The name of Kraków is traditionally derived from Krakus (Krak, Grakch), the legendary founder of Kraków and a ruler of the tribe of Lechitians (Poles).
|During the reign of Casimir the Restorer (1034-1058) Wawel became a significant political and administrative centre for the Polish State. Casimir’s son, Boleslas the Bold began the construction of a second Romanesque cathedral, which was finished by Boleslas the Wrymouth.|
|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.|
|The Renaissance Sukiennice (Cloth Hall, Drapers' Hall) is one of the city's most recognizable icons. It is the central feature of the Main Market Square in the Kraków Old Town, which has been listed as the UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1978. It was once a major centre of international trade. Traveling merchants met there to discuss business and to barter. During its golden age in the 15th century, Sukiennice was the source of a variety of exotic imports from the East – spices, silk, leather and wax – while Kraków itself exported textiles, lead, and salt from the Wieliczka Salt Mine.|
|Palm Sunday marks the official beginning of Poland’s Easter festivities – the country’s most sacred holiday. Leading up to the season you'll see decorative handmade palms for sale all over Kraków's market square. These traditional decorations made from a variety of dried flowers and plants are crafted in villages all over Poland. Palms are taken to church on Sunday to be blessed before decorating homes for the duration of the season.|
St. Mary's Basilica - Church of Our Lady Assumed into Heaven - is a Brick Gothic church re-built in the 14th century. Every hour on the half hour, a trumpet signal - called the Hejnał mariacki - is played from the top of the taller of St. Mary's two towers. The plaintive tune breaks off in mid-stream, to commemorate the famous 13th century trumpeter, who was shot in the throat while sounding the alarm before the Mongol attack on the city. The noon-time Hejnał is heard across Poland and abroad broadcast live by the Polish national Radio 1 Station.
|The Jagiellonian University was established in 1364 by Casimir III the Great in Kazimierz. It is the oldest university in Poland, the second oldest university in Central Europe and one of the oldest universities in the world.|
Marking the edge of the Old Town is Floriańska Gate. Completed in 1307 the gateway is one of the few surviving parts of the ancient defences that once circled the Old Town. Thirty-three metres tall, and topped with a Baroque roof that was added in 1657, the gate marks the main entrance into the old city, and was the original starting point for what was dubbed the Royal Road. It was through this gate that visiting kings, queens and nobility would enter the city on their way to Wawel.