First established in the Stone Age, Krakow is one of Poland's oldest cities. It grew in status and size in the 870's, and served as capital of Poland from 1038 - 1596. It was capital as a stand-alone city-state from 1815 - 1846. During the Nazi invasion of World War II, Krakow became Germany's capital of General Government.
Today, Krakow is known as one of the quintessential European and Eastern European cities, noted for its depth of history, rich culture, architecture, cathedral, university, arts scene, riverfront scenery, and as one of the most beautiful cities in Europe.
People Born in Krakow
Krakow in People's Lives
Joseph Conrad: My father and I moved to this city in 1869, when I was 11 years old. At the time, this city was a part of Austrian-Poland, known for being more forward-thinking and progressive than most Polish areas - an aspect that my father, a political activist and revolutionary, was drawn to. However, only three months after we arrived here, my father died of tuberculosis, the same disease that had killed my mother a few years ago. At age 11, I was an orphan. I went to live with my uncle, the brother of my mother. I myself began to suffer from poor health, and doctors suggested that I be outdoors in fresh air and get much physical exercise. My uncle focused on forming me into a proper, disciplined young man (unlike my father, who had been far more idealistic). Despite my uncle's hopes, however, I did not prove to be a good student, not adapting well from the change in my father's free way of teaching me into my tutor's rigorous curriculums. Thus, I had little interest in learning from them, and did badly in my studies. My uncle was exasperated by my lack of scholarly ambition, and frustrated by my ill health - which proved to be a major drain on him financially. He decided that I must learn a practical trade, and began networking with merchants and captains, hoping to get me into a maritime career. Unlike what my uncle's rigid tutors had had to say, I was transfixed, and announced that I wanted to become a sailor. I also grew fond of telling swashbuckling sailing stories to my friends, who would listen breathlessly. In August of 1873, my uncle sent me to a boy's boarding school in Lviv, and so I left this city at the age of 15. I returned briefly in 1874, before I was sent by my uncle to Marseille, France at the age of 16, for a career at sea.
Jude Law: I traveled here in 2013 to film scenes of the movie The Grand Budapest Hotel.
Liam Neeson: I traveled here to film scenes for the movie Schindler's List in 1992. We filmed in the Plaszow, Jozefa, and Szeroka areas.
Otto Rank: I traveled here often between 1914 - 1918, when I was stationed in Poland in the army during World War I.
Ralph Fiennes: I traveled here in 1992 to film scenes of the movie Schindler's List, and again in 2013 for The Grand Budapest Hotel.