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Kazimierz -Jewish District Krakow

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Kazimierz is today a well-known and very popular district of Krakow, once it was an independent city. At the time of the early Middle Ages this region consisted by numerous small villages, which benefited from the trade route that ran from Cracow to the South of Europe. Kazimierz owes its name to its formal founder, Casimir III the Great, who in 1335 gave this area settlement privilege.

The strategic location of Krakow, between two bends of the Vistula River provided protection and allowed the city to develop.  Kazimierz a settlement just outside of Krakow was a typical medieval town, with regularly planned streets. Its central square was located where today the Wolnica Square is, which houses the Museum of Ethnography. Kazimierz was surrounded by defensive walls with four towers. Outside these city walls there developed many suburbs to Kazimierz, among which the largest was Stradom, located between Kazimierz and Wawel Castle.

In the second half of the fifteenth century, many Jews were displaced into Kazimierz that previously were living in Krakow. This was done to speed up the development of Kazimierz and in turn lead to the Jewish quarters appearing, which eventually evolved into an independent part of Krakow. This resulted in a strong development of Jewish culture with the building of synagogues, schools, universities, and Jewish cemeteries, making Kazimierz an important center of Jewish culture in Poland and the rest of Europe.


It's hard to believe that just before World War II, there lived in Kazimierz about 65,000 Jews, who constituted to almost 25% of the inhabitants of Krakow! At the turn of the century, they had developed this area of the city enclave into their own little corner of Jewish culture. Many of the specific architectures have been preserved until today and can be admired by walking through the narrow streets of Kazimierz. These include the New Cemetery, Temple Synagogue, New Center for Jewish Culture, Isaac Synagogue, the High Synagogue and the Cemetery Remuh. A walk through Kazimierz is a tribute to the former residents, who due to extermination by the Third Reich were taken from their homes, forced into hard labor or exterminated. Their goods and culture where plundered leaving us today only a small part of the greatness they had contributed to create.

Over time, Kazimierz was incorporated into Krakow, as a district. An important step, which was aimed at the integration of this area with the rest of Krakow, was the demolition of the remaining medieval fortifications and the underground canalization of the northern channel of the Vistula River. It is in the place of this channel, that a new street was created linking the Old Town with Kazimierz.

Kazimierz is an exceptional place, in which for centuries, there were Jewish and Christian traditions coexisting together. Despite the numerous damages made mainly during World War II, to this day Kazimierz still retains many magnificent monuments, representing the two different traditions. Among them are the majestic churches, like the Corpus Christi Church, St. Catherine and St. Pauline Church, but next to them, we can admire the seven synagogues, which for years had coexisted in close proximity. Before World War II there functioned at least 90 synagogues within Kazimierz, however today the only active are Remuh Synagogue and Temple Synagogue.

Synagogue and cemetery Remuh:

Visiting hours everyday except Saturdays: 9.00-18.00
Saturdays:Closed for tourists

Ticket prices:

  • Adults - 5.00zł,
  • Reduced - 2.00zł


  • The Old Synagogue:

    For detailed information on opening hours and Prices: http://mhk.pl/oddzialy/stara_synagoga

    Isaac Synagogue:

    Open daily 9:00-19:00 except Saturdays and Jewish holidays.

    High Synagogue:

    Not available for tourists.

    Popper Synagogue:

    Residence Old Town Centre of Youth Culture

    Kupa Synagogue:

    Currently closed to tourists due to conservation work.

     

    FESTIVALS & EVENTS

    Krakow Historical Center -Market place, churches, The Wawel Castle and much more...
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    Centuries ago, surrounded by monumental walls, and now a green park belt. Krakow city center is somewhat protected from the urban bustle of the everyday city life. There is always an opportunity to experience the unique charm that surrounds the historical center of Krakow, whether it be by night or day. No matter what your interests are or how you like to spend your time, be it by visiting one of the innumerable churches, which in this part of the city are literally on every corner, sightseeing the world's largest geological museum under the main market square, or just walking down one of the many small charming alleys. However Krakow city center is not only the main market square, cloth hall and surrounding streets, but also the Royal Wawel Castle - historic seat of Polish kings, Jagiellonian University - the oldest Polish university with the famous Collegius Maius. Also we cannot forget about the former Jewish district of Krakow. Today Kazimierz draws thousands of tourists with its charming narrow streets, centuries-old synagogues and countless cafes and restaurants that shine with character, where you can relax and enjoy the local specialties of Krakow.

    Krakow Market Square and Old Town

    Krakow Market Square was the largest medieval market in Europe. It was located where the main market square is today covering an area of 200x200 meters. For centuries, the market square has been the heart of Krakow, as it still is today. It is true that one can no longer find merchants there offering charcoal or fresh pork, but today it has become a meeting place for great cultural events and the center point for tourists to start exploring Krakow’s many attractions.

    The center point of the main market square today is the Cloth hall, a beautifully restored build. The cloth hall is situated along the former street that was reserved for the most influential merchants of that time. Today, however, the cloth hall is home to small-market stalls that are located on the ground floor selling mostly local handcrafts as well as amber and other traditional souvenirs to the visiting tourists. The National museum has a branch on the 1st floor of the building where you can find a permanent exhibition of Polish artwork.

    Recently, in late 2010 a unique underground museum was completed, an attraction that is unique even on a global scale and according to the builders this is the largest of its kind in the world. The exhibitions located under the main market square, was created using the very latest technology and is put together to give visitors an unforgettable insight into Krakow’s history.

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    St. Mary’s church is one of the main focal points of Krakow’s old town, with its two towers that overlook the old town and the surrounding areas. Visitors can hear the bugle called out every hour from the top of the highest tower to commemorate the Tatar invasion. The main alter of St. Mery’s church is the largest Gothic alter in Europe, and it took the creator 12 years to complete, namely Veit Stoss.Read more....

     

     

    Collegium Maius

    Collegium Maius is the oldest university building in Poland. Initially, this was a one house building that Wladyslaw Jagiello gave to the University, but over time the University has been enhanced with new buildings. Jagiellonian University is one of the oldest universities in Europe and the Collegium Maius is its core. This University is worth a visit.

    The Royal Wawel Castle

    Wawel Hill was a place of great strategic importance and defense long before the appearance of the Royal Wawel castle, surrounded by wetlands and with an ideal view of the surrounding area. Initially, the first settlements where members of the Wislanie tribes and by the turn of the eleventh century the limestone hill now known as the Wawel hill was chosen as the seat for the Polish king and the first bishop of Krakow. With time the development on the Wawel hill began to grow. More and more new buildings added over time created a beautiful and very rich complex. Unfortunately, after the great fire of 1595r, the castle declined and the king at that time decided to move the Polish capital to Warsaw. During World War II, the Wawel Castle was occupied as living quarters for Hans Frank - governor of general IRzeszy II. Somewhat thanks to this function the Royal Wawel Castle survived the Second World War almost intact. In the second half of the twentieth century, the buildings on the Wawel hill underwent numerous repairs and reconstructions that have led to their currant appearance. This can be enjoyed will strolling among the finest works of art and culture.


    Sightseeing is offered mainly on four preset routes throughout the castle: The Royal State Rooms, The Royal Private Apartments, The Crown Treasury and Armory, and The Wawel Cathedral and Royal Tombs.
    In addition, whilst visiting the Royal Wawel Castle, you should visit the "Royal Garden," the Dragon's Lair, climb the tower of the cathedral, where you can admire the giant Bell “Zygmunt" and see the beautiful views of the surrounding areas. Read more...

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    Kazimierz

    Kazimierz is the former Jewish district of Krakow. It is hard to believe today that before the Second World War, there was about 65 000 Jewish people living in this very successful and prosperous enclave of the city. Located just outside the old city walls opposite the Royal Wawal Castle, Kazimierz was by many thought of as the Jewish capital of Europe. The Jewish population in Krakow contributed to about 25% of the total population of Krakow at the turn of the century.

    To this day, Kazimierz has preserved in many ways its manifestation, which can be experienced by visiting this beautiful part of Krakow. Today, you can still see the New Cemetery, Temple Synagogue, New Center for Jewish Culture, The Isaac Synagogue, The Synagogue, High Synagogue and Cemetery Remuh. A walk-through Kazimierz is a tribute to its former residents, who due to the extermination by the Third Reich were removed from their homes, and much of their culture destroyed and plundered. Furthermore, while in Kazimierz, a visit to the Schindler's museum and Schindler's factory that was made famous worldwide by the film, Schindler’s List is an unforgettable experience. Read more...

     

     

     

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    Wieliczka Salt Mine -Longest Productive Salt Mine in the world.
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    The Wieliczka Salt Mine is the only plant of its kind in the world. This is why UNESCO World Heritage naturally added this mining complex to the UNESCO list as one of the first 12 sites picked from around the world. It is the only mine to of maintained productivity consecutively from the middle Ages to the present time. Wieliczka Salt mines are forged in a land of salt, the passages, chambers, lakes, and the smaller tunnels connecting the main mining shafts have a total length of about 300km and are located on nine levels, reaching 327 meters deep into the earth. The tourist route is about 3.5 km long and takes about three hours to complete. Along the way, you will see chapels carved from Salt, underground lakes, countless stalagmites, stalactites, exhibitions including salt life like status and exhibitions of the original mining equipment used throughout the time the mine has been in operation. To get down to the level of the tourist route you are first faced with the descent, where you will be required to overcome 380 steps down the long stairway, reaching a depth of about 135 meters underground, luckily the tourist rout will bring you back to the exit where the mining elevator will take you up to the surface again. Using the mining elevator shaft is a great attraction, not just for kids, and a good way to finish your tour of the Wieliczka Salt mines!

    The museum is open to visitors every day of the year, except January 1st , Easter day, 1st of November, 24th and 25th of December.

     

    Location and Other Attractions in the Area

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    The Wieliczka Salt Mines are located just outside of Krakow in Wieliczka. You can travel here from Krakow by using public transport or joining one of the many tour groups that are organized from Krakow.

    Distances to the Wieliczka Salt Mines from:

    Krakow:10km
    Zakopane:106km
    Oświęcim:67km

    Other Attractions in the area:

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    Krakow Historical center is located just over 10km away from the salt mines and holds a wealth of attractions for most travelers. One of the newest attractions is the underground museum. Read more...

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    Less famous, but also well worth noting is the Salt mines in Bochnia that are located some 30km to the east of the Wieliczka Salt mines. Read more...

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    The Ojcowski National Park is located about 30km away from Wieliczka to the north of Krakow. The Ojcowski National Park is the smallest national park in Poland, covering a total area of only 2145ha. Read more....

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    Kazimierz is today a well-known and very popular district of Krakow, once it was an independent city. For many this was the Jewish capital of Europe before the second world war. Read more...

     

     

    The Wieliczka Salt Mines can be visited every day:

  • 7.30 - 19.30 (from 1 April to 31 October)
  • 8.00 - 17.00 (from 2 November to 31 March)
  • Holy Saturday opening hours are 7.30 to 14.00, and on 31 December: 8.00 - 14.00

  • Ticket prices for individual tourists are as follows:

  • Normal ticket: 39zł
  • Reduced ticket: 35zł
  • Family ticket: 133zł (2 pers. Adults + 2 children aged 4 to 16 years)
  • Children under 4 free tour.
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    Auschwitz & Auschwitz Birkenau -Nazi extermination camp in Poland
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    Auschwitz is a place that stays long in the memory of those how visit. Auschwitz and Auschwitz II Birkenau are places that form a warning against the human aggression displayed in the acts that have taken place here. The facts speak for themselves, in 1940. Nazi Germany assumes control over the camp, which was originally used as a Polish army training camp, after the occupation of Poland it was used as a prison for Polish prisoners. Later being transformed into the predominantly Jewish extermination camp of Auschwitz Birkenau.

    The number of victims in Auschwitz is estimated at 1.1 to 1.5 million people. After converting this into the length of time the camp existed it gives a frightening number of more than 1,000 victims per day, many people were often forced into hard labor for as long as their body could withstand the extreme conditions that they were exposed to, this would normally end in a cruel death. Others never even got to stay in the camp and were sent straight to the gas chambers upon arrival in Auschwitz. In the last weeks before the liberation of Auschwitz, the Nazi occupants in an attempt to destroy evidence of crimes and blurring of the human torture that had been committed started the systematic destruction and removal of evidence in the camps.

    Despite these efforts, many of the barracks where the men, women and children were detained under inhumane conditions have been maintained along with much condemning evidence of the cruel acts that have taken place here. The area of the camps was after the war protected and converted to The State Museum of Auschwitz and Auschwitz II-Birkenau. The area of Auschwitz and Auschwitz - Birkenau, which was a continuation of the first camp, covers a vast area that we cannot fully appreciate before experiencing it with our own eyes. There are kilometers of barbed wire, guard towers, countless barracks both standing and just the crumbled shells left behind after the destruction before the camp's liberation and of course, the gas chambers.

    Tourists have often said that being on vacation is a time that they do not want to spend on something so depressive. However, a visit to Auschwitz can be looked upon as a time to reflect the other side of the coin, and you can fully appreciate what you have, and that we now live in a time of freedom, in a free country. Even though the events of Auschwitz seem so distant in time, it really happened recently, only a little over half a century ago. The numbers are slowly declining, but there are a few people that have seen and experienced Auschwitz for what it was and there are still many that have lost close family in the events that have taken place in these camps.

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    The museum is open to visitors every day of the year, except January 1st, Christmas Eve and Christmas Day (24th& 25 December).

    Opening hours for the museum:

  • 8:00 - 15:00 from December to February
  • 8:00 - 16:00 in March and November
  • 8:00 - 17:00 in April and October
  • 8:00 - 18:00 in May and September
  • 8:00 - 19:00 June, July and August

  • Tours Starting times:

  • English: 10.30 a.m., 11.30 a.m., 1.20 p.m.
  • French: 12.20 p.m.
  • German: 12.20 p.m.
  • Italian: 12.20 p.m.
  • Spanish: 12.20 p.m.
  • Location and Other Attractions in the Area

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    Auschwitz & Auschwitz Birkenau are located in the Polish town of Oświęcim. When traveling to Auschwitz by car you will find small brown signposts that will guide you to the Museum. If coming by public transport, then ask your driver before you enter the bus, if they will be going to the museum as many buses from Krakow do go directly to the museum.

    Distances to Auschwitz & Auschwitz Birkenau from:

    Krakow:68km
    Zakopane:128km
    Oświęcim:2km

    Other Attractions in the area:

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    Sucha Beskidzka is a very attractive little tourist town. One of the most famous attractions here is the Renaissance castle, now known as "The Little Wawel" it was built from 1554 to 1580... Read more...

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    Zator is a small town about 20km from Oświęcim on the road number 28 towards Nowy Sącz. If you are driving to Krakow, then you will leave the road number 28 in Zator. Read more....

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    Kalwaria Zebrzydowska is a very important pilgrimage site in Poland, situated about 30km south-west of Kraków center. It was created as a faithful duplicate of Jerusalem. Read more...

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    Krakow historical city center is located 70km to the east of Oświęcim and can be reached by public transport from the parking place in front of the main museum of Auschwitz. Read more...

     

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