Poland’s former capital is presently breaking popularity records as Poland’s most attractive tourist destination. How to tell its history and its culture to attract a young reader? Can Krakow’s thousand-year-long history be fit into one book? Krakow: History and Art offers a synthesis of the city’s history and culture. Numerous photographs, a handy format, and paperback edition make the book a convenient companion during the tours of the city’s treasures in multiple unexpected ways.
Authors show Krakow as more than a collection of outstanding monuments of architecture of several different epochs, a city that was listed among the first twelve objects on the UNESCO World Cultural and Natural Heritage list forty years ago. Krakow is also a treasure chest where art works and other material traces of the city’s history have been collected for centuries, as well as a myth.
The book is divided into chronological chapters that tell Krakow’s history from its remotest past to the present day. Each of them features texts by two experts: a historian provides a broad historical background, where political issues are discussed next to religious, economic, and social aspects, while an art historian complements this picture by adding a synthesis of the history of broadly defined artistic culture.
This structure is supplemented by “capsules” – excursions separated from the main text by graphic means, discussing topics that require a more detailed explanation, such the history and significance of the Main Square, St Mary’ Church, the Wawel Castle tapestries, the work of Stanisław Wyspiański, and the story of how the “Lady with an Ermine” by Leonardo da Vinci found its way to Krakow.
Photographs, gathered as a catalogue, create together a rich visual material. Their selection suggests a collection of values that define the richness of Krakow’s identity. Some of them come with extended captions that present a comprehensive and suggestive narrative of the history of Krakow.
The book is a result of the work of a team of outstanding researchers invited to collaborate on the publication by Professor Jacek Purchla on the occasion of the project Thousand Treasures of Krakow (2018), initiated by the Mayor Jacek Majchrowski. The team of authors includes the leading specialists in the history and culture of the city: Andrzej Chwalba, Krzysztof J. Czyżewski, Kamila Follprecht, Edyta Gawron, Karolina Grodziska, Mateusz Grzęda, Anna Król, Waldemar Łazuga, Michał Niezabitowski, Zdzisław Noga, Magdalena Piwocka, Jacek Purchla, Krzysztof Stopka, Marek Walczak, Janusz Wałek.
Publication in English.
Book is available in Polish HERE