Wawel is the name of a lime hillock situated on the left bank of the Vistula in Krakow, Poland, at an altitude of 228 metres above sea level. This is a symbolic place of great significance for Polish people. The Royal Castle and the Cathedral are situated on the Hill. Polish Royalty and many distinguished Poles are interred in the Cathedral and royal coronations took place there.
The history of the medieval Wawel is deeply intertwined with the history of the Polish lands and Polish royal dynasties during the Middle Ages. The political and dynastic tensions that led to the final ascendence of Krakow as the royal seat are complex, but for most of the Middle Ages and the Renaissance, Wawel was the seat of national government. As the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth formed and grew, Wawel became the seat of one of Europe's most important states. This status was only lost when the capital was moved to Warsaw in the 17th century. When Poland lost its political independence during the period of the partitions, Wawel became a symbol of the lost nation; demonstrations and meetings combined contemporary political action with a claim for the significance of the once-powerful state, taking on nationalist overtones.
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