The Jewish Kazimierz District in Krakow Poland is a beautiful place to visit if you want to get cozy. If you could remove all the cars and vans, you could be stepping back into days gone by. With its picturesque, full street square and its labyrinth of surrounding streets and low-rise houses, the Jewish Kazimierz district is a marvelous place for just strolling around at any time of the day or night.
Once a distinct town in its right it was founded by King Casimir the high in thirteen thirty-five and was a place for various trading activities, It was the center for the Jewish population. The oldest Synagogue in Poland is situated here on Szeroka Street, and it houses an enormous museum. Other Synagogues are located nearby, and the one in Miodowa Street is renowned for its outstanding acoustics. Because of this, it has become the venue for the inaugural concert of the annual Festival of Jewish Culture. The festival ends with a great open-air concert in Szeroka Street that is free to the publlic.
During the Nazi occupation in the Second World War, the Kazimierz district was emptied of its Jewish inhabitants by relocating them to the infamous Ghetto and on wards to the devilish hellholes of the concentration camps. If you want to see what the area was like before the war, then a visit to Isacc’s Synagogue will reveal a film made in 1936 about the district. There are also pieces of a German documentary made in 1941. If you take a walk along Jozef’s Street, you will observe all the little shops and workshops that would have existed before the war. This will give you some idea as to the makeup of the area at that time.
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Up until as recently as the year two thousand much of the Kazimierz district was in ruins with many of the buildings on the point of collapse and others in a state of total disrepair. The area was a magnet for squatters, drug addicts, and alcoholics. Since then it has had a complete overhaul, while the building still look like there falling apart. Kazimierz is full of some of the best restaurants in Krakow that are nothing more then a hole in the wall and a few tables from the outside view. Its not untill you really start to explore to ally ways you find some hidden gems.
To the northern end of this small square, there is a small grove of maple trees. Among them, you will discover a small monument set on a large rock. The monument is a place of meditation to remember the sixty-five thousand Polish Jews from Krkaow, who was martyred by the Nazis. Why not stop by to honor them. Worth a look is the Corpus Christi Church, it serves the Christian element of Kazimierz, and King Casimir or Kazimierz the Great founded this in thirteen forty-two. Inside the massive high altar and stalls date back to the first half of the seventeenth century. The history of this place of worship is that the church was built on the very spot where a miraculously recovered stolen sacred relic was found. Added to over the years it is today one of Krakow’s largest and finest religious buildings.
The Jewish Kazimierz district of Cracow is a unique place that shows off the merger of Polish and Jewish life and culture. It will leave you with very pleasant memories. To get a better understanding of the area you can check out the Free Walking tour by City Walks Krakow
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