Kraków is not only a historical and visual gem, it's Poland's second largest city and covers both banks of the Wisla (or Vistula) river. At the foot of the Carpathian Mountains, the metropolitan area has more than 1.4 million inhabitants if you include the surrounding communities.
Kraków is one of the oldest cities in Poland, with evidence showing settlements there since 20,000BC. Legend has it that it was built on the cave of a dragon whom the mythical King Krak had slain. However, the first official mention of the name was in 966 by a Jewish merchant from Spain, who described it as an important centre of trade in Slavonic Europe.
Through trade with the various rulers of Europe, it grew from a small settlement in 1000AD to a large wealthy city, belonging to the Vistulans. However, through the 9th and 10th centuries, it fell under the influence of the Great Moravians, then the Bohemians, before being captured by the Piast Dynasty of Poland. In 1038, Kazimierz the Restorer made Krakow the capital of Poland.
Krakow is the most popular tourist destination in Poland and this supports a lot of the local economy. However, the University and numerous local colleges mean education is an important employer as well.
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