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England And Poland: Medieval Metropolises Compared

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Chapter Summary

This chapter focuses on London and Kraków as capitals, but takes other major urban centres into account. It explores the roles of the two capitals within the English and the Polish territories. The discussion is arranged around three headings: the origins and geo-political settings of the two cities, a topic which touches on state formation; their commercial and demographic significance; and their roles as royal centres or capitals. The chapter compares the two territories in terms of the shape of their urban hierarchies and of the distribution of urban, governmental and cultural functions. The differences and similarities revealed help understanding some of the essential characteristics of each of the two states and their cities in these two relatively peripheral regions of Europe. At the same time they throw light on more general processes and on the relationship between cities and power.

Keywords: Kraków; London; Poland; Polish urban centres



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