable for its many renaissance buildings and picturesque streets, as well as the historic Jewish quarter located in the north-eastern part of Kazimierz. Kazimierz was founded in the 14th century to the south-east of the city centre and soon became a wealthy, well-populated area where construction of imposing properties became commonplace. Perhaps the most important feature of medieval Kazimierz was the only major, permanent bridge (Pons Regalis) across the northern arm of the Vistula. This natural barrier used to separate Kazimierz from the Old Town for several centuries, while the bridge connected Kraków to the Wieliczka Salt Mine and the lucrative Hungarian trade route. The last structure at this location (at the end of modern Stradom Street) was dismantled in 1880 when the northern arm of the river was filled in with earth and rock, and subsequently built over.[28][95]

Kraków 239a
View of Kraków from St. Mary's Basilica in the Market Square

By the 1930s, Kraków had 120 officially registered synagogues and prayer houses that spanned across the old city. Much of Jewish intellectual life had moved to new centres like Podgórze.[96] This in turn, led to the redevelopment and renovation of much of Kazimierz and the development of new districts in Kraków. Most historic buildings in central Kazimierz today are preserved in their original form. Some old buildings, however, were not repaired after the devastation brought by the Second World War, and have remained empty. Most recent efforts at restoring the historic neighborhoods gained new impetus around 1993. Kazimierz is now a well-visited area, seeing a booming growth in Jewish-themed restaurants, bars, bookstores and souvenir shops.

DZolopa 033 2013
Palace of Art at Szczepański Square, is an example of Art Nouveau architecture in central Kraków[97]

As the city of Kraków began to expand further under the rule of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, the new architectural styles also developed. Key buildings from the 19th and early 20th centuries in Kraków include the Jan Matejko Academy of Fine Arts, the directorate of the Polish State Railways as well as the original complex of Kraków Główny railway station and the city's Academy of Economics. It was also at around that time that Kraków's first radial boulevards began to appear, with the city undergoing a large-scale program aimed at transforming the ancient Polish capital into a sophisticated regional centre of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. New representative government buildings and multi-story tenement houses were built at around that time. Much of the urban-planning beyond the walls of the Old Town was done by Polish architects and engineers trained in Vienna. Some major projects of the era include the development of the Jagiellonian University's new premises and the building of the Collegium Novum just west of the Old Town. The imperial style planning of the city's further development continued until the return of Poland's independence, following the First World War. Early modernist style in Kraków is represented by such masterpieces as the Palace of Art by Franciszek Mączyński and the 'House under the Globe'. Secession style architecture, which had arrived in Kraków from Vienna, became popular towards the end of the Partitions.[98]

Basztowa Ur.Woj i NBP, Krakow
Basztowa Street, filled with some of the most unique historical buildings in all architectural styles; part of the Royal Route of Kraków

With Poland's regained independence came the major change in the fortunes of Kraków—now the second most important city of a sovereign nation. The state began to make new plans for the city development and commissioned a number of representative buildings. The predominant style for new projects was modernism with various interpretations of the art-deco style.[99] Important buildings constructed in the style of Polish modernism include the Feniks 'LOT' building on Basztowa Street, the Feniks department store on the Main Square and the Municipal Savings Bank on Szczepański Square. The Józef Piłsudski house is also of note as a particularly good example of interwar architecture in the city.[100]

After the Second World War, new government turned toward Soviet influence and the Stalinist monumentalism. The doctrine of Socialist realism in Poland, as in other countries of the People's Republics, was enforced from 1949 to 1956. It involved all domains of art, but its most spectacular achievements were made in the field of urban design. The guidelines for this new trend were spelled-out in a 1949 resolution of the National Council of Party Architects. Architecture was to become a weapon in establishing the new social order by the communists.[101] The ideological impact of urban design was valued more than aesthetics. It aimed at expressing persistence and power. This form of architecture was implemented in the new industrial district of Nowa Huta with apartment blocks constructed according to a Stalinist blueprint, with repetitious courtyards and wide, tree-lined avenues.[102]

Pawilon Wyspiański 2000, Kraków
Pawilon Wyspiański 2000 is a rare piece of Postmodern architecture present in Kraków's Old Town[103]

Since the style of the Renaissance was generally regarded as the most revered in old Polish architecture, it was also used for augmenting Poland's Socialist national format. However, in the course of incorporating the principles of Socialist realism, there were quite a few deviations introduced by the communists. One of these was to more closely reflect Soviet architecture, which resulted in the majority of works blending into one another. From 1953, critical opinions in the Party were increasingly frequent, and the doctrine was given up in 1956 marking the end of Stalinism.[104] The soc-realist centre of Nowa Huta is considered to be a meritorious monument of the times. This period in postwar architecture was followed by the mass-construction of large Panel System apartment blocks, most of which were built outside the city centre and thus do not encroach upon the beauty of the old or new towns. Some examples of the new style (e.g., Hotel Cracovia) recently listed as heritage monuments were built during the latter half of the 20th century in Kraków.[105]

After the Revolutions of 1989 and the birth of the Third Republic in the latter half of the 20th century, a number of new architectural projects were completed, including the construction of large business parks and commercial facilities such as the Galeria Krakowska, or infrastructure investments like the Kraków Fast Tram. A good example of this would be the 2007-built Pawilon Wyspiański 2000,[103] which is used as a multi-purpose information and exhibition space, or the Małopolski Garden of Arts (Małopolski Ogród Sztuki), a multi-purpose exhibition and theatre complex located in the historic Old Town.[106]

Parks and gardens

Planty Park, autumn, Old Town, Krakow, Poland
Planty Park, which surrounds Kraków's Old Town
Planty Garden, pavilion, Old Town, Krakow, Poland
A pavilion within the Planty Park during winter

There are about 40 parks in Kraków including dozens of gardens and forests.[107] Several, like the Planty Park, Botanical Garden, Zoological Garden, Park Krakowski, Jordan Park and Błonia Park are located in the centre of the city; with Zakrzówek, Lasek Wolski forest, Strzelecki Park and Park Lotników (among others) in the surrounding districts.[107] Parks cover about 318.5 hectares (787 acres, 1.2 sq mi) of the city.

The Planty Park is the best-known park in Kraków. It was established between 1822 and 1830 in place of the old city walls, forming a green belt around the Old Town. It consists of a chain of smaller gardens designed in various styles and adorned with monuments. The park has an area of 21 hectares (52 acres) and a length of 4 kilometres (2.5 mi), forming a scenic walkway popular with Cracovians.[108]

The Jordan Park founded in 1889 by Dr Henryk Jordan, was the first public park of its kind in Europe.[109] The park built on the banks of the Rudawa river was equipped with running and exercise tracks, playgrounds, the swimming pool, amphitheatre, pavilions, and a pond for boat rowing and water bicycles. It is located on the grounds of a larger Kraków’s Błonia Park.[110] The less prominent Park Krakowski was founded in 1885 by Stanisław Rehman but has since been greatly reduced in size because of rapid real estate development. It was a popular destination point with many Cracovians at the end of the 19th century.[111]


There are five nature reserves in Kraków with a total area of 48.6 ha (120 acres).[112] Smaller green zones constitute parts of the Kraków-Częstochowa Upland Jurassic Landscape Parks' Board, which deals with the protection areas of the Polish Jura. Under its jurisdiction are: the Bielany-Tyniec Landscape Park (Park Bielańsko-Tyniecki), Tenczynek Landscape Park (Park Tencziński) and Kraków Valleys Landscape Park (Park Krajobrazowy Dolinki Krakowskie), with their watersheds. All natural reserves of the Polish Jura Chain are part of the CORINE biotopes programme due to their unique flora, fauna, geomorphology and landscape. The western part of Kraków constitutes the so-called Obszar Krakowski ecological network, including the ecological corridor of the Vistula river. The southern slopes of limestone hills provide conditions for the development of thermophilous vegetation, grasslands and scrubs.

The city is spaced along an extended latitudinal transect of the Vistula River Valley with a network of tributaries including its right tributary Wilga, and left: Rudawa, Białucha, Dłubnia and Sanka. The rivers and their valleys along with bodies of water are some of the most interesting natural wonders of Kraków.

Kraków and its environ, surrounded by mountains, suffer from Europe's dirtiest air pollution because of smog, caused by burning coal for heating, especially in winter.[113]


Podgorze City Hall (new), Podgorze,Krakow,Poland
The New Town Hall of Podgórze, which used to be a self-governing independent town until its incorporation into Kraków in 1915

The Kraków City Council has 43 elected members,[114] one of whom is the mayor, or President of Kraków, elected every four years. The election of the City Council and of the local head of government,[115] which takes place at the same time, is based on legislation introduced on 20 June 2002. The President of Kraków, re-elected for his fourth term in 2014, is Jacek Majchrowski.[116] Several members of the Polish national Parliament (Sejm) are elected from the Kraków constituency.[117] The city's official symbols include a coat of arms, a flag, a seal, and a banner.[118]

Krakow WielopolskiPalace 6876
Entrance to the Wielopolski Palace from 1560, the seat of Kraków's mayor, administration and city council

The responsibilities of Kraków's president include drafting and implementing resolutions, enacting city bylaws, managing the city budget, employing city administrators, and preparing against floods and natural disasters.[115] The president fulfills his duties with the help of the City Council, city managers and city inspectors. In the 1990s, the city government was reorganised to better differentiate between its political agenda and administrative functions. As a result, the Office of Public Information was created to handle inquiries and foster communication between city departments and citizens at large.[119]

In 2000, the city government introduced a new long-term program called "Safer City" in cooperation with the Police, Traffic, Social Services, Fire, Public Safety, and the Youth Departments. Subsequently, the number of criminal offences went down by 3 percent between 2000 and 2001, and the rate of detection increased by 1.4 percent to a total of 30.2 percent in the same period.[120] The city is receiving help in carrying out the program from all educational institutions and the local media, including TV, radio and the press.


Kraków is divided into 18 administrative districts (dzielnica) or boroughs, each with a degree of autonomy within its own municipal government.[121] Prior to March 1991, the city had been divided into four quarters which still give a sense of identity to Kraków – the towns of Podgórze, Nowa Huta, and Krowodrza which were amalgamated into the city of Kraków as it expanded, and the ancient town centre of Kraków itself.[121]

PomnikGrunwaldzki-PlacMatejki-POL, Kraków
Matejko Square at Kleparz is one of the city's most important public spaces

The oldest neighborhoods of Kraków were incorporated into the city before the late-18th century. They include the Old Town (Stare Miasto), once contained within the city defensive walls and now encircled by the Planty park; the Wawel District, which is the site of the Royal Castle and the cathedral; Stradom and Kazimierz, the latter originally divided into Christian and Jewish quarters;[122] as well as the ancient town of Kleparz.

Major districts added in the 19th and 20th centuries include Podgórze, which until 1915, was a separate town on the southern bank of the Vistula, and Nowa Huta, east of the city centre, built after World War II.

Among the most notable historic districts of the city are: Wawel Hill, home to Wawel Castle and Wawel Cathedral, where many historic Polish kings are buried; the medieval Old Town, with its Main Market Square (200 metres (660 ft) square); dozens of old churches and museums; the 14th-century buildings of the Jagiellonian University; and Kazimierz, the historical centre of Kraków's Jewish social and religious life.[123]

The Old Town district of Kraków is home to about 6,000 historic sites, and more than 2,000,000 works of art.[94] Its rich variety of historic architecture includes Renaissance, Baroque and Gothic buildings. Kraków's palaces, churches and mansions display great variety of colour, architectural details, stained glass, paintings, sculptures, and furnishings.

In the Market Square stands the Gothic St. Mary's Basilica (Kościół Mariacki). It was rebuilt in the 14th-century and features the famous wooden altar (Altarpiece of Veit Stoss), the largest Gothic altarpiece in the world,[124] carved by Veit Stoss. From the church's main tower a trumpet call (hejnał mariacki), is sounded every hour. The melody, which used to announce the opening and closing of city gates, ends unexpectedly in midstream. According to legend, the tune was played during the 13th-century Tatar invasion by a guard warning citizens against the attack. He was shot by an archer of the invading Tatar forces whilst playing, the bugle call breaking off at the moment he died.[125] The story was recounted in a book published in 1928 called The Trumpeter of Krakow, by Eric P. Kelly, which won a Newbery Award.[126]

District Population Area (2009)[127]
Stare Miasto (I) 41,121 559.29 ha (5.5929 km2)
Grzegórzki (II) 30,441 586.18 ha (5.8618 km2)
Prądnik Czerwony (III) 46,621 638.82 ha (6.3882 km2)
Prądnik Biały (IV) 66,649 2,370.55 ha (23.7055 km2)
Krowodrza (V) 34,467 538.32 ha (5.3832 km2)
Bronowice (VI) 22,467 957.98 ha (9.5798 km2)
Zwierzyniec (VII) 20,243 2,866.9 ha (28.669 km2)
Dębniki (VIII) 56,258 4,671.11 ha (46.7111 km2)
Łagiewniki-Borek Fałęcki (IX) 15,014 573.9 ha (5.739 km2)
Swoszowice (X) 20,641 2,416.73 ha (24.1673 km2)
Podgórze Duchackie (XI) 52,522 1,065.24 ha (10.6524 km2)
Bieżanów-Prokocim (XII) 63,270 1,846.93 ha (18.4693 km2)
Podgórze (XIII) 32,050 2,516.07 ha (25.1607 km2)
Czyżyny (XIV) 26,169 1,229.44 ha (12.2944 km2)
Mistrzejowice (XV) 54,276 547.82 ha (5.4782 km2)
Bieńczyce (XVI) 44,237 369.43 ha (3.6943 km2)
Wzgórza Krzesławickie (XVII) 20,234 2,375.82 ha (23.7582 km2)
Nowa Huta (XVIII) 58,320 6,552.52 ha (65.5252 km2)
Total 760,700 32,680.00 ha (326.8000 km2)

The current divisions were introduced by the Kraków City Hall on 19 April 1995. Districts were assigned Roman numerals as well as the name:[128] Stare Miasto (I), Grzegórzki (II), Prądnik Czerwony (III), Prądnik Biały (IV), Łobzów (V), Bronowice (VI), Zwierzyniec (VII), Dębniki (VIII), Łagiewniki-Borek Fałęcki (IX), Swoszowice (X), Podgórze Duchackie (XI), Bieżanów-Prokocim (XII), Podgórze (XIII), Czyżyny (XIV), Mistrzejowice (XV), Bieńczyce (XVI), Wzgórza Krzesławickie (XVII), and Nowa Huta (XVIII).

Map of districts of the City of Kraków

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Kraków dzielnice blank

Interactive map. For more information, click on district number.


Biurowiec Newton
The Center for Business Innovation office complex in Kraków

Kraków is one of Poland's most important economic centres and the economic hub of the Lesser Poland (Małopolska) region.[129][130] Since the fall of communism, the private sector has been growing steadily. There are about 50 large multinational companies in the city, including Google, IBM, Royal Dutch Shell, UBS, HSBC, Motorola, Aptiv, MAN SE, General Electric, ABB, Aon, Akamai, Cisco Systems, Hitachi, Philip Morris, Capgemini,[131] and Sabre Holdings,[132] along with other British, German and Scandinavian-based firms.[129][133] The city is also the global headquarters for Comarch, a Polish enterprise software house. In 2005, Foreign direct investment in Kraków has reached approximately US$3,500,000,000. Kraków has been trying to model itself as a European version of Silicon Valley,[134] based on the large number of local and foreign hi-tech companies.[129] The unemployment rate in Kraków was 4.8% in May 2007, well below the national average of 13%.[130][135] Kraków is the second most-visited city in Poland (after Warsaw).[129][130] According to the World Investment Report 2011 by the UN Conference for Trade and Development (UNCTAD), Kraków is also the most emergent city location for investment in global BPO projects (Business Process Outsourcing) in the world.[136]

Lufthansa Global Business Services Kraków Bonarka
Lufthansa shared service centre

In 2011, the city budget, which is presented by the Mayor of Kraków on 15 November annually, has a projected revenue of 3,500,000,000 złoty.[137] The primary sources of revenue were as follows: 14% from the municipal taxation on real estate properties and the use of amenities, 30% in transfers from the national budget, and 34% in state subsidies. Projected expenditures, totaling 3,520,000,000 złoty, included 21% in city development costs and 79% in city maintenance costs. Of the maintenance costs, as much as 39% were spent on education and childcare. The City of Kraków's development costs included; 41% toward construction of roads, transport, and communication (combined), and 25% for the city's infrastructure and environment.[138] The city has a high bond credit rating, and some 60% of the population is under the age of 45.[130]


Krakow has a long history of entrepreneurship, perhaps best reflected in the fact the most important square in the city is called the Main Market Square (Rynek Główny).

Startup community

Since the early 2000s a startup community has emerged in Krakow, In the early days the Krakow: Europe's Silicon Valley web page was the on line hub of the community. Most important now is the OMGKRK foundation and its Facebook group which has over 5000 members and acts as a community notice board for the startup community.

Famous entrepreneurs from Krakow

Jan Thurzo, a Hungarian entrepreneur and mining engineer who was from 1477 an Alderman and later Mayor of Kraków. He established the Fugger–Thurzo company with Jakob Fugger. Fugger monopolised copper mining and trade in the Holy Roman Empire around 1500 and has been described as the richest man who has ever lived.[139]

Michal Hornstein, born in Krakow, and graduate of a Krakow Business School, escaped from a Nazi death camp transport. He moved to Montreal in 1951 where he founded Federal Construction Ltd., a real estate company focussing on apartments and shopping centres. He was recognised as a major philanthropist in Montreal and supported the arts, education and medicine, for example with this Gift of Old Masters to the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts

Helena Rubinstein, born in Kraków, established the Helena Rubenstein inc. cosmetics company which was sold to Colgate Palmolive in 1973 for $142.3 million in stock and cash, and was said to be one of the world's richest women.

Janusz Filipiak established the successful IT company Comarch in 1993 which in 2018 employs 5500 people, and sponsors the Cracovia Football team.

Piotr Wilam established the Pascal Publishing House, the internet portal and seed capital fund Innovation Nest.

Knowledge and innovation community

Kraków is one of the co-location centres of Knowledge and Innovation Community (Sustainable Energy) of The European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT).[140]

InnoEnergy is an integrated alliance of reputable organisations from the education, research and industry sectors. It was created based on long standing links of cooperation as well as the principles of excellence. The partners have jointly developed a strategy to tackle the weaknesses of the European innovation landscape in the field of sustainable energy.[141]


Krakow, tram NGT6-2 n°2039
Bombardier city tram on Piłsudski Bridge

Public transport is based on a fairly dense network of tram and bus routes operated by a municipal company, supplemented by a number of private minibus operators. Local trains connect some of the suburbs. The bulk of the city's historic area has been turned into a pedestrian zone with rickshaws and horse-drawn carriages; however, the trams run within a three-block radius.[142] The historic means of transportation in the city can be examined at the Museum of Municipal Engineering in the Kazimierz district, with many old trams, cars and buses.[143]

Railway connections are available to most Polish cities, e.g. Katowice, Częstochowa, Szczecin, Gdynia and Warsaw. International destinations include Bratislava, Budapest, Vienna, Prague, Berlin, Hamburg, Lviv, Kiev, and Odessa (June–September).[144] The main railway station is located just outside the Old Town District and is well-served by public transport.

Kraków's airport, officially named Kraków John Paul II International Airport (IATA: KRK), is located 11 km (7 mi) west of the city. Direct trains cover the route between Kraków Główny train station and the airport in 20 minutes. Kraków Airport served around 5,800,000 passengers in 2017.[145] Also, the Katowice International Airport is located 80 kilometres (50 miles) or about 75 minutes from Kraków.[146]

In Autumn 2016 Poland's oldest Bicycle-sharing system was modernized and now offers 1,500 bikes at 150 stations under the name of Wavelo (pl), which is owned by BikeU of the French multinational company Egis.[147]


Kraków had a recorded population of 767,348 in 2017. According to the 2006 data,[148] the population of Kraków comprised about 2% of the population of Poland and 23% of the population of the Lesser Poland Voivodeship. Selected demographic indicators are presented in a table (below), compiled on the basis of only the population living in Kraków permanently. The larger metropolitan area of the city encompasses a territory in which (in 2010) 1,393,893 inhabitants live.[149]

Already in the Middle Ages, the population of Kraków consisting of numerous ethnic groups, began to grow rapidly.[150] It doubled between 1100 and 1300 from 5,000 to 10,000, and in 1400 counted 14,000 inhabitants. By 1550, the population of metropolitan Kraków was 18,000; although it went down to 15,000 in the next fifty years due to calamity.[151][152] By the early 17th century the Kraków population had reached 28,000 inhabitants.[153]

Population breakdown
 Years   Kraków 
in thousands
Population density
Number of women
per 100 men
Population growth
per 1000
Source: Tabl. 1 (27).[148]

In the historical 1931 census preceding World War II, 78.1% of Cracovians declared Polish as their primary language, with Yiddish or Hebrew at 20.9%, Ukrainian 0.4%, German 0.3%, and Russian 0.1%.[154] The ravages of history have greatly reduced the percentage of ethnic minorities living in Kraków.

In the 2002 census, 1,895 of Kraków's inhabitants declared non-Polish national identity, the most numerous were: Romani people (264), Ukrainians (255) and Russians (141).[155]

Population growth in Kraków since 1791


Wawel katedra2
Wawel Cathedral, home to royal coronations and resting place of many national heroes; considered to be Poland's national sanctuary

The metropolitan city of Kraków is known as the city of churches. The abundance of landmark, historic temples along with the plenitude of monasteries and convents earned the city a countrywide reputation as the "Northern Rome" in the past. The churches of Kraków comprise over 120 places of worship (2007) of which over 65 were built in the 20th century. More are still being added.[156] In addition to Roman Catholicism, other denominations present include Jehovah's Witnesses,[157] Mariavite Church, Polish Catholic Church, Polish Orthodox Church, Protestantism and Latter-Day Saints.[158]

Kraków - St. Mary Church 01
Saint Mary's Basilica (Kościół Mariacki)

Kraków contains also an outstanding collection of monuments of Jewish sacred architecture unmatched anywhere in Poland. Kraków was an influential centre of Jewish spiritual life before the outbreak of World War II, with all its manifestations of religious observance from Orthodox to Chasidic and Reform flourishing side by side. There were at least 90 synagogues in Kraków active before the Nazi German invasion of Poland, serving its burgeoning Jewish community of 60,000–80,000 (out of the city's total population of 237,000), established since the early 12th century.[159]

Most synagogues of Kraków were ruined during World War II by the Nazis who despoiled them of all ceremonial objects, and used them as storehouses for ammunition, firefighting equipment, as general storage facilities and stables. The post-Holocaust Jewish population of the city had dwindled to about 5,900 before the end of the 1940s. Poland was the only Eastern Bloc country to allow free Jewish aliyah without visas or exit permits upon the conclusion of World War II.[160] By contrast, Stalin forcibly kept Soviet Jews in the USSR, as agreed to in the Yalta Conference.[161] In recent time, thanks to efforts of the local Jewish and Polish organisations including foreign financial aid from the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee, many synagogues underwent major restorations and serve religious and tourist purposes.[162]


Kraków is a major centre of education. Twenty-four institutions of higher education offer courses in the city, with more than 200,000 students.[163] Jagiellonian University, the oldest university in Poland and ranked by the Times Higher Education Supplement as the second-best university in the country,[164][165] was founded in 1364 as Studium Generale[166] and renamed in 1817 to commemorate the Jagiellonian dynasty of Polish-Lithuanian kings.[167] Its principal academic asset is the Jagiellonian Library, with more than 4 million volumes, including a large collection of medieval manuscripts[168] like Copernicus' De Revolutionibus and the Balthasar Behem Codex. With 42,325 students (2005) and 3,605 academic staff, the Jagiellonian University is also one of the leading research centres in Poland. Famous historical figures connected with the University include Saint John Cantius, Jan Długosz, Nicolaus Copernicus, Andrzej Frycz Modrzewski, Jan Kochanowski, King John III Sobieski, Pope John Paul II and Nobel laureates Ivo Andrić and Wisława Szymborska.[169]

AGH University of Science and Technology, established in 1919, is the largest technical university in Poland, with more than 15 faculties and student enrollment exceeding 30,000.[170] It was ranked by the Polish edition of Newsweek as the best technical university in the country in 2004.[171] During its 80-year history, more than 73,000 students graduated from AGH with master's or bachelor's degrees. Some 3,600 persons were granted the degree of Doctor of Science, and about 900 obtained the qualification of Habilitated Doctor.[172]

Other institutions of higher learning include Academy of Music in Kraków first conceived as conservatory in 1888, one of the oldest and most prestigious conservatories in Central Europe and a major concert venue;[173] Cracow University of Economics, established in 1925;[174] Pedagogical University, in operation since 1946;[175] Agricultural University of Krakow, offering courses since 1890 (initially as a part of Jagiellonian University);[176] Academy of Fine Arts, the oldest Fine Arts Academy in Poland, founded by the Polish painter Jan Matejko; Ludwik Solski Academy for the Dramatic Arts;[177] The Pontifical Academy of Theology;[178] and Krakow University of Technology, which has more than 37,000 graduates.

Scientific societies and their branches in Kraków conduct scientific and educational work in local and countrywide scale. Academy of Learning, Krakow Scientific Society, Association of Law Students' Library of the Jagiellonian University, Polish Copernicus Society of Naturalists, Polish Geological Society, Polish Theological Society in Kraków, Polish Section of Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers and Polish Society for Synchrotron Radiation have in Kraków their main seats.


Kraków was named the official European Capital of Culture for the year 2000 by the European Union.[179] It is a major attraction for both local and international tourists, attracting nearly 13 million visitors a year.[180] Major landmarks include the Main Market Square with St. Mary's Basilica and the Sukiennice Cloth Hall, the Wawel Castle, the National Art Museum, the Zygmunt Bell at the Wawel Cathedral, and the medieval St. Florian's Gate with the Barbican along the Royal Coronation Route.[181] Kraków has 28 museums and public art galleries. Among them is the Czartoryski Museum featuring works by Leonardo da Vinci and Rembrandt as well as the EUROPEUM - European Culture Centre and the Archaeological Museum of Kraków whose collection highlights include the Zbruch Idol and the Bronocice Pot.

Museums and national art galleries

Kraków, Gmach Główny Muzeum Narodowego - (255212)
The National Museum in Kraków is one of Poland's finest galleries of art

Kraków's 28 museums are separated into the national and municipal museums; the city also has a number of art collections and public art galleries. The National Museum, established in 1879, as well as the National Art Collection on Wawel Hill, are all accessible to the general public and well patroned.

The National Art Collection is located at the Wawel, the former residence of three dynasties of Polish monarchs. Royal Chambers feature art, period furniture, Polish and European paintings, collectibles, and an unsurpassed display of the 16th-century monumental Flemish tapestries. Wawel Treasury and Armoury features Polish royal memorabilia, jewels, applied art, and 15th- to 18th-century arms. The Wawel Eastern Collection features Turkish tents and military accessories. The National Museum is the richest museum in the country with collections consisting of several hundred thousand items kept in big part in the Main Building at Ul. 3 Maja, although there are as many as eleven separate divisions of the museum in the city, one of the most popular being The Gallery of the 19th Century Polish Art in Sukiennice with the collection of some of the best known paintings and sculptures of the Young Poland movement. The latest division called Europeum with Brueghel among a hundred Western European paintings was inaugurated in 2013.[182]

Centrum kongresowe - Kraków
Kraków Congress Centre - the business and cultural flagship of the city

Other major museums of special interest in Kraków include the Manggha Museum of Japanese Art and Technology (at M. Konopnickiej 26),[183] Stanisław Wyspiański Museum (at 11 Szczepanska St),[183] Jan Matejko Manor in Krzesławice,[52] – a museum devoted to the master painter and his life, Emeryk Hutten Czapski Museum,[184] and Józef Mehoffer Manor.[183]

The Rynek Underground museum, under the main square, is an evocative modern display of Kraków's 1000+ years of history though its streets, activities and artifacts. This followed the massively extended excavations which started in a small way in 2005[185] and, as more and more was found, ran on eventually to 2010.

A half-an-hour tram-ride takes you to the little-heralded Polish Aviation Museum considered eighth world's best aviation museum by CNN and featuring over 200 aircraft including a Sopwith Camel among other First World War biplanes; a comprehensive display of aero engines; and essentially a complete collection of airplane types developed by Poland after 1945.[186] Activities of small museums around Kraków and in the Lesser Poland region are promoted and supported by the Małopolska Institute of Culture; the Institute organises annual Małopolska Heritage Days.[187]

Performing arts

Juliusz Słowacki Theatre, Kraków
20110514 Krakow Teatr Slowackiego 9264
Kraków's renowned Juliusz Słowacki Theatre.

The city has several famous theatres, including the Narodowy Stary Teatr (the National Old Theatre),[188] the Juliusz Słowacki Theatre, the Bagatela Theatre, the Ludowy Theatre, and the Groteska Theatre of Puppetry, as well as the Opera Krakowska and Kraków Operetta. The city's principal concert hall and the home of the Kraków Philharmonic Orchestra is the Kraków Philharmonic (Filharmonia Krakowska) built in 1931.[189]

Kraków hosts many annual and biannual artistic events,[190] some of international significance such as the Misteria Paschalia (Baroque music), Sacrum-Profanum (contemporary music), the Krakow Screen Festival (popular music), the Festival of Polish Music (classical music), Dedications (theatre), the Kraków Film Festival (one of Europe's oldest short films events),[191] Etiuda&Anima International Film Festival (the oldest international art-film event in Poland), Biennial of Graphic Arts, and the Jewish Culture Festival. Kraków was the residence of two Polish Nobel laureates in literature, Wisława Szymborska and Czesław Miłosz; a third Nobel laureate, the Yugoslav writer Ivo Andric, lived and studied in Kraków. Other former longtime residents include internationally renowned Polish film directors Andrzej Wajda and Roman Polanski, both of whom are Academy Award winners.


Kraków - Filharmonia 01
Concert hall of the Kraków Philharmonic

Opera Krakowska[192] one of the leading national opera companies, stages 200 performances each year including ballet, operettas and musicals. It has, in its main repertoire, the greatest world and Polish opera classics. The Opera moved into its first permanent House in the autumn of 2008. It is in charge also of the Summer Festival of Opera and Operetta.

Kraków is home to two major Polish festivals of early music presenting forgotten Baroque oratorios and operas: Opera Rara,[193] and Misteria Paschalia.[194] Meanwhile, Capella Cracoviensis runs the Music in Old Krakow International Festival.

Academy of Music in Kraków, founded in 1888, is known worldwide as the alma mater of the contemporary Polish composer Krzysztof Penderecki and it is also the only one in Poland to have two winners of the International Chopin Competition in Warsaw among its alumni. The Academy organises concerts of its students and guests throughout the whole year.[195]

Music organisations and venues include: Kraków Philharmonic,[196] Sinfonietta Cracovia (a.k.a. the Orchestra of the Royal City of Kraków), the Polish Radio Choir of Kraków, Organum Academic Choir, the Mixed Mariański Choir (Mieszany Chór Mariański), Kraków Academic Choir of the Jagiellonian University, the Kraków Chamber Choir, Amar Corde String Quartet, Consortium Iagellonicum Baroque Orchestra of the Jagiellonian University, Brass Band of T. Sendzimir Steelworks, and Camerata Chamber Orchestra of Radio Kraków.


According to recent official statistics, in 2017 Kraków was visited by around 12.9 million tourists including 3 million foreign travellers. The visitors spent over 5.4 billion złoty (€1.2 billion) in the city (without travel costs and pre-booked accommodations). Most foreign tourists came from Germany (13,2%), Great Britain (13,1%), Italy (11%), France (8,5%) and Spain (8%).[197] The Kraków tour-guide from the Lesser Poland Visitors Bureau indicated that not all statistics are recorded due to considerable number of those who come, staying in readily available private rooms paid by cash, especially from Eastern Europe.[198]

The main reasons for visiting the city are: its historical monuments, recreation as well as relatives and friends (placing third in the ranking), religion and business. There are 120 quality hotels in Kraków (usually about half full) offering 15,485 overnight accommodations.[199] The average stay last for about 4 to 7 nights. The survey conducted among the travelers showed that they enjoyed the city's friendliness most, with 90% of Polish tourists and 87% foreigners stating that they would personally recommend visiting it.[198] Notable points of interest outside the city include the Wieliczka salt mine, the Tatra Mountains 100 km (62 mi) to the south, the historic city of Częstochowa (north-west), the well-preserved former Nazi concentration camp at Auschwitz, and Ojcowski National Park,[200] which includes the Renaissance Castle at Pieskowa Skała.[201] Kraków has been awarded a number of top international rankings such as the 1st place in the Top city-break destinations 2014 survey conducted by the British Which?.[202]


Kraków was the host city of the 2014 FIVB Men's Volleyball World Championship and 2016 European Men's Handball Championship. It has also been selected as the European City of Sport for 2014.[203]

Football is one of the most popular sports in the city.[204] The two teams with the largest following are thirteen-time Polish champion Wisła Kraków,[205] and five-time champion Cracovia,[206] both founded in 1906 as the oldest still existing in Poland.[207] They have been involved in the most intense rivalry in the country and one of the most intense in all of Europe, known as the Holy War (Święta Wojna).[208] Other football clubs include Hutnik Kraków, Wawel Kraków, and one-time Polish champion Garbarnia Kraków. There is also the first-league rugby club Juvenia Kraków. Kraków has a number of additional, equally valued sports teams including twelve-time Polish ice hockey champions Cracovia and the twenty-time women's basketball champions Wisła Kraków.

Stade Józef Piłsudski
Cracovia Stadium

The Cracovia Marathon, with over a thousand participants from two dozen countries annually, has been held in the city since 2002.[209] Poland's first F1 racing driver Robert Kubica was born and brought up in Kraków, as was former WWE tag team champion Ivan Putski, and Top 10 ranked women's tennis player Agnieszka Radwańska.

The construction of a new Kraków Arena began in May 2011; for concerts, indoor athletics, hockey, basketball, futsal, etc. The Arena will be ready in 2013; the total cost is estimated to be 363 million Polish złoty. It will accommodate up to 15 thousand viewers. In the case of a concert, when the stage is set on the lower arena, the facility will be able to seat up to 18 thousand people.

Kraków was bidding to host the 2022 Winter Olympics with Jasná but the bid was rejected by a majority (69.72%) of the vote in a referendum on 16 May 2014. The referendum was organised after a wave of criticism from citizens who believed that the Olympics would not promote the city. The organizing committee of "Krakow 2022" spent almost $40,000 to pay for a citizen-approved logo, but many citizens considered this a waste of public money. The committee was rumoured to have fraudulently used several million zlotys for unknown expenses.

International relations

Contemporary foreign names for the city

Kraków is referred to by various names in different languages. An old English name for the city is Cracow; though it has become less common in recent decades, some sources still use it. The city is known in Czech, Slovak and Serbian as Krakov, in Hungarian as Krakkó, in Lithuanian as Krokuva, in Finnish as Krakova, in German and Dutch as Krakau, in Latin, Spanish and Italian as Cracovia, in French as Cracovie, in Portuguese as Cracóvia and in Russian as Краков. Ukrainian and Yiddish languages refer to it as Krakiv (Краків) and Kroke (קראָקע‎) respectively.[210]

Twin towns and sister cities

Kraków is twinned, or maintains close relations, with 34 cities around the world:[211][212][213]

See also


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  • Simpson, Scott; Zukowska, Helena (15 April 2008). Travellers Kraków, 3rd: Guides to Destinations Worldwide (Fourth ed.). Peterborough, United Kingdom: Thomas Cook Publishing. ISBN 978-1-84157-901-6. Retrieved 11 March 2010.
  • Jane Hardy, Al Rainnie, Restructuring Krakow: Desperately Seeking Capitalism. Published 1996 by Mansell Publishing, 285 pages. Business, economics, finance. ISBN 0-7201-2231-7.
  • Edward Hartwig, Kraków, with Jerzy Broszkiewicz (contributor). Published 1980, by Sport i Turystyka, 239 pages. ISBN 83-217-2321-7.
  • Bolesław T. Łaszewski, Kraków: karta z dziejów dwudziestolecia. Published 1985, by Bicentennial Pub. Corp. (original from the University of Michigan), 132 pages. ISBN 0-912757-08-6
  • Joanna Markin, Bogumiła Gnypowa, Kraków: The Guide. Published 1996 by Pascal Publishing, 342 pages. ISBN 83-87037-28-1.
  • Tim Pepper, Andrew Beattie, Krakow. Published 2007 by Hunter Pub Inc., 160 pages. ISBN 1-84306-308-5. The book includes description of public art galleries and museums.
  • Scott Simpson, Krakow. Published 2003 by Thomas Cook, 192 pages. Transport, geography, sightseeing, history, and culture. Includes weblinks CD. ISBN 1-84157-187-3.
  • Dorota Wąsik, Emma Roper-Evans, Krakow. Published 2002 by Somerset. Cultural guidebook series, 160 pages. ISBN 963-00-5930-4.
  • Richard Watkins, Best of Kraków, Published 2006, by Lonely Planet, 64 pages, complemented by fold-out maps. ISBN 1-74104-822-2.
  • Martin C. Dean, Mel Hecker, and Geoffrey P. Megargee. The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Encyclopedia of Camps and Ghettos, 1933–1945. Vol. II: Ghettos in German-Occupied Eastern Europe. Published 2012 by Indiana University Press, 1,040 pages. ISBN 978-0-253-35599-7.

External links

Amon Göth

"Göth" and "Goeth" redirect here; see Goeth (surname) for a discussion of this and related surnames.Amon Leopold Göth (pronounced [ˈɡøːt]; alternative spelling Goeth; 11 December 1908 – 13 September 1946; audio ) was an Austrian SS functionary during the Nazi era. He served as the commandant of the Kraków-Płaszów concentration camp in Płaszów in German-occupied Poland for most of the camp's existence during World War II.

Göth was tried after the war by the Supreme National Tribunal of Poland at Kraków and was found guilty of personally ordering the imprisonment, torture, and extermination of individuals and groups of people. He was also convicted of homicide, the first such conviction at a war crimes trial, for "personally killing, maiming and torturing a substantial, albeit unidentified number of people."Göth was executed by hanging not far from the former site of the Płaszów camp. The 1993 film Schindler's List, where Göth is portrayed by Ralph Fiennes, depicts his running of the Płaszów concentration camp.

Archbishop of Kraków

The Archbishop of Kraków is the head of the archdiocese of Kraków. A bishop of Kraków first came into existence when the diocese was created in 1000; it was promoted to an archdiocese on 28 October 1925. Due to Kraków's role as Poland's political, cultural and spiritual center, the bishops and archbishops of Kraków were often very influential in the city, country and abroad. From 1443 to 1791, bishops of Kraków were simultaneously Dukes of Siewierz, although it was only Adam Stefan Sapieha who officially abandoned the title.


The Ekstraklasa (Polish pronunciation: [ˌɛkstraˈklasa]), named Lotto Ekstraklasa since the 2016–17 season due to its sponsorship by Lotto, is the top Polish professional league for men's association football teams (it is the country's primary football competition). The winner of the Ekstraklasa claims the Polish national championship. Contested by 16 clubs, operating a system of promotion and relegation with the I liga, seasons start in July, and end in May or June the following year. Teams play a total of 37 games each, totalling 296 matches in the season. Games are played on Fridays, Saturdays, Sundays and Mondays. The winner of the Ekstraklasa qualifies for the Polish SuperCup. The Ekstraklasa is now operated by the Ekstraklasa SA (English: Ekstraklasa Joint-stock company).

The Ekstraklasa (former I liga) was officially formed as Liga Polska on 4–5 December 1926 in Warsaw, since 1 March 1927 as Liga Piłki Nożnej (Polish pronunciation: [ˈlʲiɡa ˈpiwki ˈnɔʐnɛj]), but the Polish Football Association (Polish: Polski Związek Piłki Nożnej, PZPN) had been in existence since 20 December 1919, a year after the independence of Poland in 1918. The first games of the freshly created league took place on 3 April 1927, while first national non-league football championship took place in 1920.

A total of 81 teams have played in the top division of Polish football since the founding of the league, of which 16 clubs have won the title. The current champions are Piast Gliwice, who won their first-ever title in 2018–19 season.

Jagiellonian University

The Jagiellonian University (Polish: Uniwersytet Jagielloński; Latin: Universitas Iagellonica Cracoviensis, also known as the University of Kraków) is a research university in Kraków, Poland.

Founded in 1364 by Casimir III the Great, the Jagiellonian University is the oldest university in Poland, the second oldest university in Central Europe, and one of the oldest surviving universities in the world. Notable alumni include, among others, mathematician and astronomer Nicolaus Copernicus, poet Jan Kochanowski, Polish king John III Sobieski, constitutional reformer Hugo Kołłątaj, chemist Karol Olszewski, anthropologist Bronisław Malinowski, writer Stanisław Lem and the President of Poland Andrzej Duda. Among its students who did not earn a diploma were also Karol Wojtyła, future Pope John Paul II (studying Polish philology for one year), and Nobel laureates Ivo Andrić and Wisława Szymborska.

The campus of the Jagiellonian University is centrally located within the city of Kraków. The university consists of fifteen faculties, including the humanities, law, the natural and social sciences, and medicine. The university employs roughly 4,000 academics, and has more than 40,000 students who study in some 80 disciplines. More than half of the student body are women. The language of instruction is usually Polish, although several degrees are offered in either German or English. The university library is one of Poland's largest, and houses several medieval manuscripts, including Copernicus' De Revolutionibus.

Due to its history, the Jagiellonian University is traditionally considered Poland's most reputable institution of higher learning, this standing equally being reflected in international rankings. The Jagiellonian University is a member of the Coimbra Group and Europaeum.

In 2018, the Academic Ranking of World Universities placed the university within the 401–500 band globally.

Jan Matejko

Jan Alojzy Matejko (Polish pronunciation: [jan aˈlɔjzɨ maˈtɛjko] (listen); also known as Jan Mateyko; 24 June 1838 – 1 November 1893) was a Polish painter known for paintings of notable historical Polish political and military events. His works include large oil on canvas paintings like Rejtan (1866), Union of Lublin (1869) or Battle of Grunwald (1878), numerous portraits, a gallery of Polish kings, and murals in St. Mary's Basilica, Kraków. He is referred to as the most famous Polish painter or even the "national painter" of Poland.Matejko spent most of his life in Kraków. His teachers at the Kraków Academy of Fine Arts included Wojciech Korneli Stattler and Władysław Łuszczkiewicz. Later, he became a director at this institution, which eventually was renamed the Jan Matejko Academy of Fine Arts. A number of his students became prominent painters themselves, including Maurycy Gottlieb, Jacek Malczewski, Józef Mehoffer and Stanisław Wyspiański.

Jan Matejko Academy of Fine Arts

The Jan Matejko Academy of Fine Arts in Krakow (Polish: Akademia Sztuk Pięknych im. Jana Matejki w Krakowie, usually abbreviated to ASP), is a public institution of higher learning located in downtown Kraków, Poland. It is the oldest Polish fine arts academy, established in 1818 and granted full autonomy in 1873.

ASP is a state-run university that offers 5- and 6-year Master's degree programs. As of 2007, the Academy's faculty comprised 94 professors and assistant professors as well as 147 Ph.D.s.

KS Cracovia (football)

KS Cracovia, commonly known simply as Cracovia (Polish pronunciation: [kraˈkɔvʲa]), is a Polish sports club based in Kraków. Cracovia is the oldest Polish football club still in existence (teams from Lwów were a few years older, but the city of Lwów was occupied and subsequently annexed by the Soviet Union in September 1939 and is now part of Ukraine), and has continually participated in competition since its founding on 13 June 1906

Kraków-Płaszów concentration camp

Płaszów (Polish pronunciation: [ˈpwaʂuf]) or Kraków-Płaszów (German: Konzentrationslager Plaszow) was a Nazi German labour and concentration camp built by the SS in Płaszów, a southern suburb of Kraków (now part of Podgórze district), soon after the German invasion of Poland and the subsequent creation of the semi-colonial General Government district across occupied south-central Poland.

Kraków County

Kraków County (Polish: powiat krakowski) is a unit of territorial administration and local government (powiat) in Lesser Poland Voivodeship, southern Poland. It came into being on January 1, 1999, as a result of the Polish local government reforms passed in 1998. Its administrative seat is the city of Kraków, although the city is not part of the county (it constitutes a separate city county). The county contains five towns: Skawina, 12 km (7 mi) south-west of Kraków, Krzeszowice, 24 km (15 mi) west of Kraków, Słomniki, 24 km (15 mi) north-east of Kraków, Skała, 20 km (12 mi) north of Kraków, and Świątniki Górne, 15 km (9 mi) south of Kraków.

The county covers an area of 1,229.62 square kilometres (474.8 sq mi). As of 2006 its total population is 244,970, out of which the population of Skawina is 23,691, that of Krzeszowice is 9,942, that of Słomniki is 4,331, that of Skała is 3,693, that of Świątniki Górne is 2,101, and the rural population is 201,212.

Kraków Ghetto

The Kraków Ghetto was one of five major, metropolitan Jewish Ghettos created by Nazi Germany in the new General Government territory during the German occupation of Poland in World War II. It was established for the purpose of exploitation, terror, and persecution of local Polish Jews, as well as the staging area for separating the "able workers" from those who would later be deemed unworthy of life. The Ghetto was liquidated between June 1942 and March 1943, with most of its inhabitants sent to their deaths at Bełżec extermination camp as well as Płaszów slave-labor camp, and Auschwitz concentration camp, 60 kilometres (37 mi) rail distance.

Kraków John Paul II International Airport

Kraków John Paul II International Airport (Polish: Kraków Airport im. Jana Pawła II since 4 September 2007; earlier in Polish: Międzynarodowy Port Lotniczy im. Jana Pawła II Kraków–Balice) (IATA: KRK, ICAO: EPKK) is an international airport located near Kraków, in the village of Balice, 11 km (6.8 mi) west of the city centre, in southern Poland. It is the second busiest airport of the country in terms of the volume of passengers served annually.

Kraków Old Town

Kraków Old Town is the historic central district of Kraków, Poland. It is one of the most famous old districts in Poland today and was the center of Poland's political life from 1038 until King Sigismund III Vasa relocated his court to Warsaw in 1596.

The entire medieval old town is among the first sites chosen for the UNESCO's original World Heritage List, inscribed as Cracow's Historic Centre. The old town is also one of Poland's official national Historic Monuments (Pomnik historii) chosen in the first round, as designated September 16, 1994, and tracked by the National Heritage Board of Poland.

The Old Town is known in Polish as Stare Miasto. It is part of the city's first administrative district which is also named "Stare Miasto," although it covers a wider area than the Old Town itself.

Medieval Kraków was surrounded by a 1.9 mile (3 km) defensive wall complete with 46 towers and seven main entrances leading through them. The fortifications around the Old Town were erected over the course of two centuries. The current architectural plan of Stare Miasto – the 13th-century merchants' town – was drawn up in 1257 after the destruction of the city during the Tatar invasions of 1241 followed by raids of 1259 and repelled in 1287. The district features the centrally located Rynek Główny, or Main Square, the largest medieval town square of any European city. There is a number of historic landmarks in its vicinity, such as St. Mary's Basilica (Kościół Mariacki), Church of St. Wojciech (St. Adalbert's), Church of St. Barbara, as well as other national treasures. At the center of the plaza, surrounded by kamienice (row houses) and noble residences, stands the Renaissance cloth hall Sukiennice (currently housing gift shops, restaurants and merchant stalls) with the National Gallery of Art upstairs. It is flanked by the Town Hall Tower (Wieża ratuszowa).

The whole district is bisected by the Royal Road, the coronation route traversed by the Kings of Poland. The Route begins at St. Florian's Church outside the northern flank of the old city walls in the medieval suburb of Kleparz; passes the Barbican of Kraków (Barbakan) built in 1499, and enters Stare Miasto through the Florian Gate. It leads down Floriańska Street through the Main Square, and up Grodzka to Wawel, the former seat of Polish royalty overlooking the Vistula river.

In the 19th century most of the Old Town fortifications were demolished. The moat encircling the walls was filled in and turned into a green belt known as Planty Park.

Lesser Poland

Lesser Poland, often known by its Polish name Małopolska (Latin: Polonia Minor), is a historical region of Poland; its capital is the city of Kraków.

It should not be confused with the modern Lesser Poland Voivodeship, which covers only the south-western part of Lesser Poland (darker rose on map to the right).Historical Lesser Poland was much bigger than the current voivodeship that bears its name. It reached from Bielsko-Biała in the south-west as far as to Siedlce in the north-east. It consisted of the three voivodeships of Kraków, Sandomierz and Lublin.

It comprised almost 60,000 km2 in area; today's population in this area is about 9,000,000 inhabitants. Its landscape is mainly hilly, with the Carpathian Mountains in the south; it is located in the basin of the upper Vistula River. It has been noted for its mighty aristocracy (magnateria) and rich nobility (szlachta).In the wider sense (see Lesser Poland Province of the Polish Crown), Lesser Poland from the 14th century also encompassed Red Ruthenia. From the 16th century it included Podlachia, Podolia and parts of modern Ukraine.

In the era of partitions, the southern part, known as Galicia, was sometimes also called Lesser Poland. As a result of this long-lasting division, many inhabitants of the northern part of the pre-partition region of Poland (including those in such cities as Lublin, Radom, Kielce and Częstochowa) do not recognize their Lesser Polish identity.

However, while Lublin (Lubelskie) was declared an independent Voivodeship as early as 1474, it still has speakers of the Lesser Polish dialect. In addition, it has various local traditions as well as cuisine that have been carried forward since the time of Lesser Poland.

Lesser Poland Voivodeship

Lesser Poland Voivodeship or Lesser Poland Province (in Polish: województwo małopolskie [vɔjɛˈvut͡stfɔ mawɔˈpɔlskʲɛ]), also known as Małopolska Voivodeship or Małopolska Province, is a voivodeship (province), in southern Poland. It has an area of 15,108 square kilometres (5,833 sq mi), and a population of 3,267,731 (2006).

It was created on 1 January 1999 out of the former Kraków, Tarnów, Nowy Sącz and parts of Bielsko-Biała, Katowice, Kielce and Krosno Voivodeships, pursuant to the Polish local government reforms adopted in 1998. The province's name recalls the traditional name of a historic Polish region, Lesser Poland, or in Polish: Małopolska. Current Lesser Poland Voivodeship, however, covers only a small part of the broader ancient Małopolska region which, together with Greater Poland (Wielkopolska) and Silesia (Śląsk), formed the early medieval Polish state. Historic Lesser Poland is much larger than the current province. It stretches far north, to Radom, and Siedlce, also including such cities, as Stalowa Wola, Lublin, Kielce, Częstochowa, and Sosnowiec.

The province is bounded on the north by the Świętokrzyskie Mountains (Góry Świętokrzyskie), on the west by Jura Krakowsko-Częstochowska (a broad range of hills stretching from Kraków to Częstochowa), and on the south by the Tatra,

Pieniny and Beskidy Mountains. Politically it is bordered by Silesian Voivodeship to the west, Świętokrzyskie Voivodeship to the north, Subcarpathian Voivodeship to the east, and Slovakia (Prešov Region and Žilina Regions) to the south.

Almost all of Lesser Poland lies in the Vistula River catchment area. The city of Kraków was one of the European Cities of Culture in 2000. Kraków has railway and road connections with Katowice (expressway), Warsaw, Wrocław and Rzeszów. It lies at the crossroads of major international routes linking Dresden with Kiev, and Gdańsk with Budapest. Located here is the second largest international airport in Poland (after Warsaw's), the John Paul II International Airport.

Oskar Schindler

Oskar Schindler (28 April 1908 – 9 October 1974) was a German industrialist and a member of the Nazi Party who is credited with saving the lives of 1,200 Jews during the Holocaust by employing them in his enamelware and ammunitions factories in occupied Poland and the Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia. He is the subject of the 1982 novel Schindler's Ark and its 1993 film adaptation, Schindler's List, which reflected his life as an opportunist initially motivated by profit, who came to show extraordinary initiative, tenacity, courage, and dedication to save the lives of his Jewish employees.

Schindler grew up in Svitavy, Moravia, and worked in several trades until he joined the Abwehr, the military intelligence service of Nazi Germany, in 1936. He joined the Nazi Party in 1939. Prior to the German occupation of Czechoslovakia in 1938, he collected information on railways and troop movements for the German government. He was arrested for espionage by the Czechoslovak government but was released under the terms of the Munich Agreement in 1938. Schindler continued to collect information for the Nazis, working in Poland in 1939 before the invasion of Poland at the start of World War II. In 1939, Schindler acquired an enamelware factory in Kraków, Poland, which employed at the factory's peak in 1944 about 1,750 workers, of whom 1,000 were Jews. His Abwehr connections helped Schindler protect his Jewish workers from deportation and death in the Nazi concentration camps. As time went on, Schindler had to give Nazi officials ever larger bribes and gifts of luxury items obtainable only on the black market to keep his workers safe.

By July 1944, Germany was losing the war; the SS began closing down the easternmost concentration camps and deporting the remaining prisoners westward. Many were killed in Auschwitz and the Gross-Rosen concentration camp. Schindler convinced SS-Hauptsturmführer Amon Göth, commandant of the nearby Kraków-Płaszów concentration camp, to allow him to move his factory to Brněnec in the Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia, thus sparing his workers from almost certain death in the gas chambers. Using names provided by Jewish Ghetto Police officer Marcel Goldberg, Göth's secretary Mietek Pemper compiled and typed the list of 1,200 Jews who travelled to Brünnlitz in October 1944. Schindler continued to bribe SS officials to prevent the execution of his workers until the end of World War II in Europe in May 1945, by which time he had spent his entire fortune on bribes and black market purchases of supplies for his workers.

Schindler moved to West Germany after the war, where he was supported by assistance payments from Jewish relief organisations. After receiving a partial reimbursement for his wartime expenses, he moved with his wife Emilie to Argentina, where they took up farming. When he went bankrupt in 1958, Schindler left his wife and returned to Germany, where he failed at several business ventures and relied on financial support from Schindlerjuden ("Schindler Jews")—the people whose lives he had saved during the war. He and his wife Emilie were named Righteous Among the Nations by the Israeli government in 1993. He died on 9 October 1974 in Hildesheim, Germany, and was buried in Jerusalem on Mount Zion, the only member of the Nazi Party to be honoured in this way.

Schindler's List

Schindler's List is a 1993 American epic historical period drama film directed and co-produced by Steven Spielberg and written by Steven Zaillian. It is based on the novel Schindler's Ark by Australian novelist Thomas Keneally. The film follows Oskar Schindler, a Sudeten German businessman, who saved the lives of more than a thousand mostly Polish-Jewish refugees from the Holocaust by employing them in his factories during World War II. It stars Liam Neeson as Schindler, Ralph Fiennes as SS officer Amon Göth, and Ben Kingsley as Schindler's Jewish accountant Itzhak Stern.

Ideas for a film about the Schindlerjuden (Schindler Jews) were proposed as early as 1963. Poldek Pfefferberg, one of the Schindlerjuden, made it his life's mission to tell the story of Schindler. Spielberg became interested in the story when executive Sidney Sheinberg sent him a book review of Schindler's Ark. Universal Pictures bought the rights to the novel, but Spielberg, unsure if he was ready to make a film about the Holocaust, tried to pass the project to several other directors before finally deciding to direct the film himself.

Principal photography took place in Kraków, Poland, over the course of 72 days in 1993. Spielberg shot the film in black and white and approached it as a documentary. Cinematographer Janusz Kamiński wanted to give the film a sense of timelessness. John Williams composed the score, and violinist Itzhak Perlman performs the film's main theme.

Schindler's List premiered on November 30, 1993, in Washington, D.C. and it was released on December 15, 1993, in the United States. Often listed among the greatest films ever made, it was also a box office success, earning $322 million worldwide on a $22 million budget. It was the recipient of seven Academy Awards (out of twelve nominations), including Best Picture, Best Director, Best Adapted Screenplay, and Best Original Score, as well as numerous other awards (including seven BAFTAs and three Golden Globes). In 2007, the American Film Institute ranked the film 8th on its list of the 100 best American films of all time. The Library of Congress selected it for preservation in the National Film Registry in 2004.

Wawel Cathedral

The Royal Archcathedral Basilica of Saints Stanislaus and Wenceslaus on the Wawel Hill (Polish: Królewska Bazylika Archikatedralna śś. Stanisława i Wacława na Wawelu), also known as the Wawel Cathedral (Polish: Katedra Wawelska), is a Roman Catholic church located on Wawel Hill in Kraków, Poland. More than 900 years old, it is the Polish national sanctuary and traditionally has served as coronation site of the Polish monarchs as well as the Cathedral of the Archdiocese of Kraków. Karol Wojtyla, who in 1978 became Pope John Paul II, the day after his ordination to the priesthood, offered his first Mass as a priest in the Crypt of the Cathedral on 2 November 1946, and was ordained Kraków's auxiliary bishop in the Cathedral on 28 September 1958.The current, Gothic cathedral, is the third edifice on this site: the first was constructed and destroyed in the 11th century; the second one, constructed in the 12th century, was destroyed by a fire in 1305. The construction of the current one began in the 14th century on the orders of bishop Nanker.

Wisła Kraków

Wisła Kraków (Polish pronunciation: [ˈviswa ˈkrakuf]) is a Polish football club based in Kraków. Wisła contends in Ekstraklasa, the top level of the Polish football league system. Wisła is one of the oldest and most successful Polish football clubs. It ranks third in the number of national titles won (13), behind Górnik Zabrze and Ruch Chorzów (14), and second in all-time victories. Wisła was founded in 1906 under the name TS Wisła (Polish Towarzystwo Sportowe Wisła).

The club's coat of arms is a white star on a red background crossed by a blue ribbon.

Wisła Kraków has been one of the most successful Polish football clubs in recent years, winning eight league championships since 1999. Along with league titles, Wisła also won the Polish Cup on four occasions. Wisła also enjoyed some success in European competitions in the 1970s, reaching the quarter-finals in the 1978–79 European Cup and winning the UEFA Intertoto Cup in 1969, 1970 and 1973.

Climate data for Kraków (KRK), 1981–2010 normals[a], extremes 1951–present
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °C (°F) 15.0
Average high °C (°F) 1.0
Daily mean °C (°F) −2.0
Average low °C (°F) −4.9
Record low °C (°F) −29.9
Average precipitation mm (inches) 39
Average rainy days 10 9 12 13 15 15 14 12 14 14 13 12 153
Average snowy days 13 14 9 3 0.03 0 0 0.03 0 1 6 14 60
Average relative humidity (%) 85 82 78 71 72 74 74 76 81 83 87 87 79
Mean monthly sunshine hours 40 56 89 134 182 192 203 188 129 103 48 32 1,396
Source #1:[90]
Source #2: NOAA[91][92]

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