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Old October 28th, 2005, 12:25 AM   #1
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Wawel Hill, Krakow

Wawel is the name of a lime hillock situated on the left bank of the Vistula in Kraków, Poland at an altitude of 228 metres above sea level. This is a symbolic place of great significance for all Polish people. The Royal Castle and the Cathedral are situated on the Hill. Polish Royalty and many distinguished Poles are interred in the Cathedral and royal coronations took place there.

There are archaeological remains indicating settlement from the 4th century. Illustration of the Royal Castle on the Wawel Hill (16th century).The history of the medieval Wawel is deeply intertwined with the history of the Polish lands and Polish royal dynasties during the Middle Ages. The political and dynastic tensions that led to the final ascendence of Kraków as the royal seat are complex, but for most of the Middle Ages and the Renaissance the Wawel was the seat of national government. As the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth formed and grew, the Wawel became the seat of one of Europe's most important states. This status was only lost when the capital was moved to Warsaw in the 17th century. When Poland lost its political independence during the period of the partitions, the Wawel became a symbol of the lost nation; demonstrations and meetings combined contemporary political action with a claim for the significance of the once-powerful state, taking on nationalist overtones.

The significance of the Wawel hill comes in part from its combination of political and religious structures and functions. The cathedral holds the relics of St. Stanisław and stands directly adjacent to the Royal Castle. The hill has long had a religious function; some of the oldest extant architectural remains are those of the Rotunda of the Virgin Mary, which may be visited today in a fascinating tour that takes the visitors into the walls and foundations of the present-day buildings.


Wawel Hill throught the ages.






and Wawel Hill today...

The Old Town and Wawel Hill from above.

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Old October 28th, 2005, 12:26 AM   #2
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The Wawel Hill

1. The Royal Castle. a. Jordanska Tower, b. Dunska Tower, c. Hens Foot Tower, d. Zygmunt III Tower, e. Sobieski Tower.
2. The Royal Kitchens
3. Wawel Cathedral
4. Wikarowka (Wawel Parish Offices and Houses)
5, 6, 7. Granary and Houses (Cathedral Museum) and Offices
8. Hospital (Built in 1853 by the Austrian army after the walls were pulled down)
9, 11, 15. Waza Gate, Herbowa Gate, Bernandynska Gate
10. Tadeusz Kosciuszko Monument
12. Austrian Defense Structures (built 1853)
13, 14, 17. Zlodziejska Tower, Sandomierska Tower, Senatorska Tower
16. Remnants of the Walls and Towers
18. Dragon Cave
19. Remnants of Several Churches from XII and XIV century that were pulled down by the Austrian Army in 19th century.
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