Krakow Arena during the match France v USA at the Men's World Championships 2014
Krakow, Poland, July 11, 2016 – After 54 matches of Preliminary Round action involving 12 teams across nine countries, all eyes turn to Poland sport’s hotspot Krakow for the FIVB Volleyball World League Group 1 Finals, which take place from Wednesday through to Sunday.
Brazil, USA, Serbia, France and Italy have joined hosts Poland in Kraków - the second largest city and one of the oldest in the country, renowned for its cultural, scientific and religious heritage. In 1038 Kraków became the capital of Poland and was the main city for over five centuries until Polish capital moved to Warsaw in 1596.
FIVB Volleyball World League 2016 - Media Guide
Kraków was one of the main volleyball centres in Poland when the sport first arrived in the country in the late 1920s. Both men's (Cracovia) and women's (YMCA) teams finished high in the rankings in the Polish Championships before World War II.
Since late 1940s it was team of Wisła who managed to successfully compete at the highest women's level in Poland, claiming six titles and finishing 12 times as runner’s up. In the men's competition Krakow was strongly represented by the team of Hutnik who claimed two titles and finished six times as runner’s up. Nowadays there are no teams from Kraków in the Polish Premier League (neither women nor men).
FIVB Volleyball World League Group 1 Ranking after the Preliminary Round
The most famous volleyball player from Kraków is Magdalena Śliwa who started her career at Wisła in 1986 and won the Women's European Championship twice in 2003 and 2005.
Since the construction of the new 14,752 capacity Tauron Arena in 2014, Kraków is hosting more and more significant volleyball events in Poland. It was one of the outstanding venues for the FIVB Volleyball Men's World Championship Poland 2014 and last year's World League Intercontinental Round when USA visited while it also hosted the Final Four Tournament of the 2016 CEV Champions League – Men.
The state of the art Tauron Arena at the time of the FIVB Volleyball Men's World Championship Poland 2014
"It gives me great pleasure that another key FIVB event will unfold in front of the passionate Polish volleyball fans,” FIVB President Dr. Ary S. Graca F° said. “I am looking forward to seeing the exhilarating action unfold as we build up to the Rio 2016 Olympic Games."
"Until now, Katowice in 2001, 2007 and Gdansk in 2011 were the two Polish cities who had the pleasure of hosting the World League Finals. This year Kraków joins the club with its beautiful, state-of-the-art Tauron Arena. I would like to give my thanks to Prof. Jacek Majchrowski, Mayor of Krakow, as well as the city’s institutions and authorities, for the fruitful cooperation and for effectively promoting the city through sport" added Jacek Kasprzyk, President of the Polish Volleyball Federation.
A tour of Krakow (at the time of the FIVB Volleyball Men's World Championship Poland 2014)
Beautifully located on both Wisła riverbanks, Krakow is one of Poland's most popular tourist destinations. Highlights include the medieval old town, residence of Polish kings Wawel Royal Castle, the former Jewish part of the city Kazimierz and Jagielloński University which, founded in 1364, is one of the oldest institutions of higher education in Europe. Krakow is visited by more than 10m people every year.
Approximately 50 kilometers from Kraków in Wadowice Karol Wojtyła was born who went down in history as Paul John II, first ever Pope from Slavic countries and very beloved throughout the world.