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Witalij B Posted on 11:37 am

6 interesting facts about Krakow

Krakow is undoubtedly one of the most popular cities among tourists. But have you been wondering how old the city is? How many legends are there about it? In addition, there are many beautiful and mysterious sights that must be visited. Here are 6 interesting facts and places in Krakow.
Let’s start!

The name of the city – Kraków

Kraków – [ˈkrakuf], often identified by tourists as Cracow. There are several concepts explaining the origin of the name „Kraków”. One of them derives the name of the city from the word krak, meaning raven, or from the name of the legendary prince Krak. The first known written mention of Kraków as an important trading town comes from Ibrahim ibn Jacob’s account in around 966.

The Mounds in Krakow

There are a few mounds in Krakow, which undoubtedly make this city one of a kind. Mounds in Krakow are devoted to various characters and scattered in different parts of the city.

kosciuszko mound, krakow mounds
photo: Darya Tryfanava

The Kościuszko Mound, visible from many places in the city, is one of the most popular. It was erected in honor of the national hero Tadeusz Kościuszko (1746-1817). The oldest is the Krakus Mound – the exact date of its creation and its purpose are not fully known. One of the legends has it that the mound is associated with the person of Krak – the legendary founder of the city of Krakow. You can also visit Wanda’s Mound.  It was probably built in the 7th or 8th century. According to legend, it is the grave of King Krak’s daughter. The next mound worthy of attention is Piłsudski’s mound. It is the highest mound in Krakow. The construction of the mound began in 1934 and was completed in 1937. It is also known as  Independence Mound or Freedom Mound, it was filled with soil from all battlefields of World War I where Poles fought. 

Jagiellonian University

Polish public university in Krakow, one of the oldest universities in the world. The university was founded in 1364. Initially, it consisted of three faculties: liberal arts, medicine and law.

jagiellonian university krakow
photo: Darya Tryfanava

It was the second university established in Central Europe after the University of Prague founded in 1348. Reactivated around 1390. Officially renewed in 1400 and extended to the theological faculty.

photo: Darya Tryfanava

The name “Jagielloński” was given to it in 1817 to emphasize the relationship between university and the Jagiellonian dynasty. The Jagiellonian University Museum is located in the oldest university building of Collegium Maius.

Krakow’s own anthem

We know that „since always”, at every hour, day and night, the bugle call known to all Poles flows from the higher tower of St. Mary’s Church to four corners of the world. You can listen to it in the Main Square in Krakow.

St. Mary's Church Krakow
Stephen Doyne

Legend has it that the melody stops when a Tatar arrow hits a medieval guard. Whether it is just a legend, we probably will not find out.  At the top of the Basilica tower, a trumpeter is on duty in a small room, who plays the bugle call every hour to the four sides of the world.In the distant past, this sound served a slightly different function than today.

Mariacki church krakow
photo: Severinus Dewantara

At its sound, the city gates were opened and closed. The trumpeter was the first to see the impending danger; these could be, for example, the  troops of the Tatars (as in 1241, to which the legend of the interrupted melody refers).

krakow market square
photo: Jean Carlo

He was  also the first to notice a fire in the city. It is not known exactly when the melody started and when it was. played in all parts of the world. It is known, however, that the bugle call is one of the most interesting Krakow traditions, a great attraction for tourists.

The legend of the Wawel Dragon

Centuries ago, the Wawel Dragon terrorized the inhabitants of Krakow. They had to sacrifice cattle to the monster, and according to some tales the beast ate only virgins. None of the knights managed to defeat him – only the shoemaker Skuba did it. He stuffed the sheep with sulfur and placed it in front of the dragon’s den.

wawel dragon, poland dragon

The hungry monster ate the sheep and fell into a trap set by Skuba. The sulfur made him feel huge pain and a burning sensation in his throat. To quench his thirst, he drank water from the Vistula river. He drank, drank, and drank until he burst. There was great joy in the city, and the heroic shoemaker was well rewarded. The sculpture standing by the river at the foot of Wawel, at the entrance to the Dragon’s Den, reminds us of defeating the dragon. This legend is a big part of Krakow’s history.

A big head sculpture on the main square

An unusual sculpture – a huge human head – is placed right next to the Town Hall Tower in the Market Square in Krakow. It is a sculpture of Eros Bendato, the head of love god. The band on his eyes symbolizes the blindness of love.

head in krakow
photo: Victor Malyushev

The sculpture was donated to the city in 2005 by the Polish sculptor Igor Mitoraj The sculpture evokes various emotions, it is difficult not to notice it, and nobody passes by it indifferently. The head is the daily target of the cameras of tourists from all over the world.

Certainly, Krakow is a very old and mysterious city. There are legends behind every street name or building. Each of them has a substitute for truth. It is a city that can be visited many times and you can find something different every time.