According to legend, Kraków was founded by King Krakus of the Vistulan tribes around 700 AD. Within 250 years, it became a major trade center. The Mongols destroyed everything in 1241. When Kraków received a city charter in 1257, Bolesław V the Chaste, the High Duke of Poland, ordered it be rebuilt according to a grid pattern. Main Market Square has been the epicenter ever since. Within these nine acres are several historic landmarks including colorful townhouses (kamienice) over 500 years old. In the center is the Adam Mickiewicz Monument. This 1898 statue is a tribute to the national poet of Poland. He lived in the first half of the 19th century. This plaza (Rynek Główny) – the largest medieval square in Europe – is an excellent place to begin your walking tour of Kraków’s Historic District. In 1978, Old Town (Stare Miasto) was among the first in its entirety to be designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Within hours of visiting this beautiful medieval city, you will understand why it richly deserves so much praise and accolades.