Intellectual Life

After its establishment under Magdeburg Law Kraków experienced economic prosperity and attained the position of the country’s capital. With the growth of numerous cultural and academic institutions, both secular and religious and also with the development of education and international contacts, intellectual life in Kraków flourished .
The foundation of the Kraków Academy by King Casimir the Great (Kazimierz Wielki) (1310-1370) on the 12th of May 1364 was an important event in the city’s history. Simultaneously with the royal act, the city councillors of Kraków issued their own document, which defined the relationship between the city and the school. Soon, the Kraków Academy became an important academic centre, attracting students from all over Poland, Silesia, Bohemia, Hungary, Austria, Brandenburg and Prussia. Many of its professors and students came from the burgher class and the inhabitants of the city as well as its authorities would often contribute to the maintenance of the Academy.
In the 16th century Kraków thus played the role of a cultural, academic and artistic centre of some European standing. Soon, the new intellectual currents, namely Humanism and Reformation, reached the city attracting such outstanding scholars as Filippo Buonaccorsi, called Kallimach (1437-1496), Konrad Celtis (1459-1508) and Laurentius Corvinus (Wawrzyniec Korwin) (about 1470-1527), who in turn attracted intellectuals from among the burgher class. Many scholars were enthusiastic about Erasmus of Rotterdam (1467-1536), the great humanist, with whom they kept up a lively correspondence.
In the mid 17th century Kraków experienced economic decline and the royal court's removal to Warsaw. With a lack of any cohesive reform of the Kraków Academy, wars and occupation by foreign troops and restrictions on the burghers’ rights imposed by the nobility Kraków gradually began to loose its importance as an academic centre.

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