BY YARED TESFAY
Yesterday, I went to the City Hall in Krakow, Poland, to interview Prof. Jacek M Majchrowski, Mayor of the Royal Capital City of Kraków since 2002 (re-elected in 2006, 2010 and in 2014), a lawyer, historian, and a professor at Jagiellonian University.
He became a member of the Democratic Left Alliance, a major left-wing Polish political party, but suspended his membership for the duration of his mayorship in Kraków.
He has written 14 history books, specializing mostly in the history of Polish political thought and doctrines. On 7 December 2015, he became Co-President of the Council of European municipalities and Regions.
It was a great interview – we talked about ASMARA – KRAKOW potential of becoming sister cities to help promote cultural and commercial ties between both World Heritage Sites.
The Interview will be broadcasted soon on Eritrea national television.
The city has grown from a stone age settlement to Poland’s second most important city. It began as a hamlet on Wawel Hill and was already being reported as a busy trading centre of Slavonic Europe in 965.
With the establishment of new Universities and cultural venues at the emergence of the second Polish Republic in 1918 and throughout the 20th century, Kraków reaffirmed its role as a major national academic and artistic centre. The city has a population of approximately 760,000.
After the invasion of Poland at the start of World War II, Kraków became the capital of Germany’s General Government. The Jewish population of the city was forced into a walled zone known as the Kraków Ghetto, from which they were sent to German extermination camps such as the nearby Auschwitz never to return, and the Nazi concentration camps like Płaszów.
In 1978, Karol Wojtyła, Archbishop of Kraków, was elevated to the papacy as Pope John Paul II — the first Slavic pope ever, and the first non-Italian pope in 455 years.
Also that year, UNESCO approved the first ever sites for its new World Heritage List, including the entire Old Town in inscribing Cracow’s Historic Centre.
Kraków is classified as a global city with the ranking of high sufficiency by GaWC. Cited as one of Europe’s most beautiful cities, as well as one of the most unique destinations in the world, its extensive cultural heritage across the epochs of Gothic, Renaissance and Baroque architecture includes the Wawel Cathedral and the Royal Castle on the banks of the Vistula river, the St. Mary’s Basilica, Saints Peter and Paul Church and the largest medieval market square in Europe, the Rynek Główny.
Kraków is home to Jagiellonian University, one of the oldest universities in the world and traditionally Poland’s most reputable institution of higher learning.
In 2000, Kraków was named European Capital of Culture. In 2013 Kraków was officially approved as a UNESCO City of Literature.