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Wawel Castle

The Wawel Castle – a symbol of the independent Polish State.

Wawel is a fortified architectural complex erected atop a hill on the left side of the Vistula river in Krakow, Poland. The complex consists of many buildings and fortifications. The most important of these is the Royal Castle, the Wawel Cathedral, Basilica of Saint Stanislaw and Saint Waclaw. The castle, being one of the largest in Poland, represents nearly all European architectural styles of medieval, renaissance and baroque periods.

Wawel is a place of a great significance for the Polish people. It constituted the principal fortified castrum of the Vistulans tribe in the 9th century. The first historical ruler Mieszko I of Poland (965–992) and his successors: Boleslaw I the Brave (992–1025) and Mieszko II (1025–1034) chose Wawel to be one of their residences. At the same time, Wawel became one of the principal Polish centers of Christianity. A stone Romanesque cathedral serving as the bishopric of Krakow was built there in the year 1000. From the reign of Casimir the Restorer (1034–1058), Wawel became the leading political and administrative center for the Polish State.

Until 1611, Wawel was the formal seat of the Polish monarchy. The Wawel Cathedral was not only a place of coronation for the Kings of Poland but also their mausoleum. Later, it became a national pantheon.

In the 20th century, Wawel was the residence of the Presidents of Poland. After the Nazi invasion during the World War II, Wawel became the residence of the Nazi General Governor. Following the cessation of hostilities, Wawel was restored and once again turned to a national museum, a place of worship and center depicting Poland’s complex history.

The Wawel Royal Castle and the Wawel Hill constitute the most historically and culturally significant monument in the country. In 1978 it was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site as part of the Historic center of Krakow.

Short bio of the volunteer:

Martyna Krupinska a volunteer from Poland, loves traveling, hiking, and skiing.


Erasmus+ is a programme of the European Commission embracing the fields of education, training, youth and sports during the period 2014-2020. One of the major aspects is the cooperation between the different fields where the programme acts, hence contributing for a diverse and rich Europe.

Amongst the several goals of the programme, the following are prioritised: the objectives of the Europe 2020 Strategy, including the headline education target; the aims of the strategic framework for European cooperation in education and training (ET 2020), including the corresponding benchmarks; the sustainable development of Partner Countries in the field of higher education; the overall goals of the renewed framework for European cooperation in the youth field (2010-2018); the objective of developing the European dimension in sport, in particular grassroots sport, in line with the EU work plan for sport and the promotion of European values in accordance with Article 2 of the Treaty on the European Union.

In order to achieve these goals, the Erasmus+ has several action policies. The Key Action 1 (KA1) is directed towards the mobility of people; Key Action 2 (KA2) for the cooperation for innovation and the interchange of good experiences; and Key Action 3 (KA3) which is for the support of reformation policies.

European Voluntary Service

Since 1991 the University of Madeira Students’ Union has developed a wide incentive policy for voluntary work. In 2013 the Students’ Union started the process to receive, send and coordinate Erasmus+ projects of the European Voluntary Service, in order to have a larger influence in the volunteering field. The Union received its first volunteer withing the ambit of a KA1 project in 2014. Many efforts have been done to allow young people from Madeira to take part in several initiatives in Europe, as well as propose several projects allowing young people from several countries to work in the projects of the Students’ Union of the University of Madeira. The main goal of the voluntary work is the contribution of the volunteers to the communities and places they will be staying, being their work not rewarded with payment.

We believe that the European Voluntary Service is a mechanism full of experiences, allowing the approved candidates to have the privilege of taking part in these projects and benefit the places and communities where these volunteers will be staying.

Since 2013, the University of Madeira Students’ Union has received volunteers that have collaborated in several activities and initiatives. Besides being able to enjoy a wonderful experience which will contribute to their personal and professional growth, they are able to contribute in a unique way to the community in which they are inserted and to join dozens of volunteers from the University of Madeira.