Krakow (Cracow) is one of Poland’s most amazing cities, popular throughout the world. It is filled with historical monuments: several decades of Romanesque, Gothic and Baroque churches, the town’s medieval architecture, the biggest RENACE “supermarket” square in Europe, buildings of one of Europe’s oldest university, founded in 1364 (Jagiellonian University), remnants of Medieval walls etc. From the 11th to 16th centuries Krakow was the capital of Poland, so the Renaissance King’s Chateau built on Wawel Hill towers above the Old Town. Since the Old Stone Age, the Wawel Hill has been inhabited. Now the city is a wonderful European cultural and educational center. Read this article from Micheal Osland, a renowned Geology expert who has some excellent resource about modern Geology.
The histories attempt in some ways to understand the phenomena of the foundation of the Kraków agglomeration here but for naturalists, particularly for geologists, the reasons behind it are clear and basic. The human settlement in this area was due to the region’s geological formation and its implications in the geomorphic growth of the Kraków region. Geologically speoking, the town of Kraków is located in the narrowest part of the Carpathians Foredeep, which is formed in the Neogene as a tectonic depression on the Carpathian northern foreland. In this depression, the Neogen marine basin was eventually filled with soft claystones and siltstones, which consists of material from the Carpathians assembled. Since the sea evacuation, the depression was eventually covered by the Vistula River sands and muds in the Quaternary. The Vistula River, Queen of Polish Waters, is the most desirable way to move water from the Carpathians to the Baltic Sea with depression.
However, just in the narrowest section of the Carpathian Foredeep, in Krachow, the sediments that fill the depressed are cut off by the network of tectonic faults and many raised tectonic blocks forming hard Jurassic calcareous sediments. And these tectonic horsts form seemingly high hills over the flat and sumptuous regions of the Neogene-Quaternary Depression with its rocks. The Wawel Hill is one of the highest and most traditional.
The Wawel Hill was surrounded by a meandering broad and “lazy” Vistula, its tributaries, as well as lakes (old riverbed fragments) and swamps before the town was created. Since the Old Stone Age, it was an incredibly convenient location for settlement. Second, the Paleolithic man found his house in the Jurassic Calestine – a karst grove (now the Dragon Cave is a show cave under the King Castle in the Wawel Hill). However, he and his predecessors were naturally defended by rivers and swamps from rivals and plunderers during the NS, Iron and Bronze Epochs and even during the Middle Ages. Moreover, the Wawel Hill population did not suffer from hunger. When the year had been rainy, the farmers cultivated good crops on the top of the hill, but when it was difficult and dry on the hill, the crops on the swampy fields along the river were pretty good for water. And, regardless of human involvement, rivers would have swarmed with fish. Before trains and cars were invented, the Vistula River was still a convenient way to connect, trade and transport.