Kazimierz with its Jewish quarter is one of the Krakow historic districts You cannot miss! It is worth every penny to visit it and feel the unique atmosphere of its narrow streets and see amazing monuments of Jewish culture. Magic of these places will not let you forget about what you have seen and experienced.
Before World War II there were more than 60,000 Jewish inhabitants in Kazimierz, including many artists, poets, writers, scientists, lawyers and doctors that created Krakow’s intellectual elite. Nowadays, Kazimierz is a fashionable area full of artistic places, design clothes shops, antique stores and pubs with special atmosphere – all surrounded by houses that “remember” golden age of Jewish quarter.
Where should we start our magical journey?
Every serious tour guide would propose to start from Wolnica Square, where stands old town hall housing the magnificent collections of the Ethnographic Museum. Extremely worth seeing are two gothic churches – Basilica of Corpus Christi and St. Catherine’s church with medieval stained glasses and frescos, renaissance tombstones, and baroque altars. Another important stop is the church of St. Michael and Stanislaus, where in 1079 Krakow’s bishop Stanislaw was murdererd by the order of Polish King Boleslaus (current temple was built on the crime scene by the end of 18th century in rococo style). Hundred years later friars from the Order of Saint Paul the First Hermit and noble city inhabitants erected the Crypt of Distinguished Poles (it is the resting place of Jan Długosz – famous medieval chronicler, Stanisław Wyspiański – painter or Czesław Miłosz – poet).
Saying about visiting Kazimierz, it is impossible not to mention historical synagogues of which seven survived the war. First of them, the Old Synagogue, was built in the 15th century and now there is an exposition dedicated to Jewish culture inside. You should also pay attention to the nearby Remuh Synagogue with the one of the oldest Jewish cemeteries in Europe or 19th-century Tempel Synagogue with fantastic art-nouveau frescos and stained glass windows.
Podgórze is a former Austrian seperate city, now one of Kraków’s districts just across Vistula river. You can see there some remains of the Kraków Ghetto, where Jews return sometimes to deal with their tragic past (like famous Polish director Roman Polański did).
Old jewish quarter Krakow – The famous casseroles
Well, we have not mentioned yet the obligatory point for every tour on Kazimierz – Plac Nowy (the name means ‘the new square’) with so-called “Okrąglak” – a place where we can taste famous casseroles, unofficial symbol of this part of the city. The offer is really varied. You can find there something for those who like simple, tasty and traditional flavors, but also for people who would appreciate culinary innovations. And the prices? Good, definitely on a budget. And if that was not enough – Plac Nowy is a meeting place for locals and visitors, so you could find there a pub with alcohol in reasonable prices. Kazimierz is worth to visit!
It should be also noted that Kazimierz is a vibrant place – both social and cultural. Here takes place worldwide recognizable Jewish Culture Festiva attracting participants from both home and abroad. For several days streets climate change into colorful, dancing and singing routes. Furthermore, in addition to what I wrote before, Kazimierz is a meeting place for both residents and multicultural tourists – it has many restaurants and hipster, imaginative original cafes and pubs always attracting crowds. Visiting Kazimierz is a fantastic unforgettable adventure!
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