The area known as Kazimierz has roots in medieval times. In 1335 the area was named for the King of Poland, Casimir III the Great, and created as an independent town. For centuries it was a safe haven for the Jewish community and had a flourishing culture, markets and synagogues, eventually becoming part of Krakow in 1791. Kazimierz, the Jewish Quarter of Krakow, is a memorable and atmospheric destination to visit while in Poland. Read on for our guide to explore this historically rich and vibrant cultural hub.
Both the people and buildings of Kazimierz were badly damaged by World War II. Two years after war broke out, a cramped and overcrowded Jewish ghetto was created in the Jewish Quarter. Most of the inhabitants who survived the ghetto perished in Nazi concentration camps such as Auschwitz-Birkenau and Plaszów. Over time, the people of Krakow have repaired and recreated Kazimierz, making it a thriving cultural quarter once again. It is now a hub for communities and nationalities, and home to many must see attractions.
Walk the Jewish Heritage Route
It’s a short and pleasant walk from the sophisticated Radisson Blu Hotel, Krakow to the charming streets of the Jewish Quarter. You can walk the Jewish Heritage Route in Krakow to take in the important buildings in the area, including the baroque Isaac’s Synagogue and Gothic High Synagogue. The Remuh Synagogue is open for visitors as well as those who come for worship, and is a must visit attraction. Visit the Remuh cemetery beside the Synagogue to see the grave of Rabbi and writer Moses Isserles, along with hundreds of tombstones dating back to the 1500s.
Visit the contemporary Galicia Jewish Museum, located in the heart of Krakow’s Jewish quarter. This popular attraction commemorates Holocaust victims and celebrates Jewish culture and history. Once you are finished exploring the Jewish quarter, you can relax with some good food and drink. The Kazimierz area is buzzing with cafes, boutiques, galleries, restaurants and clubs, offering a taste of modern Krakow culture in a vibrant atmosphere.
The Historical Museum of the City of Krakow has various branches in the city that will help you find out more about the history of Jewish life here. The elegant Old Synagogue is a great experience. Here, you can find out more about the synagogue itself, Jewish holidays and festivals, and private and family life. Exhibits feature craft, clothing, art and photographs, as well as important relics. The Eagle Pharmacy museum in the former ghetto commemorates the Holocaust. This branch of the museum is based on memories from the pharmacy's owner, Tadeusz Pankiewicz, who recorded the tragic events of World War II. Take a short trip over the river from Kazimierz to visit Oskar Schindler’s Enamel Factory, a leading attraction which tells the tragic story of Krakow under Nazi Occupation, which was digitized on screen in Steven Spielberg's Oscar winning Schindler's List.
Take the opportunity to visit this historical town which has transformed through the harshest of times in history to be rebuilt and thrive as a cultural hub in Poland. Plus, you can never get enough of the historical charm in Krakow, so check out these 5 other historical marvels in the city worth the visit!
Book your stay at Radisson Blu Hotel, Krakow so you can experience the rich history for yourself!