Basic facts - Cracow
Kraków (Polish pronunciation: ?krakuf About this sound listen (help?info)), also Cracow or Krakow (US English /?kr??ka?/, UK English /?kr?ka?/),23 is the second largest and one of the oldest cities in Poland. Situated on the Vistula River (Polish: Wisła) in the Lesser Poland region, the city dates back to the 7th century.4 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 the Crown of the Kingdom of Poland from 1038 to 1569; the Polish?Lithuanian Commonwealth from 1569 to 1596;5 the Free City of Kraków from 1815 to 1846; the Grand Duchy of Cracow from 1846 to 1918; and Kraków Voivodeship from the 14th century to 1998. It has been the capital of Lesser Poland Voivodeship since 1999.
The Kraków-Częstochowa Upland
The Kraków-Częstochowa Upland, also known as the Polish Jurassic Highland or Polish Jura (Polish: Jura Krakowsko-Częstochowska), is part of the Jurassic System of south?central Poland, stretching between the cities of Kraków, Częstochowa and Wieluń. The Polish Jura borders the Lesser Polish Upland to the north and east, the foothills of the Western Carpathians to the south and the Silesian Upland to the west.
The Polish Jura consists of a hilly landscape with Jurassic limestone rocks, cliffs, valleys and vast limestone formations, featuring some 220 caves. The relief of the upland developed since the Paleogene, under climatic conditions changing considerably. Its main component is a peneplain, crowned by monadnocks, rocky masses that resisted erosion, generated as hard rock on Late Jurassic buildup surrounded by less resistant bedded limestone of the same age.1 The Polish Jura is visited by roughly 400,000 visitors a year. Part of it belongs to the Ojców National Park, the smallest of Poland's twenty national parks, ranking among the most attractive recreational areas of the country.2
The Vistula (/?v?stj?l?/; Polish: Wisła ?viswa) is the longest and largest river in Poland, at 1,047 kilometres (651 miles) in length. The drainage basin area of the Vistula is 194,424 km2 (75,068 sq mi), of which 168,699 km2 (65,135 sq mi) lies within Poland (splitting the country in half). The remainder is in Belarus, Ukraine and Slovakia.
The Vistula rises at Barania Góra in the south of Poland, 1,220 meters (4,000 ft) above sea level in the Silesian Beskids (western part of Carpathian Mountains), where it begins with the White Little Vistula (Biała Wisełka) and the Black Little Vistula (Czarna Wisełka).1 It then continues to flow over the vast Polish plains, passing several large Polish cities along its way, including Kraków, Sandomierz, Warsaw, Płock, Włocławek, Toruń, Bydgoszcz, Świecie, Grudziądz, Tczew and Gdańsk. It empties into the Vistula Lagoon (Zalew Wiślany) or directly into the Gdańsk Bay of the Baltic Sea with a delta and several branches (Leniwka, Przekop, Śmiała Wisła, Martwa Wisła, Nogat and Szkarpawa).