Kraków

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Kraków

Kraków on the Map

GPS N50.063751°,E19.944992°
Krakow (Cracow) lies in the southern part of Poland on the Vistula River in a valley at the foot of the Carpathian Plateau. It is a capital of Lesser Poland Voivodeship, as well as the third largest and one of the oldest cities in Poland.

The city covers an area of 327 square kilometres (126.2 square miles). It lies in a region of temperate climate. The population of Krakow is around 750,000 and 1,400,000 in the metropolitan area. The population density is 2,314 inhabitants per square kilometre.

The name of the city is derived from the name Krakus, the legendary founder of the city, the ruler of the Lechitian (Polish) tribe. Although the town originated in the 7th century, the first mention of Prince Krakus dated back to 1190. Krakow got the city rights on June 5, 1257.

For centuries Krakow was the capital of Poland (from 1038 to 1596), the seat of kings, drawing great scholars and artists from the whole world. It still remains the spiritual heart of Poland. In 2000 Krakow gained the status European Capital of Culture. It has 28 museums and public art galleries, some of the best in the country. It is a major centre of local and international tourism. Seven million visitors come here every year. To the most famous landmarks belong 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. The historic centre of the town (Old Town, Kazimier and the Wawel Castle) was inscribed in a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1978.

Krakow is ranked as the fourth industrial city in the country, with metallurgic, tobacco, and pharmaceutical industries dominating. The share of the private sector in Krakow industry has considerably increased over the past decade-and-a-half. International investment, tourism and the property market have grown toward the Western European average. Administratively, Kraków is divided into 18 administrative districts, each with a degree of autonomy within its own municipal government.

Krakow is a major center of education. It is a home to one of the oldest and most prominent universities in the country and in Europe. Cracow Academy, founded in 1364 has been known as Jagiellonian University since 1817. Besides this one, there are ten university- or academy-level institutions with 170,000 students.

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