The Jewish Quarter (Polish Kazimierz) has changed a lot during the last years. From not that popular dodgy place, where it wasn’t that safe to walk alone at night – into night life and cultural center of Kraków. Opened in 2010 bridge called “kładka Bernatka” connects it with Podgórze District, second fast progresing district with temporary museums and newly opened cafes and restaurants. In those two places you can try for example Polish, Jewish, Italian and French cuisine, not to mention famous Zapiekanka at Plac Nowy Square and very hip new places with Belgian Fries and hamburgers.
For all the collectors out there Kazimierz has a lot to offer. Almost every day you can dig through the flee market at Nowy Square in search for old records, books, jewellery etc. Afret fruitful hunt for old treasures it is the best to relax with a cold beer in famous and climatic Alchemia – pub just around the corner. From there only 5 minute walk separates you from the Street Szeroka. A wide street is full with historic townhouses (for example the one where Helena Rubinstein was born) and Synagogues (including one of the oldest in Poland Old Synagogue).
In 1993, when Stephen Spielberg made a movie out of a novel called “Schindler’s Ark,” written by Australian author Thomas Keneally, he needed an authentic Jewish quarter for the scenes depicting the Jewish ghetto of Podgorze in Krakow. He chose the Kazimierz district of Krakow because this area had not changed since the 1940s, while Podgorze had been partially rebuilt with modern buildings.
Ghetto Heroes Square situated in Podgórze district was the point of departure for thousands of Jews from the Krakow ghetto to different camps during the Second World War. It’s design has been created by Krakow architects Piotr Lewicki and Kazimierz Latak. According to their project in the square there are 70 empty chairs made of bronze. By this project authores wanted to remind passers-by about the displacement of Jews which took place in 1943, as the chairs represent possesions discarded by the deportees.
Finally, deffinetely worth visiting is Schindler’s Factory – now one of the best museums in Kraków. It is not only about Schindler himself but also about the history of the II World War in Kraków. Inside you have a chance to see his preserved office as well as amazing, overwhelming exhibition. There is also a Free Walking Tour organised around the Jewish Quarter and Podgórze District. It starts every day at 2pm and meeting point is in front of Saint Marie’s Church in the Main Market Square. Don’t be late! 😉
Kazimierz has changed a lot during the last years but the atmosphere and historical spirit remained the same!!