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Kraków

Administration
Full nameKraków
CountryPoland
VoivodeshipLesser Poland
CountyKraków County
City rights5 June 1257
Government
MayorJacek Majchrowski
Geography
Total Area126.2 sq mi (327 km2)
Elevation718.5 ft (219 m)
Demography
Total Population756267 (2010)
Density (pop.)auto/km2 (0/sq mi)
Metro (pop.)1449783 (as of 2006 )
DemonymCracovian
Other information
Time zoneCET (UTC+1)
- Summer (DST)CEST (UTC+2)
Postal code30-024 to 31-962
Area code+48 12

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Kraków (-plˈkrakuf-Pl-Krak%C3%B3w also Krakow, or Cracow (c-enlangˈkrækaʊ, Ukrainian Краків), is the second largest and one of the oldest cities in Poland. Situated on the Vistula River ( ) in the Lesser Poland region, the city dates back to the 7th century. Kraków has traditionally been one of the leading centres of Polish academic, cultural, and artistic life and is one of Poland's most important economic hubs. It was the capital of Poland from 1038 to 1596; the capital of the Grand Duchy of Kraków from 1846 to 1918; and the capital of Kraków Voivodeship from the 14th century to 1999. It is now the capital of the Lesser Poland Voivodeship.

The city has grown from a Stone Age settlement to Poland's second most important city. It began as a hamlet on Wawel Hill and was already being reported as a busy trading centre of Slavonic Europe in 965. With the establishment of new universities and cultural venues at the emergence of the Second Polish Republic and throughout the 20th century, Kraków reaffirmed its role as a major national academic and artistic centre. The city has a population of approximately 760,000 whereas about 8 million people live within a 100 km radius of its main square.

After the invasion of Poland by Nazi Germany at the start of World War II, Kraków was turned into the capital of Germany's General Government. The Jewish population of the city was moved into a walled zone known as the Kraków Ghetto, from which they were sent to extermination camps such as Auschwitz and the concentration camp at Płaszów.

In 1978, Karol Wojtyła, archbishop of Kraków, was elevated to the papacy as Pope John Paul II the first Slavic pope ever, and the first non-Italian pope in 455 years. Also that year, UNESCO approved the first ever sites for its new World Heritage List, including the entire Old Town in inscribing Cracow's Historic Centre.


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