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Kazimierz is one of the historic districts of Krakow and for many years it was the capital of Polish Jews. During the guided tour of Jewish Kazimierz we discover many landmarks that testify to the history of this extraordinary place. We also get a glimpse of  Kazimierz nowadays. Below please find a short description of walking tour in Krakow with a guide.

WALKING TOUR IN KRAKOW: JEWISH QUARTER

The tour begins at Szeroka street, which looks more like a square than a street. It is an important place in the history of the district and for many years was one of its key spots. At Szeroka Street you will find the Remuh Synagogue and the Remuh Cemetery, that is one of the oldest Jewish cemeteries in Poland. However, these are not the only synagogues that survived in Kazimierz. During the tour, on Szeroka street you also have a chance to take a look at the Old Synagogue, which is the oldest synagogue in Poland and the house of Helena Rubinstein.

But Szeroka is not only a historical site. It is still vibrant, with numerous restaurants located in the surrounding tenement houses, luring you toto stop by after you’ve finished sightseeing Kazimierz. You will taste here not only traditional Jewish cuisine, but also dishes from around the world. It is also here, at Szeroka Street, that the Jewish Culture Festival takes place, being one of the largest in Europe. Over a few summer days the street resounds with Jewish music and Klezmer songs. During the time of the festival many other cultural events take place, including numerous exhibitions, lectures and theatre performances.

UNIQUE ATMOSPHERE

Leaving Szeroka, you take a stroll along many other streets of the district, which is perfect opportunity to admire more Synagogues, that is: the High Synagogue and the Isaac Synagogue. By the way, during the walk you pass by numerous stores that perfectly reflect the historic atmosphere of the district thanks to their sign boards and decor. Make sure to visit them later, peek into some of them to enjoy the interiors and the variety of goods they offer, from antiques of various kinds through hand made products to different pieces of contemporary art. These are truly magical places; many people like to return there on their subsequent visits Krakow.

VISITING KRAKOW’S GHETTO

The ambience of the present-day  should not make us oblivious to the fact that, unfortunately, it has also darker secrets. During World War II it witnessed the extermination of Krakow’s Jewish community that, when the was started, had approximately over 65 thousand members. Right on the other side of Vistula River was the Krakow Ghetto. Jews from Kazimierz were resettled there, and then, one by one, taken into extermination camps. A very meaningful monument in the Ghetto Heroes Square commemorates the history of this place. Empty chairs symbolize Jews waiting for deportation.

Not much is left of the Krakow’s Ghetto, but pieces of what used to be walls surrounding it that still remind us of the tragic events of that period. There are also places reminding that even in those troubled times there were people ready to help others, often at the risk of losing their own lives. One of such places is the Eagle Pharmacy, connected with the person of Tadeusz Pankiewicz – a Pole who helped to save many Jews. The pharmacy was turned into museum and is open to visitors every day (except every second Tuesday of each month).

Another important place is the Schindler’s factory, whose owner saved over 1000 people of Jewish origin from extermination. In 2010, museum was opened in the former factory building. Walking tour in Krakow Jewish Quarter & Ghetto will end here. Visiting the museum is not included in the tour program, but it is possible to request it additionally.

walking tour in krakow

Additional information about walking tour in Krakow

The above-described tour takes about 2 hours. To deepen your knowledge about the World War II events that took place in Krakow, I recommend visiting the Museum located in the Schindler’s Factory right after you finish your guided tour of Kazimierz. Particularly noteworthy is the permanent exhibition with various multimedia installations allowing you to travel back in time and step into the shoes of Krakow residents during the war.