You may well have heard of the Polish city of Kraków - nowadays it's one of the most popular destinations in the country. Throughout history, there's been a lot of rivalry between Warsaw and Kraków. Kraków was actually the capital of Poland for several hundred years, and later continued to be a centre of religion and intellectual life. Unlike Warsaw, it didn't suffer destruction during the second world war, and it's full of architectural monuments dating from the Middle Ages and Renaissance.
The communist regime that came to power after the second world war built one of the largest steelworks in Europe, Nowa Huta, just outside Kraków. Normally, location of industry is determined by factors such as availability of raw materials, labour force, transport infrastructure and so on. But in this case none of those factors were taken into account - rail and road links had to be built, raw materials had to be brought in from huge distances, the workforce had to be moved in from other parts of Poland ..... The motivation was purely political - the idea was to introduce a working-class element as a counterweight to the traditionally conservative, Catholic, and therefore oppositional population of the city. No thought was given to pollution control, and the result was an ecological disaster, affecting the stability of the historic buildings and the health of the population. When I first went to Kraków in 1981, the old city was still impressive but terribly dilapidated, and the Swedish guide book I had with me advised visitors not to stay longer than 12 hours!
Things have changed a lot since then. The air and river have been cleaned up, and many of the buildings have been beautifully restored.
From Kraków, you can travel south to the Tatra mountains along the border with Slovakia, with their fantastic scenery and abundant opportunities for walking, climbing, skiing, etc.
This photo shows part of the Cloth Hall in Kraków's huge main town square:
And this one was taken looking through one of the archways of the Cloth Hall:
The next photo shows the 14th century church at one corner of the square. According to legend, during a raid on the city by a Tartar army, the watchman at the top of the church tower saw the invaders approaching, and picked up his trumpet and started to play a melody to raise the alarm, but he was interrupted by an arrow in the neck. And today, a trumpeter plays the same melody every hour on the hour, stopping suddenly at exactly the point where the original trumpeter is supposed to have been hit by the arrow.
The next one is just a street scene in the old town in Kraków, but I quite like it:
Please bear in mind that all these photos are pretty old, and Kraków is a lot more colourful and international-looking nowadays.
Anastasia: You're right - you could actually say:
...poet and dramatist who is still considered one of the most outstanding figures...
as well as:
...poet and dramatist who is still considered to be one of the most outstanding figures...
Here are the solutions to yesterday's question about contractions:
1 Sorry, I have to go now. Don't contract subject + 'have to'.
2 You must not tell anyone. This can be 'You mustn't .....'
3 I have dinner when I get home in the evening. Don't contract subject + 'have' as a main verb.
4 The programme will be starting soon. This can be 'The programme'll be .....'
5 There are no tickets left. Don't contract 'There are'. (Probably some people do, but it isn't considered correct.)
6 No, it is not. This is usually 'No, it isn't'.
7 One is all right but the other is rubbish. This can be 'One's all right but the other's rubbish'.
8 If I could help you, I would. Don't contract 'would' (or other auxiliary verbs) if there's no other verb following.
9 I had had three coffees by the time she arrived. This can be 'I'd had .....'
10 Here is one idea. This can be 'Here's .....'
11 This is something that has always confused me. This can be '..... that's always confused me.' (You can't contract 'This is'.)
12 I have a look whenever I go to England. This is similar to number 3.
13 What is the difference? This can be 'What's the difference?'
Sometimes the decision whether to write a contracted form or not depends on stylistic considerations. For example, in number 4, the contraction of 'will' to ''ll' is normal in speech, but in formal kinds of writing the uncontracted form is preferred.
Here's a little challenge for today. Look through Sylvia's blogs from the 13th and 15th December, and mine from the 14th and 17th, and find phrases that mean the same as the phrases in bold:
1 I was totally exhausted.
2 something that I've never been able to understand
3 It's crazy.
4 It's hard to stop yourself doing something.
5 I always buy from the same supplier.
6 finding books by chance
7 you have to deputise for someone
8 It depends on how I feel.
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