Note:  Do not rely on this information. It is very old.


Cracow, a town of Austria, situated at the junction of the Rudawa and the Vistula, on a plain in an amphitheatre of hills., The town is the seat of a Catholic bishopric and of a university. Among the industries are the manufacture of paper, pottery, tobacco, wool, leather, spirits, and beer. Cracow presents a fine view from the outside, but the streets are narrow and dirty. Of the forty churches, the most notable are St. Michael's (890), and St. Wenceslas's cathedral, begun in 1000 A.D. The gate of St. Florian (1498) is a good specimen of Gothic architecture. The Royal Castle (700) is now a barracks and hospital. The bishop's palace (992), which was damaged by fire in 1850, contains paintings by Michael Stachovitz, the subjects being drawn from Polish history. There is a linen hall which will hold 6,000 people. A large square occupies the centre of the town, and outside are fine limes, chestnuts, and poplars. Before the Christian era there was a Slavonic city called Waweb, whose name is given to one of the hills in the neighbourhood. In 700, Krakus and his daughter Wanda did much for the city, which, by reason of its central position, became the second capital of Poland. After a Tartar attack in 1241, it attained, under Sigismond II. (1506-1548), a position of splendour and importance. In 1544 Protestant doctrines made their appearance, and an impetus was given to them by the dispersion of the students in 1549, as they brought back the new doctrines from Germany. The last king of Poland crowned at Cracow was Frederick Augustus III. (1734). From 1815-1846 a protected republic was established, but at the latter date Cracow became an Austrian grand duchy.