The most enduring work of King Casimir

King Casimir the Great (Kazimierz Wielki, 1310-1370) gained his sobriquet as a result of his wise reign, during which his country prospered politically and economically. The monarch as farsighted as enlightened decided also to care for the education of his subjects and founded Poland’s first university.

Known under its Latin name, Studium Generale, the University was simply called the Kraków Academy in Polish. The founding Charter was issued on 12th May 1364, which places Poland’s first university as among the oldest in this part of Europe, second only to Prague (1348).

The history of the University – in the 19th century it was renamed the Jagiellonian to honour the royal couple Ladislaus (Władysław) Jagiełło and his wife Jadwiga, who helped it to flourish – has among its alumni plenty names of eminent students, graduates, and professors who have won recognition in Poland and abroad. It is enough to mention the author of the heliocentric theory, Nicolas Copernicus (Mikołaj Kopernik), Karol Wojtyła, later Pope John Paul II, the writer Stanisław Lem, and the Nobel-winning poet Wisława Szymborska.

Besides Kazimierz – a city chartered in the vicinity of Kraków, which today is one of its districts – the Jagiellonian University can without doubt be called the most enduring work of the King.

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