The longest river of Poland
The Vistula (/?v?stj?l?/; Polish: Wisła ?viswa) is the longest and largest river in Poland, at 1,047 kilometres (651 miles) in length. The drainage basin area of the Vistula is 194,424 km2 (75,068 sq mi), of which 168,699 km2 (65,135 sq mi) lies within Poland (splitting the country in half). The remainder is in Belarus, Ukraine and Slovakia.
The Vistula rises at Barania Góra in the south of Poland, 1,220 meters (4,000 ft) above sea level in the Silesian Beskids (western part of Carpathian Mountains), where it begins with the White Little Vistula (Biała Wisełka) and the Black Little Vistula (Czarna Wisełka).1 It then continues to flow over the vast Polish plains, passing several large Polish cities along its way, including Kraków, Sandomierz, Warsaw, Płock, Włocławek, Toruń, Bydgoszcz, Świecie, Grudziądz, Tczew and Gdańsk. It empties into the Vistula Lagoon (Zalew Wiślany) or directly into the Gdańsk Bay of the Baltic Sea with a delta and several branches (Leniwka, Przekop, Śmiała Wisła, Martwa Wisła, Nogat and Szkarpawa).
Cracow - climate
Kraków has an oceanic climate (Cfb) according to the Köppen climate classification system, one of the easternmost localities in Europe to do so. A mere 100 km (62 mi) north-east of Kraków (east of Tarnów, and north of Kielce), the January mean dips below ?3 °C (27 °F) and thus becomes continental (Dfb) in nature. The Kraków climate is also influenced by its far inland position, with significant temperature differences between seasons. Average temperatures in summer range from 18 to 19.6 °C (64 to 67 °F) and in winter from ?2.0 to ?0.6 °C (28 to 31 °F). The average annual temperature is 8.7 °C (48 °F). In summer temperatures often exceed 25 °C (77 °F), and even 30 °C (86 °F), while winter drops to ?5 °C (23 °F) at night and about 0 °C (32 °F) at day; during very cold nights the temperature can drop to ?15 °C (5 °F). Since Kraków lies near the Tatra Mountains, there are often occurrences of halny blowing (a foehn wind), causing temperatures to rise rapidly, and even in winter reach up to 20 °C (68 °F).
Cracow and Golden Age
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