South of the Old Town Krakow is situated Kazimierz district, a center of Jewish life for more than 500 years. Most of the Krakow’s Jewish history is concentrated here – Jewish cemeteries, synagogues, and art. Today it has a rather bohemian atmosphere, bustling with life, art galleries, historical sites, and cool bars and cafes.
Complete Krakow Walking Map
Plac Nowy (New Square)
Plac Nowy was the primary market in the Jewish quarter and a ritual slaughterhouse for poultry. The central landmark of the square is the Okrąglak (rotunda) with many food places around. It where you can taste the best zapiekanki in Poland, a must try traditional dish.
Krakow Ghetto Wall Fragment
Yet another powerful reminder of tortures and atrocities Krakow’s Jews have undergone during the Nazi occupation is a Krakow Ghetto Wall Fragment, a 12-metre stretch of the original ghetto wall. A commemorative plaque reads in Hebrew and Polish: “Here they lived, suffered and died at the hands of the German torturers. From here they began their final journey to the death camps.”
Plac Bohaterów Getta
Ghetto Heroes Square was a place for Ghetto residents to socialize during the hard times of WWII as the largest open space but it was also a place from where they were deported to their final destination – the death camps. In 2005, 70 large well-spaced metal chairs were laid out on the square symbolizing departure, as well as the subsequent absence of the killed people.
Galicia Jewish Museum
The Galicia Jewish Museum is dedicated to the memory, history, and life of Jews in southern Poland and western Ukraine.
The museum is open daily from 10AM to 6PM. Entrance tickets are 16 zł per person.
The Old Synagogue is no longer working synagogue, but a great exhibit showcasing the history and traditions of Polish Judaism. It is the oldest surviving example of Jewish religious architecture in Poland.
The museum hours depend on the season with the following hours:
- Winter season (November to March)
- Monday from 10AM to 2PM
- Tuesday through Thursday, Saturday and Sunday from 9AM to 4PM
- Friday from 10AM to 5PM
- Summer season (April to October)
- Monday from 10AM to 2PM
- Tuesday through Sunday from 9AM to 5PM
Last entrance 30 minutes before closing. Tickets are 10 zl per person with the option to rent an audio guide.
New Jewish Cemetery
The New Jewish Cemetery is a huge cemetery and place of final rest for many of Krakow’s distinguished Jews of the 19th and 20th century. The horrors of the Nazi occupation made many of the tombstones memorials to entire families. It is a place to visit, pay respect to those killed, and to say a prayer.
The High Synagogue is the third oldest synagogue in Krakow built in 16th century. Interestingly the prayer rooms are built upstairs. It is believed that was a safety measure to protect worshippers from unfriendly intruders.
The High Synagogue is open daily from 9:30 AM to 8PM. Tickets are 12 zł per person.
Krakow’s smallest, but most active synagogue is the Remuh Synagogue with Shabbat service held each Friday. The adjacent cemetery and the synagogue are places of pilgrimage of Jews from across the world.
Remuh Synagogue is open Sunday to Thursday from 9AM to 4PM and Friday from 9AM to dusk. Tickets are 10 zł.
Isaac’s Synagogue is a Judaic-Baroque synagogue built in the 17th century as a gift from a wealthy Jew, Izaak Jakubowicz. In a shop inside you can buy kosher food, sweets, Jewish calendars and similar items.
The synagogue is open Sunday to Thursday from 8:30 AM to 8PM and Friday from 8:30 AM to 2:30 PM. From November to March it is open Sunday to Thursday from 8:30 AM to 6PM and Friday from 8:30 AM to 2:30 PM. Entrance costs 10 zl per person.
Synagogue Kupa, a Baroque synagogue, features a richly decorated interior with paintings of Biblical scenes and holy places.
The Kupa Synagogue is open Sunday through Thursday from 9:30 AM to 4PM and Friday until dusk. Entrance costs 5 zł.