Poland: Krakow, Kazimierz Jewish Quarter
Krakow - that amazing, charismatic, and historic city is so full of interesting landmarks that to spend only one weekend is almost like not being there at all. Maybe you have already heard that Krakow has been becoming the city of bars. Resutanrats, clubs, candy shops, pijalnie wódky… There is one place next to another all of them being great. Once you get enough refreshed take a look around. The Jewish quarter of Kazimierz, the old Stare Miasto, Rynek Główny, Wawel castle and the cathedral - the most sacred place in Poland. All of these sights on just couple of square kilometers - just enough to get to know it during a weekend.
Wawel and the Old Town are not the matter of our article today. We will mention them later. However, Krakow has a district of historical and architectonic significance - Kazimer. It used to be a standalone town founded by King Kazimir the Great in the 14th century to protect the castle and Old Town against attacks from the south. Later it was split to a Catholic and a Jewish section - and today - years after tearing down the wall you can still see the former borderline.
Szeroka street (Wide street) has been the center of the Jewish quarter for centuries. There is a synagogue and Remuh cemetery. The history of this place is linked to Mojsesz Isserles, a 16th century scholar which was nicknamed Remuh. Then, Kazimierz was an important spiritual center of entire Jewish Europe. Only Prague had larger Jewish community. Tourists come to this cemetery mostly for book guides claim it is the oldest one. There are many renovated tombs and grave stones. However, the cemetery was vastly damaged during the WWII. What you can see today is how it was transformed after the war. If you want to enjoy a quiet meditational walk among thousands of authentic Jewish gravestones, walk 300 meters further to the New Jewish Cemetery (Miodowa street 55).
There are still seven synagogues scattered across Kazimierz. These are in blocks of three-storied houses. Usually, the synagogues are open to the public and display some collections. The most well-knon is the Old Synagogue constructed in 1670. Its museum presents the history and culture of the Jewish quarter in Krakow.
Over 65 thousand people lived in the Jewish quarter prior to the WWII. Vast majority of htem died in concentration camps. Krakow is also known for Oskar Schindler who is known worldwide because his story won Steven Spielbberg, who directed the Schindler's List, an Oscar. There is Schindler's factory near the river outside of Kazimierz in Lipowa Street. Its employees were Jews from Krakow. They were part of this war time story. The factory houses a museum in the present. There are many authentic items on display which help visitors to show true stories of people there and the complete history of what Schindler did.
However, Kazimierz is not grim at all. Just the contrary. Restuarants, bars, bistros all one next to another. For instance, Jozefa street is kind of main party street in Krakow. I recommend you to make a tour de bar at night. Like any other bar in Krakow - there are not two same. Every place has its magic and looks different from its neighbor. And I talk not just about bars. Restaurants in Krakow are diverse, offer all kinds of national cuisines for affordable prices. You can get Polish borsch everywhere. The star meal is bigos which is made of cabbage and more types of meats. It takes four days to make it ready to serve.
GPS: 50°02'58.4"N 19°56'41.5"E
Text and photos: Radka Snížková
Poznan is one of the oldest Polish cities and in the past was a very important connection between Berlin and Warsaw. It is the seat of the first diocese in Poland at all (later the archbishopric).
The Wieliczka Salt Underground intends to attract tourists at any time of year, so here they do not forget the trends that modern times bring. After the tour you do not have to rush to the surface, but for example you can enjoy some of the typical Polish cuisine.
In previous articles, we looked into the corridors and chambers of the Wieliczka Salt Mine and remembered its rich history. But the mine also hides its soul in the form of chapels, which the miners regularly visited for prayer. Therefore, we will go to these places in the following lines and go through a special pilgrimage route through the mine.
The first half of the journey underground has fascinated us with its spaces and the legend carved in the rock, but it is not far from everything the mine offers to its visitors. So come go deeper, into its corridors and chambers, to places where crystal chandeliers and salty mining ponds glitter.
Descend with us to the underground corridors and salt mine chambers, where you can see for yourself the spaces in which salt has been harvested for centuries. Unique space will be surprising especially by the number of original works of art. In the following lines, we are going to admire the attractions along the first half of the tour route.
The world's unique sight in the south of Poland attracts more than a million tourists to local countryside. The salt world, which has been created for centuries by the mining of salt, has not left us indifferent either. Therefore, let us expose the history and the presence of this extraordinary place in the following lines.
Are you about to visit Krakow, Warsaw or the Polish side of the Giant Mountains? Look first at what traditions are here and what you have to do good. Our neighbors have a lot of similar traditions and holidays as we do, and the kitchen is quite similar, but some differences could be found there.
The fact that the Polish mountains are often neglected by the Czechs is pity. However, mountains in Poland are comparable to the Krkonose or the Tatras in Slovakia. However, some consider Poland to be cheaper. We consider it a must go!
In our countries, the Middle Bohemian period is still often perceived as the Dark Age. But it was during these "dark" times that many of our greatest treasures of art created by such masters as Karel Skreta, Jan Blaze Santini Aichl and the Dientzenhofers emerged to light . And the glorious Baroque treasures, which were created during the Thirty Years' War, are also pride in neighboring Poland. Indeed, a piece of today's Poland was part of the Bohemian Crown.
Rádi byste se prošli podél moře, ale nechce se vám nikam daleko? Pokud ano, máme tu pro vás dnes tip na místo, které je Čechy celkem opomíjeno. Nemusíte jet tisíce kilometrů, nemusíte překonávat svůj strach z létání. Stačí, když sednete do auta a můžete si udělat krásný prodloužený víkend v Kolobrzegu.
Cracow was Polish capital in past. Now, this city belongs to most beautiful architectonical jewels of Europe. The whole town is respiring with Middle Age, and such impression is stressed even with unusual big number of green surface which is frequently missing in big towns.
Church towers looming above your heads, dwarves at your legs, calm breath of history, quick pulse of European city. And squirrels, squirrels everywhere. This is Wrocław.
The largest city of Poland and also the capital of the country. Only sledomly people imagine it an interesting place worthy making a trip. We were very hesitant if to go there at first. It takes 8 hours by train from Prague (for considerable amount of money you can buy a night train). A flight ticket costs around 3000. Eventually, we decided for the cheapest option – a day train ride (a return ticket costs about 1400 Czech crowns).
Oswiecim (Auschwitz) is the biggest concentration camp of Europe, where the final solution of Jewish question was let to its nearly perfect finish. The Germans murded there - in the course of 1940-1945 - one million and one hundred thousands of people!
"The Jews are a race which must be totally exterminated!" This is a quotation of Hans Frank, Governor General of Poland, occupied by Nazis. This sentence is expressing all. Total extirpation, this was main style of concentration camps. Even in Oswiecim, the Nazis murdered one million of Jews. So, even now, the Jews belong to frequent visitors there.
Originally Slavic fortified settlement, then castle, today memorial place with a park from where you get the vista of Cesky Tesin, and the Slezske and Moravskoslezske Beskydy.
For we have experience with overcrowded Christmas market in Dresden or Wien, this time we decided to try some less known cities in Germany - Görlitz and Bautzen. I recommend this trip because everything will exceed your expectation. Both cities are close to the border with the Czech Republic. We started in Mlada Boleslav. It took us less than 2 hours to reach downtown Görlitz. Bautzen is only 40 minutes by car further. You can park your car there easily and the Christmas market gets crowded only in the evening.
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