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The Barbican was built between 1498-1499 and paid for by King Jan Olbracht. It is Gothic in style and used to be surrounded by a deep, 26 meter wide moat. There were two gates, one from Kleparz and the other from the city walls. The west gate used to be supported by 4 pillars. The Kraków Barbican is the largest and best preserved building of its kind in Europe. It is circular in construction, with 3 meter thick walls. Unfortunately it is not open for visiting in wintertime.


Krakow – Brief history

• In the 11th century, Krakow was the main seat of the first Polish kings of the Piast dynasty.
• In 1241, after a Tartar raid, the settlements situated around the Wawel Hill were greatly destroyed.
• In 1320, the first crowning ceremony of Ladislaus the Short in the Wawel Cathedral strengthened the rank of the capital city of Krakow.
• In 1333, under the last king from the Piast dynasty, Casimir the Great (1333-1370), the city became a rightful member of the Western culture.
• 1364 - The establishment of a university, renovated under King Ladislaus Jagiello (1386- 1434), the first King from the Jagiellon family. It was to become one of the most important European university schools. Many eminent scientists received their education here, including the great Nicolaus Copernicus.
• At the turn of the 15th and 16th centuries, the Jagellions forged the first dynastic power in Central Europe, and Krakow became the leading city in this part of the European continent. The Renaissance culture inspired by Italian, German and Dutch centers was in full bloom. After the death of King Sigismund Augustus, the last ruler of the Jagellion family, the age of bloom and development of Krakow came to an end.
• 1569 - Poland united with Lithuania. Krakow became situated on the periphery of the large country and gradually lost its political importance in favour of the centrally situated Warsaw.
• 1609 - King Sigismund III (1587-1632), the first Polish king of the Vasa dynasty, decided to transfer his seat to Warsaw.
• 1655 - Krakow was captured for the first time and plundered by the Swedes.
• 1795 - After the fall of Poland, Krakow became part of the Austrian empire.
• 1918 - Poland regained it's independence and the city slowly began to be restored to life. This was later interrupted by the Second World War when the captive city played an inglorious role of the capital of German-occupied Poland. Krakow beccame a place of martyrology of the Jewish nation; Jews were first confined to the Krakow ghetto, later taken to the Plaszow camp, wherefrom they were taken away to Auschwitz.
• After the war, significant sociological changes took place in Krakow, chiefly related to the uncontrolled development of industry. In 1978, Krakow was recognized by the UNESCO as a monument of world culture and is now a place where international cultural events are organized periodically.
(Source: The Visitor Malopolska)

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Additional Photos by George Rumpler (Budapestman) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 8900 W: 3 N: 20435] (82620)
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