History of Krakow


Home > Background > Background > History of Krakow

Archaeological excavations indicate that Wawel Hill was already inhabited thousand years BC. In 6th and 7th centuries first Slavic tribes arrived into this region and started to replace Celtic and Germanic cultures. By the end of 8th century Krakow became an important stronghold, this was the time of legendary King Krak – founder of the city, and his daughter – Queen Wanda.

965 – first written records of Krakow, made by a Jewish merchant – Ibrahim ibn Jakub

990 – 999 – Krakow was incorporated into State of Poland, exact date remains unknown

1000 – Bishopric was established in Krakow

1138 – Wawel Royal Castle became the seat of Poland’s Council of “Elders” and Krakow actually became a capital of Poland

1241 – Tatars’ invasion into Krakow which destroyed majority of the city. Today’s famous bugle call from the top of St Mary’s Church comes from that event to commemorate sudden break of sound when Tatar’s arrow pierced the throat of a bugler.

1257 – Krakow received town law and according to new urbanization plan of the city, centrally located Main Market Square was laid out.

1364 – King Kazimierz the Great founded Academia Cracoviensis, later transformed into Jagiellonian University

1386 – King Wladyslaw Jagiello was crowned starting the longest ruling Dynasty in Poland ever, which ruled the country for over 200 years. Krakow was the capital of monarchy which spread from root Polish land to far east Lithuanian and Russian regions.

1491 – 1495 – Famous astronomer Mikolaj Kopernik (Nicolaus Copernicus) studied in Krakow. His astronomical instruments are still kept in the Jagiellonian University Museum

1596 – after the fire at Wawel Castle, King Zygmunt III Vasa moved his residence to Warsaw which became a new capital of Poland

1702 – Krakow occupied by Swedish army, Wawel Castle was burnt again. City was heavily destroyed also by later invasions of Prussian and Russian armies.

1775 – first café in Krakow at 31 Main Market Square was opened.

1794 – After the second partition of Poland, southern part of Malopolska region was taken by Austrian army. In 1794 Kosciuszko’s Insurrection against invaders started in Krakow. It was unsuccessful one.

1795 – Third and last partition on Poland. Krakow was incorporated to Austria.

1810 – 1814 – Krakow’s fortifications were leveled and Planty gardens were laid in their place

1815 – 1846 – Free City of Krakow (Republic of Krakow) was created as a puppet state, dominated by Habsburg Empire

1918 – Poland regained independence after World War 1. Krakow became an important administrative and cultural centre of new country.

1939 – City avoided architectural damage but on 6th November 1939 the intellectual elite of the city including professors of Jagiellonian University were taken to concentration camp in Sachsenhausen and killed.

1941 – 1943 - Jewish Ghetto existed in Podgorze. At its peak contained 20,000 people.

1945 – Krakow was liberated by Soviet army. Communism era began in Poland.

1949 – Centrally planned communist city of Nowa Huta near Krakow was built.

1951 – Nowa Huta was incorporated into Krakow and became its biggest district.

1978 – Archbishop of Krakow, Karol Wojtyla became Pope John Paul II

1989 – end of communism regime in Poland after successful debates of Round Table in Warsaw.

« back


This site uses cookies. Some of the cookies we use are essential for parts of the site to operate and have already been set. You may delete and block all cookies from this site, but parts of the site will not work. OK