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City Charter and Wax Seal, Krakow, Poland, 2002

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Poland's capital since 1038, Krakow, the bustling trade center of Slavonic Europe, entered its golden age in the 15th century, when this historic charter was sealed. Under the 45-year reign of King Casimir IV, Poland emerged as one of Europe's greatest powers and a thriving cultural center. Scholars (including Copernicus), architects, and artists contributed to Krakow's magnificent renaissance.

(Photo shot on assignment for, but not published in, "Bohemian Rhapsody," July/August 2002, National Geographic Traveler magazine)

Photograph by Les Stone

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