Sunday, 18 November 2012

Wawel architectural complex – Centuries of Slavic heritage


Wawel is an architectural complex erected over many centuries atop a limestone outcrop on the left bank of the Vistula River in Kraków, Poland, at an altitude of 228 metres above the sea level. It is a place of great significance to the Polish people. The Royal Castle with an armoury and the Cathedral are situated on the hill. Polish Royalty and many distinguished Poles are interred in the Wawel Cathedral. Royal coronations took place there also.

Wawel began to play the role of a centre of political power at the end of the first millennium AD. In the 9th century it became the principal fortified castrum of the Vistulans tribe (Polish: Wiślanie). The first historical ruler Mieszko I of Poland (c.965-992) of the Piast dynasty as well as his successors: Boleslaw I the Brave (Polish: Bolesław I Chrobry; 992-1025) and Mieszko II (1025–1034) chose Wawel as one of their residences. At that time Wawel became one of the Polish main centres of Christianity. The first early Romanesque buildings were erected there including a stone cathedral serving the bishopric of Kraków in the year 1000. Since the reign of Casimir the Restorer (1034–1058) Wawel became the leading political and administrative centre for the Polish State.

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