After my bike ride to Plasnow, and my stop at the Schindler Factory, I decided to check out the Kazimierz Neighborhood. This neighborhood has had an established Jewish Quarter since 1495. I was excited to check it out.
Below is a map I made of the Kazimierz Neighborhood. I wanted to have one map that would map out all the buildings and memorials I wanted to check out in the area.
I found this map below posted on one of the streets in Kazimierz. It shows a walk that one could take to see all of the synagogues in Kazimierz.
Kazimierz is a beautiful neighborhood. I loved walking up and down the streets seeing all of these beautiful Jewish synagogues. I am quite surprised that the Nazis left these buildings intact, though I am sure much renovations had to have occurred afterward. Many of the ghetto scenes of Schindler’s List were filmed in Kazimierz, rather than Podgorze (where the real events occurred) because of its narrow laneways and cobblestoned streets which were thought to resemble the cramp-ness of ghetto life. Szeroka Street was used to film Plac Zgody, and the courtyard to depict the liquidation of the ghetto was between 12 Jozefa Street and 20 Rabina Meiselsa Street.
Old Synagogue (website)
The Old Synagogue of Krakow is one of the oldest Jewish places of worship in Europe, built in 1407 or 1492; it is well known for its Jewish architecture, an example of a Polish Fortress synagogue. Before WWII, it was on of the most important synagogues in the city and was used as the main religious and social center in Krakow’s Jewish community. During the war, the synagogue was used as an ammunition store house; the synagogue was ransacked and its relics stolen by the end of the war. It was rebuilt in the mid-1950s. Since 1961, the synagogue became a branch of the City of Krakow Historical Museum which houses the museum of Jewish history and traditions, focusing on the Krakow Jews. This building is no longer used as a
The High Synagogue is the third oldest synagogue in Krakow. It is unique for having the prayer room upstairs. During WWII, the synagogue was set on fire; no furnishings remain. The main floor now houses a bookstore with books on Judaism and you can pay to see the prayer room that houses a small temporary museum exhibit.
I really loved the architecture of this synagogue; it is beautiful. It is the newest built synagogue in the neighborhood dating to 1862. During the war, the building was used as a warehouse and stables. Since it was restored, many concerts and religious ceremonies take place here.
Remuh Synagogue is the smallest of the synagogues in the neighborhood, though it is one of the most active. Above the arch in Hebrew, it says, “The new synagogue of the ReMA, of blessed memory.” During the war, the synagogue was used as a storehouse for firefighting equipment. You can gain access to the Old Jewish Cemetery here.
Just North of the Remuh Synagogue you can find the bench dedicated to the Polish resistance fighter Jan Karski.
Memorial to the 65,000 Krakow Jews
In the small, green park across from the Remuh Synagogue, you will find this memorial. The plaque is written in Polish, English, and Yiddish: “Place of meditation upon the martyrdom of 65,000 Polish citizens of Jewish nationality from Krakow and its environs, killed by the Nazis during World War II.”
Plac Nowy has a cool circular building at the center of it. I arrived there at lunch time so many people were gathered around eating and socializing. There were a few venders selling some souvenirs on tables. It was a fun square to happen upon.
The farther you walk West in Kazimierz, you start to get out of the dense Jewish area. There are quite a few lovely Polish churches on this side of the neighborhood.
Corpus Christi Basilica
This was the first Polish church I had been in to. I was not extremely impressed by the brick exterior, but the interior was amazing! I loved its mix of Gothic and Baroque architecture.
The Church of the Rock (Skalka) and the Pauline Monastery
I really liked the Baroque exterior of this church and the grounds were really nice to wander around. This church was very peaceful, and not crowded at all.
This is one of the most important religious sites in Poland. The Bishop of Krakow (Saint Stanislaw of Szczepanow) was beheaded in 1079 on order of the King. This forced the King to be exiled and the bishop eventually became canonized, becoming not just the patron saint of Krakow, but for all of Poland. Since 1472, a monastic order of Pauline Fathers has resided here.
Overall, I loved my walk through Kazimierz! It was like stepping back in history. Every street had something of interest to see. I wish I took more pictures!!