The academic traditions of Krakow reach deep into the 14th century: already in 1364, King Kazimierz Wielki (Casimir the Great) founded the Academy of Krakow, which following its refounding in 1400 has remained the source of the city's intellectual power. The university is one of the oldest universities in Central Europe; second only to Prague's Charles University. The graduates of the university include Nicolaus Copernicus, the astronomer and author of the heliocentric theory, and Karol Wojtyla who on becoming the Pope assumed the name of John Paul II.
To this day the University, since the 19th century known as Jagiellonian, has played the leading role among several Krakow universities. Currently, the number of the city's most noteworthy universities includes: AGH University of Science and Technology, Krakow University of Technology, Krakow University of Economics, and Krakow Academy of Fine Arts, Poland's first artistic school. Besides those, there are nearly 100 research institutes in the city. The most ancient institution of scientific research is Polish Academy of Arts and Sciences, which continues the work of Krakow Learned Society founded in 1815.
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