By no means did that event mark the beginning of the city, which had been the base of a tribal chief for a few centuries, became the seat of a bishop at the end of the 10th century, and was recorded among notable trade hubs in 966–967. Nevertheless, the events of seven-and-a-half centuries ago marked a turning point in the history of Kraków, which finally received a legal constitution to put it in the ranks of developed European cities as well as spatial design that has to this day stood the test of time as a flawless exercise in urban planning.
So it is with justification that we embark on the festive celebration of the 750th anniversary of the Great Charter, an element of which is this book – initially devised as an album of artistic photographs portraying
the development of Kraków from its earliest historical days to the present. Each photograph is accompanied by an ample caption, so that it may not only speak to the readers through its charm, but also help to outline the centuries-long process of the shaping of the town. The same goal is to a greater extent followed by the complementary text section of the book, which portrays the history of Kraków in an accessible manner following the latest knowledge and research. The task of describing the city in words was attempted by recognised specialists in the history of the city. They have presented the development of Kraków from the point of view of their field of expertise: spatial development, evolution of the legal system, formation of the burgher community, economic history, and spiritual culture.