Krakow's 1000-year tradition is known not only in the history of the city but also in that of Poland and Europe. The best known figures are kings, queens, scientists, artists and politicians, among others Bishop Adalbert of Prague, Nicolaus Copernicus, Kazimierz the Great, Tadeusz Kościuszko and Stanisław Wyspianski.
Krakow is the academic and cultural centre of Poland. Tadeusz Kantor was born and spent most of his working life here. Contemporary Krakow was inhabited by the great literary figures Stanislaw Lem and Slawomir Mrozek, the composer Krzysztof Penderecki, the literary Nobel prize winner Wislawa Szymborska and the film director Andrzej Wajda. John Paul II our late Pope was born not far away from Krakow and it was here that he began his spiritual career and became a priest.