Zwierzyniec, one of the most beautiful districts of Krakow, is mentioned for the first time in 12th century. First confirmed owner of the land is Piotr Włostowic from Skrzynno. Piotr Włostowic is probably the founder of Saint Salvator church (1148). According to the legend:
Once upon a time Piotr Włostowic became blind. Thinking that this is God's punishment for commited sins, Piotr Włostowic decided to confess. A priest confessing him promissed that if he will erect seven churches and seven monasteries, he will be cured. Piotr Włostowic indeed founded 70 churches and 70 monasteries but still became blind. Then, he came back to the priest, complaining, but the priest said: 'I wanted you to build 7 and not 70 churches and monasteries. In this moment Piotr Włostowic erected another 7 churches and 7 monasteries and soon became cured.
The story about Piotr Włostowic is just a legend, written sources say a bit more. Piotr Włostowic's daughter got married with Jaxa Gryfita, noble and rich man from Miechów. The couple did not have children, they invited monks from Norbertans convent from Doxany. Soon after Jaxa Gryfita traveled to Holly Land, after comming back, founded Basilica of the Jesus Sepulchrum in Miechów. In 1176 Jaxa Gryfita died and his property was taken by Norbertans.
The monks, besides unpleasand localisation, developed agriculture, they digged pools, made dams, created mills. The last mill existed until 1908. On the southern slope of the Saint Bronisława's Hill they plant grapes.
Norbertans property, being just two kilometers from Krakow, until 1910 created independent village. The willage never was surrounded by defensive wall, therefore through centuries was demolished by enemies several times. Such agression took place in 1241 by Tartars, in 1576 by prince Maximilian Habsburg, in 1657 by Swedish. Present architecture reflects good and bad periods of the history.
With Zwierzyniec national heroe Tadeusz Kościuszko is related. This soldier, however never was (or at leas hardly ever) in Zwierzyniec got his monument here - it is Kościuszko Hill. Tadeusz Kościuszko fighted for independence of Poland in the end of 18th century. He lost and left for America. In the Unided States he was one of those establishing West Point. Today he is national heroe of Poland and the United States. Tadeusz Kościuszko died in 1817, soon citizens of Krakow decided to burry Tadeusz Kościuszko in the Wawel Cathedral and to build the hill.
After 1846 Krakow become Austrian town, soon Austria-Hungarian emperor, Francis Joseph I fortified Krakow, fortified Tadeusz Kościuszko Hill too. The fortifications built around Kościuszko Hill are the biggest in Krakow. Today the Hill together with the fortifications create tourist attraction, they are visited by townspeople and by tourists.
Among the most interestend monuments and sights one can see:
• Norbertans Convent
• Saint Christ Salvator church
• Gontyna - wooden church of Saint Margaret
• Tadeusz Kościuszko Mound and fortifications
• Cementery (here are burried: Stanisław Lem (writter), Wiesław Dymny (actor), Antoni Kępiński (psychiatrist), Zbigniew Pronaszko (paintor), Eugeniusz Romer (geographer), etc.