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From the history of Oriental Studies at the Jagiellonian University

The beginnings of Oriental studies as an academic discipline in Krakow date back to the sixteenth century, when almost all of the then existing European universities initiated Hebrew studies, indispensable for the exegesis of the Holy Scriptures [i]. At the time the Hebrew language was taught at the Krakow Academy by Dawid Leonard [ii] (c. 1528), Jan van den Campen [iii] (1534), Walerian Pernus [iv] (1536-1540), Jan of Trzciana (died in 1567), Francesco Stancaro (Franciscus Stancarus) from Mantua (1549-1550) and Wojciech Buszowski (1564-1569). In the following centuries the teaching of Oriental languages was still related to the theological studies and its level was rather low. With time the knowledge of Hebrew at the University nearly disappeared, and we have no information about any scholarly works from that period.

The 19th century brought a revival of interest in the oriental studies. The imperial ordinance on the merging of the University of Lviv with the University of Krakow from 1805 asserted the expansion of the Theological Faculty and new chairs of Oriental languages (Hebrew, Chaldean, Syrian and Arabic), ​​as well as in Hebrew antiquities and Old Testament exegesis were to be established. In 1815 the Council of the Faculty of Theology passed a similar resolution to open the chair of Eastern languages ​​(Hebrew, Syrian, Chaldean) and Biblical archaeology, and of the philology and exegesis of the Old Testament [v].

In 1818, the efforts of Jerzy Samuel Bandtki [vi] led to establishing at the Faculty of Philosophy the first Chair of Oriental Languages ​​and Oriental Literature. It was entrusted to Wilhelm Münnich, a scholar from Göttingen[vii]. The program of the first two years included: introduction to Eastern languages ​​and literature, Hebrew, Syrian, Chaldean, Turkic, Arabic, Persian and Ethiopian, while in the third year students were acquainted with Oriental (mainly Persian) literature. The lectures were attended by students of the faculties of Philosophy, Law and Theology; each year there were six of them – a considerable number in those days. In addition to teaching, prof. Münnich also conducted academic research, which resulted in such works as: A Comparison of Polish and Persian Poets (1823), Allegorical Meanings of Persian Poems (1825) and De poesi Persica (1825) [viii]. The chair existed for eight years and then, in 1827, was closed due to the lack of support from the University's authorities [ix].

The need to continue teaching Eastern languages ​​(especially Arabic and Turkish) at the Jagiellonian University was repeatedly expressed by Joachim Lelewel, who suggested in a letter written in 1849 to Józef Muczkowski, curator of the Jagiellonian Library and professor of bibliography at the Jagiellonian University to invite to the Chair of Eastern Languages in Krakow Ignacy Pietraszewski from the Berlin University, who was the owner of an impressive collection of Muslim coins. Unfortunately, this idea did not come to fruition [x].


The opportunity to establish Oriental studies at the Jagiellonian University reappeared at the beginning of the 20th century. In 1911 the Council of the Faculty of Philology  received the application of Dr. Tadeusz Jan Kowalski (1889-1948), a graduate of the University of Vienna and a student of prof. Rudolf Greyer, for subsidy to further develop the semitic studies. In the years 1911-1912 Kowalski pursued his studies in Strassburg and Kiel, and then in the years 1912-1914 he worked at the Institute of Oriental Studies at the University of Vienna. In 1914 he received his habilitation [xi] (based on the dissertation Der Dīwān des Kais Ibn al-Hatīm), and a year later he began teaching Arabic, Persian and Ottoman-Turkish, as well as the history of the Muslim East. Having received the appointment as an associate professor on July 1, 1919, Tadeusz Kowalski became the head of the Chair of Oriental Philology established with a decree signed by Józef Piłsudski, Chief of State. It was the first Chair of Oriental Philology opened in Poland after it had regained its independence.

In 1921 Kowalski was asked to be the head of the Seminary of Oriental Philology, a new didactic and research unit, [xii] (situated in the Badeni Palace at 32 Sławkowska Street). He administered the activities of both the Chair and the Seminary until the outbreak of World War II (on 6 November 1939 he was arrested during the Sonderaktion Krakau operation and imprisoned in Sachsenhausen until February 1940) and then again after its end until his untimely death in 1948. Professor Kowalski also served as secretary general of the Polish Academy of Sciences (1939) and president of the Polish Orientalist Society (1947), and he was an active member of many foreign scientific societies. He was one of the most versatile Polish Orientalists, an expert on the languages ​​and culture of the Muslim peoples of the Middle East, a specialist in the fields of Arabic studies, Turkology, Iranian studies and Islam. He wrote over 200 academic papers including: Ibrāhīma Ibn Ja'kūba's account of his journey to the Slavic countries in al-Bekrī's record (1946), Le dīwān de Ka'b Ibn Zuhair. Critical edition (1950), On the Islamic routes. Sketches from the history of Muslim peoples' culture (1935) [xiii]. Professor Kowalski was an excellent scholar, recognized by the international community, experienced researcher, great teacher and organizer, creator of modern Polish Arabic studies, turkology and Islam studies [xiv]. He educated many Polish scholars and connoisseurs of the Orient, including Ananias Zajączkowski (1903-1970) [xv] and Józef Bielawski (1909-1997) [xvi], who then became professors at the University of Warsaw and founders of Orientalist studies in Warsaw.

After the death of professor Kowalski in 1948, the Chair was taken over by professor Tadeusz Lewicki (1906-1992), medievalist and Arabist, who began to learn Oriental languages ​​in Lviv under the instruction of prof. Zygmunt Smogorzewski (Arabic) and rev. prof. Aleksego Klawka (Hebrew). In 1928 Lewicki went to Paris, where he studied political science and eastern languages ​​with a view to a diplomatic career. From there he went on his first trip to Algeria, where he spent several months. After obtaining the doctoral degree in 1931 at the Jan Kazimierz University in Lviv (based on a dissertation on the history of North Africa during the early Middle Ages) he went to Paris again, where in 1932-1934 he studied history of the East and Islam. After returning to Poland he was a senior lecturer at the Department of Ancient History at the University of Jan Kazimierz until the outbreak of the war. At that time he wrote the first volume of his Poland and its neighboring countries in the light of the "Book of Roger", by al-Idrīsī, an Arab geographer from the 12th century [xvii]. During WWII professor Lewicki was in conspiracy; he fought in the Warsaw Uprising in the rank of second lieutenant, was arrested in November 1944 and sent to the oflag in Murnau (Bavaria). After the liberation he joined the army of Gen. Anders and was evacuated to England.

Having returned to Poland in 1947, he settled in Krakow. As the head of the Chair, and then, from 1972, the Institute of Oriental Philology, he used the reform of the university education and developed the program of Oriental studies, introducing new courses and new lecturers. He also established the Department of Numismatics at the Institute of History and Material Culture of the Polish Academy of Sciences (1954) [xviii], the Orientalist Committee of the Krakow Branch of the Polish Academy of Sciences (1958) and the annual "Folia Orientalia" (1951).

Professor Lewicki was a world-renowned authority [xix], the author of the pioneering research on Ibadi religious communities (Études ibādites nord-africaines I, 1955), a specialist in Arabic sources for the history of Slavdom (Arab sources for the history of Slavdom, Vol. 1-4, 1956-1988), medieval history of Europe and Africa (External sources for Africa's history south of the Sahara, 1969; West African Food in the Middle Ages According to Arabic Sources, 1974; History of Africa from the earliest times to the 16th century, 1969). A year after the death of prof. Lewicki the Institute of Oriental Philology honored his memory by organizing a two-day scientific conference (November 17-18, 1993)attended by a large group of Polish Orientalists representing various specialties and fields of knowledge [xx].


The Institute of Oriental Philology (IFO) was established on June 1, 1972. It developed from the Oriental Philology Department. Its founder and the first director, prof. Tadeusz Lewicki, established a research unit with a wide spectrum of research areas, ranging from the languages, countries and cultures of the Far East to the western and southern Black Africa. In the Institute there were departments of Arabic studies, Iranian studies and Turkology. The African and Oriental studies, as well the numismatics were also continued. The academic staff consisted of: one full professor, two associate professors, one docent, one senior lecturer, one lecturer, eight assistant professors, two senior assistants, three senior archivists, one assistant, two language instructors, one senior technical assistant. Annually IFO educated from six to eight Masters of Oriental Studies, who often found employment in scientific institutions, for example prof. Władysław Kubiak (1925-1997), arabist, secretary of the Mediterranean Archeology Center of the University of Warsaw in Cairo, or dr. Zygmunt Abrahamowicz (1923-1990), an employee of the Institute of History of the Polish Academy of Sciences [xxii].

Chair of Arabic Studies

After prof. Tadeusz Lewicki had gone into retirement in 1976 prof. Andrzej Czapkiewicz (1924-1990) became the head of the Department of Arabic Studies and the director of the Institute of Oriental Philology and he kept the post until his sudden death in 1990. This eminent Arabist, linguist and dialectologist left behind many important monographs, including: The Verb in Modern Arabic Dialects as an Exponent of the Development Processes Occurring in Them (1975), Arabic Idioms (1983), The Views of the Medieval Arab Philologists on Language and its Origin in the Light of As-Suyūtī's "Al-Muzhir" (1988) and works on onomastics (Ancient Egyptian and Coptic Elements in the Toponymy of Contemporary Egypt, 1971) and literature (The Functioning of the Monologue in Modern Arabic Literature, 1987). As the director of IFO at the Jagiellonian University professor Czapkiewicz cared for the development of not only Arabic studies but all other fields of Oriental studies. It was his initiative to create in 1987 a new degree course in Japanese studies. Professor Czapkiewicz formed the next generation of scholars, not only linguists in Krakow, and his name was given to the foundation operating at the Jagiellonian University with the aim of supporting the scientific work of young scholars of Arabic studies.Another contributor to the The Department of Arabic Studies was professor Maria Kowalska (1919-2005), specialist in contemporary and classical Arabic literature, who was the head of the department in 1994-1999. Prof. Kowalska conducted research on the history and geography of the Arabic countries which resulted not only in numerous articles but also in the first history of Arabic geographical literature written in Polish (Medieval Arab travel literature, 1973). The alumni and long-time employees of the Department of Arabic Studies also include: dr. Alicja Małecka, an Arabist and Africanist, prof. Dmitri Ibriszimow, currently associated with the University of Bayreuth and prematurely deceased dr. hab. Adam Bieniek (1968-2015), Arab-Muslim cultural historian and specialist in the problems of modern Islam, author of many works in the field of medieval Arabic literature. Other people associated with the Department of Arabic Studies in Krakow were: Zbigniew Maśka (M.A.), prof. Adnan Abbas, dr hab. Jerzy Łacina and many lecturers and instructors of the Arabic language.

In 2004, the Department was transformed into the Chair of Arabic Studies, with professor Barbara Michalak-Pikulska (literary scholar, author of many monographs, including Outline of contemporary short-stories in the countries of the Arabian Peninsula - Selected problems and source texts, 2000; Modern Literature of the United Arab Emirates, 2012; Modern Literature of the Gulf, 2016) as its head. In 2012 prof. Michalak-Pikulska was also appointed the director of the Institute of Oriental Studies.


African Studies

For half a century the Jagiellonian University has also been  home to African studies, initiated in 1945 by prof. Roman Stopa (1895-1995), graduate in classical philology at the Jagiellonian University, doctor of Indo-European linguistics (1927) and the most eminent Africanist in Poland (postdoctoral degree in African Studies at the University of Lviv in 1936 based on Die Schnalze, ihre Natur, Entwicklung und Ursprung). Before the war he conducted research in Africa, he also studied in Johannesburg, Cape Town, Berlin, London, Leiden and Paris. During the occupation, Roman Stopa took part in the underground education conducted at the Jagiellonian University, and when the war ended he became a lecturer of African languages: Swahili, Hausa, Ewe, Boesman languages as well as of comparative musicology of African peoples. He was the first Polish Africanist, a pioneer of glottogony, an expert on ethnography and ethnology of the Bushmen and Hottentots, the founder of the Language Origins Society. His pioneering works in the field of phonetics: The Evolution of Click Sounds in Some African Languages ​​(1960), Bushman and Hottentot Among the Isolated Languages ​​of Africa and Structure of Bushman and its Traces in Indo-European are a milestone in African studies. Professor Stopa also published such works as: Archaism of Boesman culture, Hottentot, Little people in desert and wilderness, and dealt with translation (From the Black Land: proverbs, stories, riddles). He co-authored The Small Swahili-Polish and Polish-Swahili Dictionary (together with B. Garlicki). African studies at the Department of Arabic Studies further developed with the help of professor Czapkiewicz who organized Swahili and Hausa classes every year. After his sudden death in 1990, these classes were suspended, and professor Stopa, who was already 95 years old, though still active as a scholar, could not continue with the course.

In 2000 the Chair of Afro-Asian Linguistics was established in IFO with Andrzej Zaborski (1942-2014), Arabist, semanticist and Africanist, as its Head [xxiii]. Professor Zaborski was a graduate of the Institute of Oriental Studies at the Jagiellonian University, where he had been working since 1966. In 1969 he received a PhD based on the dissertation: Biconsonantal Verbal Roots in Semitic, written under the supervision of Jerzy Kuryłowicz. He obtained two habilitation degrees, the first in the field of Arabic Studies at the Jagiellonian University (1976), based on the dissertation: The Verb in Cushitic, the second in African Studies at the University of Vienna (1984). In the 1980s he worked as a visiting professor at the universities of Vienna, Heidelberg, Turin and Udine. In 1989 he received the title of associate professor, and in 1995 he was appointed the professor of humanities. He was the editor-in-chief of the “Folia Orientalia” and the editor of the series "Oriental Languages ​​in Translation."

Chair of Turkology

The beginnings of Turkic philology at the Jagiellonian University are connected with professor Tadeusz Kowalski, considered the forerunner of Polish turkology. Professor Kowalski began his research on Turkic dialectology and folk literature in 1916, and in the 1920s and 1930s he continued investigating these issues during his research trips to Anatolia and the Balkans. He was the author of important studies on Karaite and other Kipchat languages, ​​as well as on the borrowings from Turkic languages in Polish: From studies on the form of Turkish poetry (1922), Karaimische Texte im Dialect von Troki (1929), Les Turcs et la langue turque de la Bulgarie du Nord-Est (1933), The plural in Turkish (1936). Professor Ananias Zajączkowski, an eminent Osmanian scholar and researcher of the Karaim language, is another person associated with the turkology in Krakow. He was a student and collaborator of professor Kowalski who was affiliated with the Jagiellonian University until 1935. Later he became the head of the Department of Turkology established at that time at the University of Warsaw.

After World War II, in 1947, Marian Lewicki (1908-1955), a Mongolist, a graduate of the Jan Kaziemierz University in Lviv, as a senior assistant started a course in Old Turkic. He specialized in Altai languages ​​(especially Mongolian), although he also conducted research on Kipchak languages. He was later appointed professor at the University of Warsaw. Having received his habilitation degree, he began teaching at the University of Warsaw, but he did not give up lectures at the Jagiellonian Univrsity. He dealt with, among others, the oldest Sino-Mongolian and Old-Turkic texts (Les inscriptions mongoles inédites en écriture carrée, 1937; La langue mongole des transcriptions chinoises du XIVe siècle. La Houa-yiyi-yu de 1389, 1949).

Professor Kowalski’s student - Włodzimierz Zajączkowski (1914-1982)- was the Head of the Department of Turkology from 1973 until his death Institute in 1982 was the head of the Department of Turkology of IFO UJ. He was an outstanding turkologist, historian, linguist, a member of the Orientalist Society in Istanbul and Societas Uralo-Altaica. Professor Zajączkowski lectured on grammar, literature and history of Turkey. He also conducted unique research on Karaim, Gagauz and Azerbaijani. His most important works include: Turks - Gagauz - history, language, ethnography (1949), Contributions à la toponymie turque de la Crimée (1955), Language and folklore of Gagauz from Bulgaria (1966), Die türkmenischen Personennamen (1972).

One of the pioneers of the studies of Turkish literature and Ottoman paleography was dr. Władysław Zimnicki (1897-1979), who moved from Wrocław to Krakow, where he taught Old-Turkic and Turkish diplomacy, first as a senior lecturer (from 1961), and then as a deputy professor. He was also an excellent organizer and a long-time tutor of the Students' Scientific Circle of Oriental Studies. Other scholars associated with the Department of Turkology include: doc. Jan Ciopiński, professor of the Jagiellonian University (1938-2012) [xxiv], specialist in the field of Turkish literature, Osmanist, literary scholar, long-time head of the Department of Turkology and vice-director of the Institute of Oriental Philology of the Jagiellonian University, dr. Jerzy Lisowski, dr. Teresa Ciecierska-Chłapowa and prof. Stanisław Stachowski Slavist, researcher of the mutual contacts between Slavonic and Turkish languages, creator and editor-in-chief of “Studia Turcologica Cracoviensia”, author of such works as: Studien über die arabischen Lehnwörter im Osmanisch-Türkischen, A historical dictionary of Turks in Polish (2007), A historical and etymological Dictionary of Turkic languages ​​in Polish (2014).

In 2013 the Department was transformed into the Chair of Turkology, headed by professor Ewa Siemieniec-Gołaś, a linguist, Osmanist, author of many monographs, including Karachay-Balkar Vocabulary of Proto-Turkic Origin (2000), Turkish Lexical Content in Dittionario della lingua Italiana, Turchesca by Giovanni Molino <1641> (2005), Anonymous Italian Turkish Dictionary of the Marsigli Collection in Bologna (2015). In 2002-2008 professor Siemieniec-Gołaś also performed the function of the director of IFO.

In 2004 the Department of Central Asian Languages ​​and Siberia was established at a part of IFO, headed by professor Marek Stachowski, Turkologist and linguist. He created the journal "Studia Etymologica Cracoviensia" (editor-in-chief of 1996-2015) and the Syberian Studies Team (1997-2004). Professor Stachowski is the author of many monographs, including Geschichte des jakutischen Vokalismus (1993), Dolganischer Wortschatz (1993) and The Outline of Turkish Grammar (2007).

Department of Iranian Studies

The Iranian Studies Department at the Institute of Oriental Philology was founded and first headed by professor Franciszek Machalski (1904-1979), the creator of modern Polish Iranian studies, expert on the language, literature and culture of old and modern Iran. It was owing to his endeavours that the Iranian studies gained the status of a separate discipline in Poland [xxv]. Professor Machalski studied (Polish and Germanic philology, Oriental studies: Sanskrit, Arabic, Persian)at the Jan Kazimierz University in Lviv, where in 1930 he obtained a PhD in Arabic and Persian Philology (based on the dissertation the Signs of Muhammed’s Prophecy written under the supervision of professor Zygmunt Smogorzewski). In 1941 he was arrested by the NKVD and deported to a labour camp in Verkhneuralsk. After his release, he joined the Polish Army of General Władysław Anders, with whom he reached Iran in 1942. He was involved in the educational and cultural activities of Polish emigration [xxvi]. After returning to Poland in 1947 he lectured at the Jagiellonian University until his retirement in 1974. He was deeply respected and highly valued and in 1966 he became the deputy dean of the Faculty of Philology at the Jagiellonian University. On May 1 1972, he became the head of the Department of Iranian Studies, created as a consequence of his efforts. In 1969 he became an associate professor and held the post until his retirement in 1974. He is the author of: Persian Historical Novel (1952), La littérature de l'Iran Contemporain (I-II), script Persian entries, translations from Persian literature and academic books for the general public such as From Cyrus to Mosaddek (1960).

At that time many outstanding scholars lectured at the Department of Iranian Studies in Krakow, including Józef Reczek (1936-1988), linguist and author of The oldest Slavic-Iranian language relationships (1984), Władysław Dulęba (1923-1987), literary scholar (Classical foundations of Persian poetics, 1986; The Cyrus Legend in the Šāhnāme, 1995) and translator of Persian classical literature (Ferdowsi. The Royal Book, Hafiz’s love songs, poetry collection Persian Divan), Wojciech Skalmowski (1933-2008) [xxvii], later professor of University of Leuven, dr. Barbara Mękarska, long-time lecturer of the Old and Middle Iranian languages, both students of professor Jerzy Kuryłowicz, linguist. Among the graduates of the Iranian Studies in Krakow are: Piotr Chełkowski, now professor emeritus at New York University, world-renowned expert on the history of Middle Eastern culture and Islamic studies and author of: Mirror of the Invisible World (1975) and Ta'ziyeh: Ritual and Drama in Iran (1979) [xxviii].

In 1976 professor Andrzej Pisowicz, doctor habilitatus in the field of linguistics (Iranian and Armenian), became the head of the Department of Iranian Studies, succeeding professor Machalski. He taught the grammar of Persian, Old-Palestinian, Kurdish, Ossetian and Georgian, wrote a number of monographs, including Le développement du consonantisme arménien (1976), Origins of the New and Middle Persian Phonological Systems (1985), Armenian grammar. Grabar - Ashgabar (2001). In the years 1976-1994, he was the head of the Department of Iranian Studies, and in 1989-1994 he was the vice-director of the Institute of Oriental Philology.

The research on languages, literature and culture of Afghanistan was conducted at the Department of Iranian Studies by professor Jadwiga Pstrusińska (author of Afghanistan 1989 in Sociolinguistic Perspective, 1990; On the Secret Languages ​​of Afghanistan and Their Speakers, 2013; Foundations of Pashto Poetics, 2017), Deputy Director of the Institute of Oriental Philology (1992-1993), head of the Department of Iranian Studies (1994-1999), head of the IFO’s Research Centre of Oriental Sources and Numismatics(1993-1997), founder and long-time director of the Interdisciplinary Eurasian Studies Research Centre (2000-2010) [xxix].

Other academics associated with the Department of Iranian Studies include: doc. dr. hab. Tomasz Marszewski, who for many years taught Iranian geography and ethnography, dr. Elżbieta Wnuk-Lisowska, scholar of Iranian and religious studies, author of The cosmological myth of Iran: in the light of Awesta and Bundahišnu (1996), Dr. Marek Smurzyński (1954-2009), literary scholar and translator (In a flash of words: Poesies. Rumi, 2008), author of works on literature, culture and history of the Iranian world, and dr. Marcin Rzepka, assistant professor at the Faculty of History and Cultural Heritage of the Pontifical University of John Paul II in Krakow, author of Translation and Conversion. Linguistic and cultural aspects of the translation of the Gospel into Persian (2012). For many years, until 2016, the function of the head of the Department of Iranian Studies was performed by professor Anna Krasnowolska, eminent specialist in Persian classical and contemporary literature, author of Some Key Figures of Iranian Calendar Mythology (Winter and Spring) (1998), Mythes, croyances populaires et symboleques animale dans la littérature persane (Paris 2012). Currently, the Department of Iranian Studies is headed by dr. hab. Kinga Paraskiewicz, linguist and author of The Iranian nomina agentis with suffix -tar (2014) and The Middle Persian poem Assyrian Tree and its Parthian genesis (2007).

Kurdish Studies Section

Kurdish Studies Section

In 2008 the Section of Kurdish Studies was established at the Department of Iranian Studies as a response to the growing interest in Kurdish matters in and outside of Poland. The Kurdish language was taught by professor Andrzej Farowicz, and Farah Muthafar Muhamad, doctoral student at the Faculty of Philology at the Jagiellonian University, lecturer at the University of Salahaddin in Erbil (co-author, together with Andrzej Bartczak, of Grammar of Kurdish Sorani. Erbil Variant, 2013. The Section was founded and has been headed by dr. Joanna Bocheńska, who obtained a doctoral degree based on the dissertation: Between Darkness and Light. On Kurdish identity and literature (2011).

Chair of Sanskrit and Indology

The history of regular Indological studies at the Jagiellonian University dates back to 1893, the year when the first Sanskrit Chair in Poland and one of the first in Europe was founded, with professor Leon Mańkowski (1858-1908), doctor of law and philosophy, associate professor of Sanskrit at the University of Leipzig, as its head. Professor Mańkowski was the first Polish indologist lecturing in Polish [xxx]. After his death professor Andrzej Gawroński (1885-1927), who received his habilitation degree at the Jagiellonian University in 1912, attempted to succeed him. He started lecturing a year later, and in 1916 became an associate professor of Old Indian philology. Gawroński was the author of many outstanding academic papers, including Des influences linguistiques et stylistiques dans les littératures de l'Inde, Studies about the Sanskrit Buddhist Literature, Buddhacarita and Rāmāyaṇa or Origins of Indian drama and the problem of Greek influences (published posthumously). He also wrote the first Sanskrit textbook in Polish (Sanskrit Manual, Grammar - Excerpts - Explanations - Glossary, 1932). He was an excellent translator. In 1926 his translation of Aśvaghoṣa’s epics was published and in 1933 The Selected Quatrains by Omar Khayyam were translated from the Persian original. In 1914 prof. Gawroński together with Jan Grzegorzewski founded in Krakow the periodical "Yearbook of Oriental Studies" (until 1938 14 volumes of the journal were published) [xxxi].

It took seven years for the Chair of Sanskrit and Indology to revive thanks to the efforts of Tadeusz Kowalski and Jan Michał Rozwadowski. They recommended Helena Willman-Grabowska (1870-1957), a graduate of the university in Switzerland and the Sorbonne in Paris, a student of A. Meillet, S. Levi and L. Finot, lecturer of Sanskrit in L’École des Hautes Études and in Collège de France. Professor Willman-Grabowska, an outstanding indologist, expert on Sanskrit, as well as on Tibetan and Dravidian languages, author of Les composés nominaux dans le Śatapathabrāhmana, vol. 1-2 (1927-1928), was the first female lecturer and professor at the Jagiellonian University, where she worked until 1951 [xxxii].

Department of Languages ​​and Cultures of India and South Asia

At the time the authorities closed the Chair of Sanskrit and Indology, creating instead the Chair of General Linguistics. Professor Willman-Grabowska also played an important role in the process of introducing Iranian studies at the Jagiellonian University, because, apart from Indology, she also taught Avestan, Old Persian and Sogdian. She contributed to the creation of the Indological library (based on Leon Mańkowski's book collection, which she bought for her own savings), as well as to the education of numerous students. One of them was Tadeusz Pobożniak (1910-1991), who largely assured the continuity of Indological studies in Poland between 1948 and 1973, when the Department of Indology was established and incorporated into the IFO structures. After the Chair of Sanskrit had been closed, he worked in the Department of General Linguistics, continuing his research on Sanskrit and the New Indian languages. He is the author of many academic works on Hindi and Tocharian grammar: Numeral in Hindi (1960), Grammar of the Lovari Dialect (1961), Gypsies (1972), translation of the old Indian drama: King Śūdraka's Mrichchhakatika and the classical discourse of Milinda Pañha.

Other scholars associated with the Department of Indian Studies include: Józef Lączak (1926-1989), specialist in the Dravidian and Finno-Ugric languages, lecturer of Sanskrit and Dravidian languages, doc. dr. hab. Tomasz Marszewski, ethnologist, Sławomir Cieślikowski, literary scholar, and dr. Przemysław Piekarski, who after the untimely death of Józef Lączak in 1989 became the head of the Department of Indological Studies (1989-1997). He was succeeded by prof. Lidia Sudyka (1997-2007), author of From Ramayana to didactics, or the riddles of "Bhatti's Poem" (2004) and Vijayanagara: A Forgotten Empire of Poetesses. Part I. The Voice of Gaṅgādevī (2013); and then by professor Marzenna Czerniak-Drożdżowicz (Studies on Pančaratra, Tradition and Modernity, 2008; Studies on Pančaratra, Part II, In Search of Identity, 2011) and by dr. hab. Cezary Galewicz (Living libraries of India: Rigveda Brahmins Nambudiri, 2015, Text Divisions and Early Classifications of Literary and Epistemic Cultures of South Asia, 2011). In 2014, the Department of Indological Studies was renamed as the Department of Languages ​​and Cultures of India and South Asia. Today, the Department is headed by dr. hab. Iwona Milewska, author of the monograph The study on Mahabharata (2015).

Since 1995 the Department of Languages ​​and Cultures of India and the South Asia at the Institute of Oriental Studies of the Jagiellonian University publishes the scholarly journal "Cracow Indological Studies".

The Department of Japanology and Sinology

At the Faculty of Philology of the Jagiellonian University there were courses of Japanese and Chinese taught even before the war, in the years 1929-1932, by Dr. Denzel R. Carr from the USA, the holder of the scholarship of the Kosciuszko Foundation [xxxiii]) and dr. Witold Jabłoński, later professor at the University of Warsaw respectively. Shortly after the war, A. Dębnicki taught Chinese for some time and later the Japanese and Chinese studies ceased to develop. It was only in 1987 that the Department of Japanology was established at IFO due to the efforts of professor Andrzej Czapkiewicz. Professor Mikołaj Melanowicz, who was an assistant professor at the time but was already a widely acknowledged expert and translator of Japanese literature, was appointed the head of the new department and held this position until 2004. He is the author of the history of Japanese literature published in three volumes (1994-1996). For many years Japanese language and culture classes were conducted in the newly established department by Andrzej Kowalunas. In the 1990s courses in Chinese language were also introduced at the Department of Japanology and in 2000 the name of the unit was officially changed to the Department of Japanology and Sinology, which was headed by professor Romuald Huszcza, specialist in Japanese and East Asian linguistics (author of such monographs as: Honorificativity: grammar, pragmatics, typology, 1996, or Grammaticalizations in Japanese, 2012). Prof. Huszcza was succeeded by dr. hab. Tomasz Majtczak, author of Japanese verbal classes in diachronic perspective (2008) and The Inflexional System of Classical Japanese (2016).
In 2014 Sinology was established as a new field of study. It is headed by professor Ewa Zajdler, linguist, expert on the language and culture of China and Taiwan, author of Grammar of the Chinese language. Syntax and semantics (2005), Glottodidactics in Sinology (2010) and Understanding Chinese. Cultural codes of Chinese communities (2011).


Today, the Institute of Oriental Studies of the Jagiellonian University [xxxiv], with  prof. dr. hab. Barbara Michalak-Pikulska as its head since 2012, consists of 21 independent research fellows (three full professors, seven associate professors, eleven assistant professors with a post-doctoral degree), nineteen assistant professors, five lecturers, six assistants with a doctorate, twelve lecturers (including native speakers from Japan, Iran, India, Taiwan, Turkey and Arab countries).


The research of the IO UJ includes such areas as:
• Arabic studies - language, literature, religion, history and history of the culture of the Arab world
• Semitic studies- Hebrew
• Iranian studies - Iranian linguistics, Persian literature and the history of Iranian culture (Iran, Kurdistan, Afghanistan, Tajikistan, Ossetia)
• Indology – Indian languages, ancient and contemporary literature, philosophy, history and culture of areas of Indian civilization
• Turkology - Turkish linguistics and literature, history and culture of Turkic peoples
• Japanology and sinology - Japanese and Chinese linguistics, literature, culture and history of Japan, China and Taiwan.


Today Oriental studies are fashionable again (for many years Japanese studies have been one of the most popular programs at the university), new non-philological "Eastern studies" tend to appear quickly. It is obvious that contemporary Oriental studies, as a science of great political, historical and cultural importance, include such disciplines as: archaeology, history, culture, ethnography, anthropology, sociology or political sciences. However, it should not be forgotten that the philology, the basis for the development of many research areas, must remain the main discipline of Oriental studies. One cannot understand the contemporary East nor attempt any historical or social synthesis of its features without knowing the written sources of the region or the language. Professor Tadeusz Kowalski, although he described himself as an Orientalist, emphasized the fundamental importance of philological research a hundred years ago, warning against an encyclopaedic and dilettantish "research of everything" (see: "Science Poland", No. 2, 1919, p. 360).


 Kinga Paraskiewicz

[i] More on this subject, see W. Zajączkowski, From the History of Oriental Studies at the Jagiellonian University, [in:] the Faculty of Philology of the Jagiellonian University, History of Cathedrals, ed. W. Taszycka, A. Zaręba, Kraków 1964, pp. 367-381.
[ii] Dawid Leonard from 1528 managed the first Hebrew Study, created at the Krakow Academy on the initiative of Bishop Piotr Tomicki. Publisher of the Hebrew grammar of Novenianus of Hassfurt Elementale Hebraicum; also the author of unprinted Hebrew grammar. See. R. Pietkiewicz, Polonorum Bible. History of the Bible in Polish, vol. 1, Poznań 2016, p. 117.
[iii] Jan van den Campen (Johannes Campensis) (1490-1538) - Dutch humanist, philosopher, theologian, Hebraist, prof. Universities in Leuven and Freiburg, author of the Latin paraphrase Psalter Psalmorum omnium iuxta hebraicam veritatem paraphrastica interpretatio (1532).
[iv] Walerian Pernus (Pirnis, Pyrnusz) (died 1569) - an outstanding philologist, Hellenist and Hebraist, merchant and councilor of Kraków, a graduate of the Krakow Academy and Collège Royale in Paris.
[v] The lecturers were, among others professors: priest Piotr Pękalski (1827-1832) - pupil of Wilhelm Münnich, lecturer of Eastern biblical languages; Fr.. Alexander Jan Schindler (1832-1836) - student of the Oriental Academy in Vienna, full professor of the biblical study and Eastern languages ​​of the Jagiellonian University, lecturer in archeology and oriental philology (Arabic, Islamic studies, reading the Koran); Fr.. Franciszek Gołba (1902-1922) - educated at the University of Beirut, lecturer in Arabic, Aramaic, Syrian and Hebrew language and literature, author of the work Three Aramaic papyrus documents from Elefantine (1908); Fr.. Jan Korzonkiewicz (1909-1920) - author of the monograph Jehošua - Bible study about the beginnings of the nation of Israel and the conquest of Jerusalem at Jozuem (1909); and priest Józef Archutowski (1920-1939) - a biblical and hebraist. After the Second World War, the Chair of the Holy Scripture of the Old Testament was taken over by Fr. prof. Aleksy Klawek (1890-1969), biblical and orientalist, before World War II professor and prorector of the UJK in Lviv, author of many works devoted to Semitic and biblical philology. Lectures in the field of oriental studies ceased at the Faculty of Theology of the Jagiellonian University in 1954, ie at the time of its liquidation.
[vi] Jerzy Samuel Bandtkie (1768-1835) - historian, linguist, librarian; from 1811, head of the Jagiellonian Library and lecturer at the Jagiellonian University.
[vii] Wilhelm Münnich (died 1829) - the first professor of Eastern literature at the Jagiellonian University, lecturer in Hebrew, Syrian, Aramaic, Arabic, Turkish and Persian. On Persian poetry, the dissertation ..., crowd from Latin A. Groza, "Dziennik Wileński", August 8, 1829.
[viii] De poesia Persica: Scripsit Guil. Münnich, prof. Publ. Ord. in Universitate studiorum Jagellonica, "Yearbook of the Scientific Society with the University of Krakow Connected" 10, 1825, pp. 35-84.
[ix] Having not received permission to travel to Germany in order to bring the manuscripts and Arabic fonts he needed to work, on March 23, 1826, Wilhelm Münnich abandoned Kraków and moved to Vilnius, where he was offered better conditions for work. See. K. Michalewska, From the History of Oriental Language Teaching at the Jagiellonian University in 1818-36, [in:] J. Reychman, editor, Sketches from the History of Polish Oriental Studies, Warsaw 1957-1969, vol. II, pp. 108-114.
[x] Ignacy Pietraszewski (1796-1869) - professor of Oriental Studies at the University of Berlin, a member of German, French and English scientific societies and the Cracow Scientific Society. "His collection of Arabian coins numbered 2683 pieces, including 147 zlotys and 739 silver ones. Pietraszewski, wishing to publish his scientific work, decided to sell the collections to obtain funds for their publication. J. Lelewel became interested in the collection, which he decided to bring in Pietraszewski in 1849. He wanted to hire him at the Jagiellonian University or at the Ossolinski Institute in Lviv, and keep his valuable collections for Poland. Pietraszewski deposited his numismatics in 1846 at the British Museum in London. "Quote in:
[xi] "Habilitation was not a scientific degree at the time, but it meant getting the right to lecture. After the approval of the habilitation in the capital, ie in Vienna, Kowalski began lecturing at the Jagiellonian University as a private docent, i.e. without permanent employment. " See. A. Zaborski, Concept and practice of oriental studies of professor Tadeusz Kowalski. Oriental philology in the past and today, [in:] Orientalia Commemorativa, ed. L. Sudyka, Kraków 2011, p. 15.
[xii] The seminary of Oriental Philology at the Faculty of Philosophy of the Jagiellonian University was established on November 7, 1921 by a decision of the Ministry of Religious Denominations and Public Education.
[xiii] A collection of reprints of Islamist works by prof. T. Kowalski in the study of prof. M. M. Dziekana Arabica et islamica - studies on the history of Islam and Arabic culture appeared in 1997 (Warsaw).
[xiv] See R. Majkowska, Tadeusz Kowalski

[xv] Ananiasz Zajączkowski was an assistant to prof. Kowalski in the years 1928-1931. After the Second World War he also lectured in Turkology at the Jagiellonian University.
[xvi] Józef Bielawski is the author of the Polish translation of the Koran and numerous works in the field of Islam, philosophy and Arabic literature.
[xvii] Released immediately after the war in 1945. T. Lewicki's D.Sc. dr. was held in December 1949 on the basis of this work. Reviewers were professors: Kuryłowicz, Klawek and Zajączkowski from the University of Warsaw. In the years 1960-1962 he was also the deputy dean of the Faculty of Philology.
[xviii] This plant was the only research institution of its kind in Poland. Soon, it transformed into the Laboratory of Oriental Sources and Numismatics. Numismatic and source studies were conducted here, among others Maria and Andrzej Czapkiewicz, Anna and Franciszek Kmietowicz, Stanisława and Władysław Kubiak.
"The basic task of the institution was and is to inventorise and develop tens of thousands of early medieval coins in our museums, coming from finds from the Polish lands. The most numerous, and at the same time the least well-known, were dirhams (silver Arab coins), also called kufic coins, which in the 9th and 11th centuries were in a way "dollars" of eastern, central and northern Europe. They were an invaluable historical source for the aforementioned research, as well as material for further numismatic work, being at the same time an important source for the history of the countries from which they came "(quoted in: /pzon/informacje_o_pracowni.htm). The studio was closed in 2012. The last manager was Dr. Urszula Lewicka-Rajewska.
[xix] See Thaddaeo Lewicki Oblata. Materials from the scientific session dedicated to the memory of prof. Tadeusz Lewicki, Cracow, November 17-18, 1993, ed. E. Gorska, B. Ostafin, Krakow 1994.
[xx] W. Zajączkowski, Institute of Oriental Philology of the Jagiellonian University, [in:] "Zeszyty Naukowe UJ - Prace Historyczne", issue 47, 1974, pp. 271-275. See. also: A. Małecka, Professor Tadeusz, Recollection of Prof. Lewicka, [in:]
[xxi] On April 1, 2011, the unit changed its name to the Institute of Oriental Studies, see
[xxii] See memories of prof. Romana Stopy titled From under the peasant's thatch to the cathedral of the University. Cards from the life of a man possessed by music, poetry, countryside and Bushmen, second edition, Krakow 1995.
[xxiii] The cathedral was dissolved after his death.
[xxiv] See
[xxv] The first lecturer of Persian language and literature in the Jagiellonian University was W. Münnich, author of De poesi Persica. After Münnich left the Department of Eastern Languages ​​in 1823, there was a break in the teaching of Oriental languages. When in 1919, the Chair became prof. T. Kowalski, along with other eastern languages ​​at the Jagiellonian University, also returned Persian. Professor Kowalski lectured on Persian philology (literary issues related to the masterpieces of Persian writing: Gulistan Saadi, songs by Hafez, quatrains by Omar Khayyam, Šāhnāme Ferdousi and mystical poems by Dżalal ad-Dina Rumi).
[xxvi] He was a member of the board of the Polish Association of Iranian Studies in Tehran. Memories from the period of stay in Iran prof. Machalski described in the book Wandereki irańskie (1960). See. also F. Machalski, From Persian land to Poland. Selection of texts, edited by K. Paraskiewicz, Krakow 2016.
[xxvii] W. Skalmowski, a graduate and lecturer of Kraków's iranistics, from 1969 he lectured at Harvard University, and in the years 1970-1998 he was a professor at the Katholieke Universiteit in Leuven. See. W. Skalmowski, Studies in Iranian Linguistics and Philology, Cracow 2004.
[xxviii] See
[xxx] In the years 1860-1862 at the Jagiellonian University, Bernard Jülg taught Sanskrit in German. His work was continued by Jan Baudouin de Courtenay, who conducted Sanskrit courses in 1894-1898; later, in turn, Professor Jan Rozwadowski lectured on Sanskrit in 1899-1926.
[xxxi] After the death of prof. G. Blatta, professor of the department of comparative linguistics and Indian philology at the Jan Kazimierz University in Lviv, Andrzej Gawroński left Kraków and moved to Lviv, where in 1921 he established the Oriental Institute.
[xxxii] See A. Kuczkiewicz-Fraś, R. Czekalska, Helena Willman-Grabowska: orientalist - scholar - promoter (2014).
[xxxiii] A. Szczechla, Japanese Studies at the Institute of Oriental Philology - research, studies, students, [in:] Orientalia Commemorativa, ed. L. Sudyka, Kraków 2011, p. 54.
[xxxiv] Change of name in 2011.