Kazimierz (Old Jewish Quarter)
Kazimierz (Old Jewish Quarter) Krakow Reviews
The Jewish quarter of Krakow Jul 16, 2008
Kazimierz is the old Jewish quarter of Krakow. It has a completely different feel from the Rynek Glowny area, but to me it was twice as interesting. The buildings are old, a bit run down but certainly authentic, and so are the streets and squares. There is a bit of a dirty flair to Kazimierz, but then again it is a great escape from the crowded center of the old town. Here you'll find tiny bars, dusky restaurants, synagogues and rough architecture.
The history of Kazimierz dates back to early 13th century. In those days the area was mostly inhabited by Poles, while in the center of Krakow many German immigrants lived. Yet from the end of the 15th century Jews started to be banned from Krakow and forced to move to Kazimierz. Trade flourished in the quarter, however, and the district became rich and influential. Unfortunately this golden times didn't last long. A few years later the area was hit by first the plague, and later famine, floods, invasions, antisemitism, you name it. Many inhabitants flew the city and left Kazimierz deserted.
When Vienna ruled over Poland Kazimierz was rebuilt and integrated in the official city of Krakow. Better times came, streets were paved, the first trams drove around, and street lamps were installed. Things went fine until the second world war started. People were banned to the Podgorze ghetto, only to be later deported to concentration camps. Yet today the Kazimierz area has recovered from it's wounds and now it is an artistic and cultural center, in which many old facades hide trendy bars or galleries. In some area's it seems as if time has been standing still in the early 1900.
There are many tours that can take you through Kazimierz, but you might just walk around there yourself, that's up to you. I find most of the tours rather expensive, yet if you want more information about the guided walks and trips check out this website:
Part of the Poland 2008 travel blog
Part of the list UNESCO World Inheritance
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