Worth to know
The Kraków-Częstochowa Upland, also known as the Polish Jurassic Highland or Polish Jura (Polish: Jura Krakowsko-Częstochowska), is part of the Jurassic System of south?central Poland, stretching between the cities of Kraków, Częstochowa and Wieluń. The Polish Jura borders the Lesser Polish Upland to the north and east, the foothills of the Western Carpathians to the south and the Silesian Upland to the west.
The Polish Jura consists of a hilly landscape with Jurassic limestone rocks, cliffs, valleys and vast limestone formations, featuring some 220 caves. The relief of the upland developed since the Paleogene, under climatic conditions changing considerably. Its main component is a peneplain, crowned by monadnocks, rocky masses that resisted erosion, generated as hard rock on Late Jurassic buildup surrounded by less resistant bedded limestone of the same age.1 The Polish Jura is visited by roughly 400,000 visitors a year. Part of it belongs to the Ojców National Park, the smallest of Poland's twenty national parks, ranking among the most attractive recreational areas of the country.2
Name Vistula - etymology
The name was first recorded by Pomponius Mela in a.d. 40 and by Pliny in a.d. 77 in his Natural History. Mela names the river Vistula (3.33), Pliny uses Vistla (4.81, 4.97, 4.100). The root of the name Vistula is Indo-European *u?eis- ?to ooze, flow slowly? (cf. Sanskrit ?????? / ave?an ?they flowed?, Old Norse veisa ?slime?) and is found in many European rivernames (e.g. Weser, Viesinta).2 The diminutive endings -ila, -ula, were used in many Indo-European languages, including Latin (see Ursula).
In writing about the Vistula River and its peoples, Ptolemy uses the Greek spelling Ouistoula. Other ancient sources spell it Istula. Ammianus Marcellinus refers to the Bisula (Book 22), note the lack the -t-. Jordanes (Getica 5 & 17) uses Viscla while the Anglo-Saxon poem Widsith refers to it as the Wistla.3 12th-century Polish chronicler Wincenty Kadłubek Latinised the rivername as Vandalus, a form presumably influenced by Lithuanian vandu? ?water?, while Jan Długosz in his Annales seu cronicae incliti regni Poloniae called the Vistula ?white waters? (Alba aqua), perhaps referring to the White Little Vistula (Biała Wisełka): ?a nationibus orientalibus Polonis vicinis, ob aquae candorem Alba aqua ... nominatur.?
Golden Age and Cracow
The 15th and 16th centuries were known as Poland's Złoty Wiek or Golden Age. Many works of Polish Renaissance art and architecture were created, including ancient synagogues in Kraków's Jewish quarter located in the north-eastern part of Kazimierz, such as the Old Synagogue. During the reign of Casimir IV, various artists came to work and live in Kraków, and Johann Haller established a printing press in the city after Kasper Straube had printed the Calendarium Cracoviense, the first work printed in Poland, in 1473.
In 1520, the most famous church bell in Poland, named Zygmunt after Sigismund I of Poland, was cast by Hans Behem. At that time, Hans Dürer, a younger brother of artist and thinker Albrecht Dürer, was Sigismund's court painter. Hans von Kulmbach made altarpieces for several churches. In 1553, the Kazimierz district council gave the Jewish Qahal a licence for the right to build their own interior walls across the western section of the already existing defensive walls. The walls were expanded again in 1608 due to the growth of the community and influx of Jews from Bohemia. In 1572, King Sigismund II, the last of the Jagiellons, died childless. The Polish throne passed to Henry III of France and then to other foreign-based rulers in rapid succession, causing a decline in the city's importance that was worsened by pillaging during the Swedish invasion and by an outbreak of bubonic plague that left 20,000 of the city's residents dead. In 1596, Sigismund III of the Swedish House of Vasa moved the administrative capital of the Polish?Lithuanian Commonwealth from Kraków to Warsaw