Krakow’s story: a Unesco City of Literature built out of books

Krakow, Unesco City of Literature

Paved with poetry … Krakow

To mark Krakow’s appointment as Unesco City of Literature, a set of super-sized, multi-coloured letters were placed in the iconic medieval Marketlplace (“Rynek”), spelling out “Krakow, City of Literature” in Polish (“Miasto literatury”). Overnight, the citizens demonstrated their creative spirit by rearranging the letters to form messages of their own (some not fit to be printed).

Krakow lives and breathes literature. No city could be more eminently qualified for the Unesco title, which is now in its seventh year, withEdinburgh and Norwich among previous recipients. It’s hard to imagine how it can add to its existing plethora of literary events: it hosts two annual international literary festivals, a book fair, and any number ofpoetry readings; it is home to the Polish Book Institute – a superb public organisation which exists to promote Polish literature at home and abroad. It’s also home to several publishing houses, from old and traditional to young and ground-breaking.

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