The city is situated in the southern part of Poland, on the Vistula River, in a valley at the foot of the Carpathian Mountains, constituting the natural border with Slovakia and the Czech Republic; 230 km west from the border with Ukraine.
Krakow has traditionally been one of the leading centers of Polish academic, cultural, and artistic life and is one of Poland's most important economic hubs. It was the capital of Poland from 1038 to 1569. It is now the capital of the Lesser Poland Voivodeship.
UNESCO approved the first ever sites for its new World Heritage List, including the entire Old Town in inscribing Cracow's Historic Centre. Developed over many centuries, Krakow provides a showcase setting for many historic styles of architecture. The main reasons for visiting the city are: its historical monuments, recreation as well as relatives and friends, religion (focused on Wawel) and business.
Krakow is one of Poland's most important economic centers, and the economic hub of the Lesser Poland (Małopolska) region. There are about 50 large multinational companies in the city.