This unit was developed by Halina Wesołowska    Bibliography   Didactic Comments  

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Didactic Commentary: Krakow - Renaissance - Economy

1. The subject “Economy of 16th century Kraków” consists of five parts:.

- Guild economy,

- Trade,

- Wood and timber industry,

- Printing industry,

- Mining.

Each subject consists of a general information part complemented with the source materials and pictures. The task sections are placed below each information part and each source material part. The majority of the source materials are visual materials (the relevant Internet links are included). The texts and assignments provide the base for discussion and a detailed analysis of the presented problems. The information texts present only general knowledge about the economic life of 16th century Kraków. They can, however, be considered as the starting point for further study and use of additional source materials. Their major objective is to present the European dimension of  Kraków economic life in the 16th century. The analysis of the presented texts gives a clear picture of Kraków in 16th century Europe, shows its connections with other European centres of that time, and emphasizes its economic influence on Middle Eastern Europe. Keeping in mind the 16th century development of paper mills and printing in Kraków, students should answer the questions how trade exchange contributes to the general development, and why inventiveness and innovation become the sources of progress and wealth.

2. Level of difficulty:

The difficulty level of the individual tasks differs. The more difficult tasks requiring creativeness and independent thinking are designated with an asterisk. Students can also be asked to present individual subjects in the form of a board game. Although preparing such a game may prove time-consuming, a well-designed chart may also be used with other student groups. It also facilitates the learning process by combining playing activities with skills development. In many of the tasks, students are asked to describe and analyse the miniature pictures from the Balthasar Behem Codex. The miniatures are a splendid source of knowledge about the 16th century economic life of Kraków and its inhabitants.