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Wadowice

Wadowice is a city in southern Poland, 50km from Kraków with 19,200 inhabitants (2006), situated on the Skawa river, confluence of Vistula, in the eastern part of Silesian Foothills (Pogórze Śląskie). Wadowice is best known for being the birthplace of Pope John Paul II.HistoryThe first permanent settlement in the area of today's Wadowice was founded in the late 10th century or early 11th century. According to a local legend, the town was founded by certain Wad or Wład, a short form for the Slavic name of Ladislaus. The town was first mentioned as Wadowicze in St. Peter penny register in the years 1325–1327. In 1327 it is also mentioned (under the same name) in a fief registry sent from prince John I Scholastyk of Oświęcim to Bohemian king John I, Count of Luxemburg. At this time it was a trading settlement belonging to the Dukes of Silesia of the Piast Dynasty, and according to some historians it was already a municipality. In 1430 a great fire destroyed the town. It was soon rebuilt and granted city rights, along with a city charter and a self-government, based on the then-popular Kulm law. The privileges, granted by Prince Kazimierz I of Oświęcim led to a period of fast reconstruction and growth.
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