Sigismund I the Old
Sigismund I of Poland, of the Jagiellon dynasty, reigned as King of Poland and as the Grand Duke of Lithuania from 1506 until 1548. Earlier, Sigismund had been invested as Duke of Silesia. A successful monarch and a great patron of arts, he established Polish suzerainty over Ducal Prussia and incorporated the duchy of Mazovia into the Polish state, securing the nation's wealth and power. Sigismund I, the fifth son of Casimir IV and Elisabeth of Habsburg, had ruled Głogów, since 1499 and became margrave of Lusatia and governor of all Silesia in 1504. In a short time his judicial and administrative reforms transformed those territories into model states, he succeeded his brother Alexander I as grand prince of Lithuania and king of Poland in 1506. Although he established fiscal and monetary reforms, he clashed with the Polish Diet over extensions of royal power. At the Diet’s demand he married Barbara, daughter of Prince Stephen Zápolya of Hungary, in 1512, to secure a defense treaty and produce an heir.
She died three years however, leaving only daughters. In 1518 Sigismund married the niece of the Holy Roman emperor Maximilian, Bona Sforza of Milan, by whom he had one son, Sigismund II Augustus, four daughters, his daughter Catherine married John III of Sweden, from whom the Vasa kings of Poland were descended. In 1521 Sigismund made peace with his nephew Albert, Grand Master of the Teutonic Knights, a paramilitary religious order that ruled East Prussia. Albert became a Lutheran and converted the Teutonic state to Protestantism in 1525, defecting from both the Papacy and Holy Roman Emperor and agreeing to do public homage to Sigismund in return for being granted the title of secular duke of Prussia and Ducal Prussia coming under Polish suzerainty. Sigismund added the Duchy of Masovia to the Polish state in 1529, after the death of Janusz III, the last of its Piast dynasty rulers. Under the command of Jan Tarnowski, Sigismund’s army defeated the invading forces of Moldavia at Obertyn in 1531 and of Muscovy in 1535, thereby safeguarding Poland’s eastern borders.
Sigismund, influenced by his wife, brought Italian artists to Kraków and promoted the development of the Polish variety of the Italian Renaissance. Although a devout Catholic, he accorded religious toleration to Greek Orthodox Christians and royal protection to Jews. At first he vigorously opposed Lutheranism but resigned himself to its growing power in Poland. Sigismund I was a member of the Order of the Golden Fleece; the son of King Casimir IV Jagiellon and Elisabeth of Austria, Sigismund followed his brothers John Albert and Alexander to the Polish throne. Their eldest brother Vladislaus became king of Bohemia and Croatia. Sigismund was christened as the namesake of his Habsburg maternal great-grandfather, Holy Roman Emperor Sigismund. After his father's death, Sigismund was the only son. In the years 1495–1496, he addressed his older brother, the Lithuanian Grand Duke Alexander, demanded the separation of a domain from the Grand Duchy of Lithuania, but was refused. Queen Dowager Elisabeth Habsburg tried without success to ensure the succession of her son to the throne of Austria.
And the disastrous and unsuccessful invasion of Bukovina led by his older brother King John I Albert dispelled the plans for placing Sigismund on the Moldavian throne. Sigismund came under the care of his eldest brother Vladislaus II, King of Bohemia and Hungary, from whom he received the duchies of Głogów and Opava, in 1504 became governor of Silesia and Lower Lusatia. After the death of King Alexander I, Sigismund arrived in Vilnius, where he was elected by the Lithuanian Ducal Council on 13 September 1506 as Grand Duke of Lithuania, contrary to the Union of Mielnik, which proposed a joint Polish-Lithuanian election of a monarch. On 8 December 1506, during the session of the Polish Senate in Piotrków, Sigismund was elected King of Poland, he arrived in Kraków on 20 January 1507 and was crowned four days in Wawel Cathedral by Primate Andrzej Boryszewski. The internal situation in Poland was characterised by broad authorisation of the Chamber of Deputies and extended in the constitution of Nihil novi.
During Alexander's reign, the law of Nihil novi had been instituted, which forbade kings of Poland from enacting laws without the consent of the Sejm. Sigismund had little control over the act, unlike the senators, whom he appointed. During his reign, Sigismund benefited from the advice of the local nobility, competent ministers in charge of the royal judiciary system, the wealthy and influential treasurers of Kraków. Although he was reluctant to the parliamentary system and political independence of the nobility, he recognised the authority of legal norms, supported legalism and summoned annual sessions of the Sejm obtaining funds on state defence; however he was unsuccessful at attempting to create a permanent fund for defence from the annual income tax. Despite this "Achilles heel", in 1527 he established a conscript army and the bureaucracy needed to finance it, he set up the legal codes that formalised serfdom in Poland, locking the peasants into the estates of nobles. Related to tax matters was an unsuccessful attempt on the life of the king, made on 5 May 1523.
The identity of the would-be assassin - who shot the ruler while he was strolling in the evening around the cloisters of the Wawel castle - and his potential supporters was never established. Unclear motives remained after the assassination attempt; the only clue was the fact that three weeks before the event, Sigismund I introduced a new edict, unfav
Niepołomice is a town in southern Poland, situated in the Lesser Poland Voivodeship in Kraków Voivodeship. It is situated on the Vistula River, belongs to Kraków on the verge of a large virgin forest. There is a 14th-century gothic hunting castle in town built by Casimir III, as well as a conservation center for wisents nearby. Official website Summary of Niepołomice Jewish Community in Niepołomice on Virtual Shtetl
Bartolommeo Berrecci was an Italian renaissance architect who spent most of his career in Poland. He learned architecture in Florence, first through apprenticeship with his father, an architect, he was probably taught by Andrea Ferrucci, his father's fellow Florentine architect. He moved to Poland in 1516 at the invitation of the bishop Jan Łaski to take over the work of rebuilding the Wawel Royal Castle in Kraków after the death of Francesco Fiorentino, working with Benedykt from Sandomierz; the castle had burnt down in 1499, the rebuilding was commissioned by Sigismund I of Poland. He took over Florentino's workshop, with the artists Bernardino di Gianotis, Giovanni Cini from Siena, Mikołaj Castiglione, five members of the Soli family, he worked in Kraków, Niepołomice, Poznań, Tarnów and most in Vilnius where the Royal Palace of Lithuania was reconstructed. He became rich in Poland, owning a number of houses in Kraków and a brickyard, he was murdered in 1537 by another jealous Italian artist in Kraków and was buried in the Corpus Christi Basilica in Kazimierz by Kraków.
The most important work of Berrecci is the chapel of the last Jagiellonians, the Sigismund Chapel for King Sigismund I the Old at the Wawel in Kraków. Some years Santi Gucci built the tombs of King Sigismund II Augustus and Queen Anna Jagiellon inside the chapel, his death in 1537 was the result of an infection caused by a worksite accident during work on the tomb of Piotr Tomicki. Berrecci's other works include: rebuilding the Wawel royal castle extension of the Niepołomice Castle baldachin for the tomb of Władysław II Jagiełło tomb for the bishops Jan Konarski and Piotr Tomicki in the Wawel Cathedral tomb of Barbara Tarnowska and the tombs of the three Jans in the Cathedral in Tarnów, he is one of the characters on the famous painting by Prussian Homage. Polish sylwetka Polish
Kraków spelled Cracow or Krakow, is the second largest and one of the oldest cities in Poland. Situated on the Vistula River in the Lesser Poland region, the city dates back to the 7th century. Kraków was the official capital of Poland until 1596 and has traditionally been one of the leading centres of Polish academic, economic and artistic life. Cited as one of Europe's most beautiful cities, its Old Town was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site; the city has grown from a Stone Age settlement to Poland's second most important city. It began as a hamlet on Wawel Hill and was being reported as a busy trading centre of Central Europe in 965. With the establishment of new universities and cultural venues at the emergence of the Second Polish Republic in 1918 and throughout the 20th century, Kraków reaffirmed its role as a major national academic and artistic centre; the city has a population of about 770,000, with 8 million additional people living within a 100 km radius of its main square. After the invasion of Poland by Nazi Germany at the start of World War II, the newly defined Distrikt Krakau became the capital of Germany's General Government.
The Jewish population of the city was forced into a walled zone known as the Kraków Ghetto, from which they were sent to German extermination camps such as the nearby Auschwitz never to return, the Nazi concentration camps like Płaszów. In 1978, Karol Wojtyła, archbishop of Kraków, was elevated to the papacy as Pope John Paul II—the first Slavic pope and the first non-Italian pope in 455 years; that year, UNESCO approved the first sites for its new World Heritage List, including the entire Old Town in inscribing Kraków's Historic Centre. Kraków is classified as a global city with the ranking of high sufficiency by GaWC, its extensive cultural heritage across the epochs of Gothic and Baroque architecture includes the Wawel Cathedral and the Royal Castle on the banks of the Vistula, the St. Mary's Basilica, Saints Peter and Paul Church and the largest medieval market square in Europe, the Rynek Główny. Kraków is home to Jagiellonian University, one of the oldest universities in the world and traditionally Poland's most reputable institution of higher learning.
In 2000, Kraków was named European Capital of Culture. In 2013 Kraków was approved as a UNESCO City of Literature; the city hosted the World Youth Day in July 2016. The name of Kraków is traditionally derived from Krakus, the legendary founder of Kraków and a ruler of the tribe of Lechitians. In Polish, Kraków is an archaic possessive form of Krak and means "Krak's". Krakus's name may derive from "krakula", a Proto-Slavic word meaning a judge's staff, or a Proto-Slavic word "krak" meaning an oak, once a sacred tree most associated with the concept of genealogy; the first mention of Prince Krakus dates back to 1190, although the town existed as early as the 7th century, inhabited by the tribe of Vistulans. The city's full official name is Stołeczne Królewskie Miasto Kraków, which can be translated as "Royal Capital City of Kraków". In English, a person born or living in Kraków is a Cracovian. While in the 1990s the English version of the name was written Cracow, the most widespread modern English version is Krakow.
Kraków's early history begins with evidence of a Stone Age settlement on the present site of the Wawel Hill. A legend attributes Kraków's founding to the mythical ruler Krakus, who built it above a cave occupied by a dragon, Smok Wawelski; the first written record of the city's name dates back to 965, when Kraków was described as a notable commercial centre controlled first by Moravia, but captured by a Bohemian duke Boleslaus I in 955. The first acclaimed ruler of Poland, Mieszko I, took Kraków from the Bohemians and incorporated it into the holdings of the Piast dynasty towards the end of his reign. In 1038, Kraków became the seat of the Polish government. By the end of the 10th century, the city was a leading centre of trade. Brick buildings were constructed, including the Royal Wawel Castle with St. Felix and Adaukt Rotunda, Romanesque churches such as St. Adalbert's, a cathedral, a basilica; the city was sacked and burned during the Mongol invasion of 1241. It was rebuilt identical, based on new location act and incorporated in 1257 by the high duke Bolesław V the Chaste who following the example of Wrocław, introduced city rights modelled on the Magdeburg law allowing for tax benefits and new trade privileges for the citizens.
In 1259, the city was again ravaged by the Mongols. A third attack in 1287 was repelled thanks in part to the new built fortifications. In 1335, King Casimir III of Poland declared the two western suburbs to be a new city named after him, Kazimierz; the defensive walls were erected around the central section of Kazimierz in 1362, a plot was set aside for the Augustinian order next to Skałka. The city rose to prominence in 1364, when Casimir III of Poland founded the University of Kraków, the second oldest university in central Europe after the Charles University in Prague. King Casimir began work on a campus for the Academy in Kazimierz, but he died in 1370 and the campus was never completed; the city continued to grow under the joint Lithuanian-Polish Jagiellon dynasty. As the capital of the Kingdom of Poland and a member of the Hanseatic League, the city attracted many craftsmen and guilds as science and the arts began to flourish; the royal chancery and the University ensured a first flourishing of Polish literary culture in the city.
The 15th and 16th centuries were known as Poland's Złoty Golden Age. Many works of Pol
Wawel is a fortified 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 sea level. The complex consists of many fortifications; some of Wawel's oldest stone buildings, such as the Rotunda of the Virgin Mary can be dated to 970AD. There are wooden parts of the complex which date to about the 9th century; the castle itself has been described as "one of the most fascinating of all European castles." Wawel is a place of great significance to the Polish people: it first became a political power centre at the end of the first millennium AD and in the 9th century, the principal fortified castrum of the Vistulans tribe. The first historical ruler Mieszko I of Poland of the Piast dynasty and his successors: Boleslaw I the Brave and Mieszko II chose Wawel to be one of their residences. At the same time Wawel became one of the principal Polish centres of Christianity; the first early Romanesque buildings were erected there including a stone cathedral serving the bishopric of Kraków in the year 1000.
From the reign of Casimir the Restorer Wawel became the leading political and administrative centre for the Polish State. Until 1611, the Wawel was the formal seat of the Polish monarchy, it became the Free City of Kraków from 1815 to 1846. It is now the capital of the Lesser Poland Voivodeship. Therefore, the fortress-like Wawel complex which visually dominates the city has been viewed as seat of power. Wawel Cathedral was not only a place of coronation for the Kings of Poland, but their mausoleum, it became a national pantheon. During the 20th century, the Wawel was the residence of the President of Poland. Following the cessation of hostilities, the Wawel was restored and once again become a national museum, a place of worship and centre depicting Poland's complex history; the history of Wawel is intertwined with the history of the Polish lands and Polish royal dynasties in the Middle Ages. The political and dynastic tensions that led to the ascendence of Kraków as the royal seat are complex, but for most of the Middle Ages and the Renaissance Wawel was the seat of the national government.
As the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth formed and grew, Wawel became the seat of one of Europe's most important states. This status was only lost. From the late 18th century, when Poland lost its independence during the period of foreign partitions, Wawel became a symbol of an enduring nation and was the setting for demonstrations and gatherings of Cracovians protesting against the continuing foreign occupation by the Austrian and the Russian empires. Thus, the significance of the Wawel hill comes in part from its combination of political and religious significance; the Cathedral stands directly adjacent to the Royal Castle. The Hill has a long history of religious functions; the hill which takes the form of a horst originated in the Miocene epoch and consists of Jurassic limestone dating back to the Oxfordian age. This limestone is karsted and abounds in caves; this explains why the hill was called "wąwel", meaning ravine in Polish. This ravine once divided the hill. An alternative theory is. However, the most recent theory is that "Wawel" is a regular continuation of the name Babel in both Greek and Old Church Slavonic languages.
The Wawel Hill has archaeological remains indicating settlement from the 4th century. Archeological studies suggest that the earliest settlement dates back to the Middle Paleolithic era, c. 100,000 years BC and owed its rapid development to its location being the crossing of a number of key trading routes. Wawel is believed to be one of the strongholds of the Vistulan tribe which formed a nation at the turn of the 8th and 9th century AD, its legendary rulers Krakus and Princess Wanda, who are said to have lived in the 7th and 8th centuries, are mentioned by the 13th-century chronicler Wincenty Kadłubek. In the 10th century, the Vistulans’ lands and Kraków became part of the emerging state of Poland. In 1000, the Kraków diocese was established followed by the construction of a Cathedral – the seat of the bishop. However, as a result of an ongoing conflict with the Holy Roman Empire, construction did not begin until the signing of the Peace of Bautzen, in 1018. Only minor fragments remain of the original cathedral and despite extensive archaeological research, it has proved impossible to reconstruct its exterior.
Until the 1980s, relicts of St Gereon's Church were identified with the first cathedral but this theory, advanced by Adolf Szyszko-Bohusz, has been disproved by more recent research. There are inconsis
Piotrków Trybunalski is a city in central Poland with 74,694 inhabitants. It is situated in the Łódź Voivodeship, was the capital of the Piotrków Voivodeship, it is the capital of Piotrków County. According to tradition, but not confirmed by historical sources, Piotrków was founded by Piotr Włostowic, a powerful 12th century magnate from Silesia; the name of the city comes in a diminutive form. Trybunalski indicates; the town has been known in Yiddish as פּעטריקעװ or Petrikev, in German as Petrikau, in Russian as Петроков or Petrokov. Piotrków Trybunalski is situated in the middle-west part of the Łódź Uplands; the population of the city is 80,000 and its area is nearly 68 square kilometres. The landscape of the Piotrków region and its geological structure were formed during the glaciation of 180,000–128,000 years ago. There are hardly any forests on the Piotrków Plains. Two rivers cross the region, the Wolbórka and the Luciąża, which with their tributaries flow into the Pilica River and belong to the catchment area of the Vistula River.
The watershed of Poland's two main rivers, the Vistula and the Oder, runs along the meridional line three km west of Piotrków. Two small rivers, the Strawa and the Strawka flow through the city, it is between their valleys that the first settlement of Piotrków was founded in the early Middle Ages. Two more rivers have been included within the boundary of the city area - the Wierzejka, which in the western part of the city forms a reservoir, the Śrutowy Dołek to the south of Piotrków; the city is 200 m above sea level. The average temperature during the year is about 8 °C, the coldest month is January, the warmest is July. Yearly rainfall is from 550 to 600 mm; the sandy soil of the region is not fertile. In the early Middle Ages the Piotrków region was part of the province of Łęczyca ruled by the Piast dynasty. In c1264 it became part of a separate principality; the foundation of the city and its development were connected with its geographical position and the advantageous arrangement of the roads linking the provinces of Poland in Piast times.
At first a market town and a place of the princes' tribunals, Piotrków became an administrative centre, in centuries it became an important political centre in Poland. The first record of Piotrków is in a document issued in 1217 by the Prince of Kraków, Leszek I the White, where there is a mention of the prince's tribunal held "in Petrecoue". Mediaeval Piotrków was a trading place on the trade routes from Pomerania to Russia and Hungary, from Masovia to Silesia. During the 13th century, apart from the tribunals, Polish provincial princes made Piotrków the seat of some assemblies of the Sieradz knights, which according to historical sources were held in 1233, in 1241, in 1291, it might have been during the 1291 assembly that the Prince of Sieradz, Władysław I the Elbow-high, granted Piotrków civic rights, because in documents from the beginning of the 14th century he mentions "civitate nostra Petricouiensi". The first certificate of foundation and the other documents were burnt in a great fire which destroyed the city around 1400.
The privileges and rights were re-granted by King Władysław II Jagiełło in 1404. The city walls were built during the reign of King Casimir III, after the great fire they were rebuilt at the beginning of the 15th century. During the reign of Casimir III, many expelled German Jews from the Holy Roman Empire migrated to the town, which grew to have one of the largest Jewish settlements in the kingdom. Between 1354 and 1567 the city held general assemblies of Polish knights, general or elective meetings of the Polish Sejm, it was in the city of Piotrków that the Polish Parliament was given its final structure with the division into an Upper House and Lower Chamber in 1493. King John I Albert published his "Piotrków privilege" on May 26, 1493, which expanded the privileges of the szlachta at the expense of the bourgeoisie and the peasantry. Piotrków became part of the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth in 1569; when the seat of the Parliament was moved to Warsaw, the town became the seat of the highest court of Poland, the Crown Tribunal, trials were held there from 1578–1793.
Piotrków's Jewish population was expelled in 1578 and only allowed back a century later. The town became a post station in 1684. Around 1705, German settlers founded villages. While the importance of Piotrków in the political life of the country had contributed to its development in the 16th century, the city declined in the 17th and 18th centuries, due to fires, wars against Sweden, the Partitions of Poland; the first official inventory of important buildings in Poland, A General View of the Nature of Ancient Monuments in the Kingdom of Poland, led by Kazimierz Stronczynski from 1844–55, describes the Great Synagogue as one of Poland's architecturally notable buildings. In 1793, the Kingdom of Prussia annexed the town in the Second Partition of Poland and administered it as part of the Province of South Prussia. During the Napoleonic Wars, Piotrków became part of the Duchy of Warsaw (180