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The Krakow University Route

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The academic traditions of Krakow go back to the 14th century. In 1364 King Kazimierz Wielki (Casimir the Great) found the Academy of Krakow, from 19th century known as the Jagiellonian University. It is one of the oldest universities in Central Europe; second only to Prague's Charles University. Among its graduates we can notice Nicolaus Copernicus, the astronomer and author of the heliocentric theory, and Karol Wojtyla who became famous as the Pope John Paul II. To this day the University has remained the source of the city’s intellectual power and has played the leading role among several Krakow universities.
 
The location of the first buildings is unknown. After renovation by King Wladislaw Jagiello in 1400, the university was built near St Anne's Church. The oldest remaining university building is Collegium Maius (Jagiellonska Street) - the four-winged university complex which was originally used as residence for professors (upper floors) and as lecture halls (1st floor). Today it holds the University museum, treasury and famous Jagiellonian globe with first mention of the American continent.

Next on the route is Collegium Novum - a  neo-Gothic building from the end of the 19th century with an impressive facade. German occupants moved here in 1939. All professors and their assistants were arrested and many didn't survive the concentration camps. Today it houses university authorities and administration.

In St Anne’s Street we visit St Anne's Church – an impressive Baroque Church from the end of the 17th century, once the site of celebratory gatherings of professors, doctoral promotions, annual inauguration of the academic year and the resting-place of many eminent university professors. The Church is a basilica with three naves built on a Latin cross plan. The interior belongs to the best achievements of Polish Baroque.