Krakow is one of Poland’s oldest cities, with a history going back to the 7th century. Today, the city is one of the most populous in the country and is a critical economic hub for Poland. The city’s population of over 760,000 makes it the second most populated city in Poland. There are even more people residing in the areas surrounding Krakow, with an estimated 8 million living within 62 miles of the city center.
City Size and Population Density
The city of Krakow covers a considerable portion of land. The surface area of the city proper comes to 326.8 square kilometers (126.2 square miles). Now, considering the size of the population in residence here, the population density comes to about 2,327.7 residents per square kilometer (6,029 residents per square mile).
Krakow has an estimated population of 762,508 people, making up approximately 2% of the total population of the country. People from all over Europe call Krakow home, with minority groups including Slovaks, Ukrainians, and Jews. Approximately 1% of the residents of Krakow identify as a minority.
Polish and Yiddish are the languages that are most often spoken in this city. Ukrainian, German, and Russian speech are also noted for a much smaller percentage of Krakow residents.
One of the things that the city is most known for is its churches, with over 100 erected throughout the city, many which were built during the 20th century. Churches continue to be built throughout Krakow, and there are churches for many different religions, including Roman Catholicism, Polish Catholic, Polish Orthodox, and Latter-Day Saints.
The city is known for being a center of education and is the site of 24 institutions of higher education. It is estimated that approximately 200,000 students reside and attend school in Krakow.
Wawel Hill is believed to be the first settlement in Krakow, dating back to the 4th century. The city’s name was first recorded in 966. Though the earliest years, Krakow was an important city. During the 10th century, it was a leading center for trade, and in 1038, it was named as the capital of Poland. It remained the capital until the late 1500s. Buildings were being built, and the city continued to grow, but then Krakow faced dark times. The city was destroyed during the Mongol invasion of Poland in the 1200s. In 1257, the city was rebuilt. Just two years later, it was again raided and destroyed by the Mongols. A third attack was attempted in the late 1200s but was not successful.
During the Renaissance period, art and architecture flourished throughout the city. This period saw the introduction of a printing press, as well as many scholars, scientists, and artists. In the late 1500s, following the passing of King Sigismund II, Poland became embroiled in wars with Sweden.
It was during the 1800s that Poland became a center for culture and art. Many famous writers, poets, and painters were born or lived in Krakow during this period. The arrival of the 20th century saw a more modern city. This included running water and electric streetcars. In the early 1900s, the population of the city doubled as more people moved from the countryside.
At the beginning of World War II, the Nazi Germans entered Krakow, and Mayor Stanislaw Klimecki stepped up to save the residents. During this time, many professors and academics were arrested. Monuments were destroyed or stolen. The Jewish residents were sent to live in ghettos and were killed. The ghetto and concentration camps in this city were the basis for the movie, “Schindler’s List.”
Following the war, the People’s Republic of Poland ordered a steel mill to be built to attract more working-class residents. However, the city continued to be known for its rich culture and was known as the cultural capital of Poland.
Since the end of the war and the collapse of the Soviet Union, the population has climbed significantly. It is still a hub for business activity and is the site of many international companies such as Motorola and IBM.
Krakow Population Growth
Krakow is one of the biggest cities in Poland in terms of population. The city has experienced rapid periods of growth throughout the years, doubling from 1910 to 1915, and quadrupling once more after the end of World War II. Because the city is seen as both a cultural and business center in Poland, it is a popular place to reside, with population growth expected to continue into the years to come.