NEW YORK -- When Krakow celebrates its designation as a European
Cultural Capital in 2000, its Jagiellonian University will mark a
600th anniversary with exhibitions and a carnival.
Jagiellonian, located in the Old Town quarters of Krakow, is the
oldest university in Poland.
For centuries, the university has played a crucial role in
preserving Polish culture and history, especially during the years
of foreign partition and occupation. The university's most
prominent professors were executed by the Nazis at the outbreak of
World War II.
Among the university's notable alumni are the astronomer
Nicolaus Copernicus; Pope John Paul II; Pawel Wlodkowicz and
Stanislaw ze Skalbierza, two of the architects of European
international law; Zygmunt Wroblewski and Karol Olszewski, who
first liquefied oxygen and nitrogen, and Napoleon Cybulski, a
pioneer in the study of the hormone, adrenaline.
The 600th anniversary celebration officially began May 12, but
festivities will last for two years, with the central jubilee
events being scheduled for the beginning of the academic year
As early as June 2000, there is expected to be an open-air event
in the Main Market Square, and from May through October, an
exhibition is planned on the Treasures of the Jagiellonian
Included in the exhibition will be objects from the university's
collections, such as paintings and sculptures, historical
scientific instruments and documents significant to the history of
the university (seals, insignia, memorabilia of famous professors
and graduates and bibliophile publications).
From Sept. 29 to Oct. 1, 2000, the village of Pychowice, where a
new university campus is being built, will become the scene of the
The school was founded in 1364 by King Casimir the Great under
the name The Krakow Academy. In 1400, King Ladislaus Jagiello added
a department of theology and refounded the academy as a university
with financing from Queen Hedwig (Jadwiga), who bequeathed her
personal wealth to the school.
With the royal backing and its already established academic
excellence, the university emerged as a leading center of Polish
In late recognition of its founder and refounder, the university
adopted the name the Jagiellonian University in 1881.
Polish Tourist Board