The foundation of Krakow under Magdeburg Law had a great impact on the economic development of the city. Apart from local trade, which involved the sale of crafts for the needs of the inhabitants of the city, it was the great transit trade which brought about the city’s economic prosperity. It was due to the great trade routes: the east-west route (between the Black Sea and the North Sea) and the north-south route (from Hungary to Royal Prussia, and further to the Baltic and North Sea); both these major routes crossed in Krakow. The most important goods in transit were: rock salt, lead, copper and cloth, all of which contributed to the wealth of Krakow.
Rock salt had been excavated in the mines of Bochnia and Wieliczka since the 13th century. The Krakow salt mines were a royal enterprise and the merchants of Krakow (the so-called prasołs) completely monopolised the trade of this profitable item.
The vicinity of Krakow (the region of Olkusz and Sławków) was rich in deposits of argentiferous galena (lead ore with a high silver content) and starting from the second half of the 13th century, Krakow became an important centre of the lead trade and an exporter to Western Europe.
The 14th and 15th centuries was a period of great interest in the copper trade. It was the time when the importing of this metal from Hungary (mines in Slovakia) contributed considerably to the economic prosperity of Krakow. Among the cities of the Hansa, Krakow was called just Copper House.
Since earliest times, cloth was one of the most important items of Krakow's economy. Imported from Flanders (through Bohemia and Germany) and later from Italy, it was sold in the Cloth Hall (Sukiennice), which was built especially for this purpose by Prince Boleslaus the Chastel (Bolesław Wstydliwy, 1226-1279).
The flourishing of Krakow trade was enhanced by the privileges granted to the city by successive rulers. These privileges were, first of all, the right to the storage of goods and the road compulsion right as well as the appointment of marketing days and the introduction of favourable duty reductions. Thanks to all these factors, Krakow emerged the most successful in the competition between other towns and cities, such as Bochnia, Sącz, Toruń, Sandomierz and Lviv

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