Sunday, 27 September 2015

Kazimierz


Kazimierz is the Jewish District of Kraków. It is also now THE place to hang out due to its abundance of characterful bars, restaurants, shops brimming with artwork, antique shops and unique Kazimierz cafe culture. It is bohemian, full of spirit and its own vibrant atmosphere. 

It flourished for 500 years as the centre of Jewish life in Kraków. However, this life and culture was snuffed out by the Nazi invasion when the district's residents were decanted firstly to the Ghetto in Podgorze across the river, and then finally to the gas chambers of Auschwitz. After the war the area became run down, brimming with vagrants and crumbling, empty buildings. The life and culture gone and the ghosts of the dead whistling with the wind through the gaping holes in walls and collapsed roofs. 
Dilapidated courtyard, Kazimierz
What happened to the residents of these apartments?
Kazimierz 1990
With the fall of the Berlin Wall however, and the end of communism, the area has started to flourish once again. Life has returned to the abandoned buildings. There is such an abundance of remnants of Jewish life from the past that it has become a pilgrimage for many to experience the area. This of course has been encouraged by it featuring prominently in Speilberg's "Schindler's List". The area also hosts a world renowned Jewish Cultural Festival every late June/early July which culminates in a massive street party on Szeroka. 

Synagogues, Jewish museums, book shops, historical sites mean that this has to be the best, and only place left in Europe, that gives a true feel of what Jewish life would have been like pre WW2. 

For more on this amazing district click the link to the Kazimierz Page.


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