The historical district of Kazimierz is enjoying an exciting new lease of life. Since the Stephen Spielberg epic Schindler's List was filmed here, the area has undergone a renaissance. Wander through its streets to find a cool bohemian enclave alive with medieval buildings, cafés, bars and markets.
Kazimierz was founded in the 14th century by King Kazimierz the Great. It was originally an island until the river that separated it from the old city dried up and was built over. For more than 500 years, Kazimierz was the hub of Jewish life in Kraków, but fell into disrepair after being almost destroyed by the Nazis. Today it is a district reborn.
A good way to see how the recovery efforts have revitalized the area is to visit the beautifully preserved synagogues. One of the most fascinating of these is the Old Synagogue on Szeroka. Built in the 15th century this is one of the oldest still standing in Poland. Tour its museum for insights into the history of Judaism in Poland. A 10-minute walk from here is the Temple Synagogue. This 19th-century place of worship, which also hosts concerts, is decorated with stained-glass windows.
Kazimierz also boasts a fine collection of museums. Those with an interest in innovation should visit the Museum of City Engineering. All ages can enjoy video and interactive exhibitions that tell the stories of Poland’s automotive, public transportation and television industries. At the Galicia Jewish Museum, view hundreds of photographs that document Jewish history, including the Holocaust.
In the evening, unwind in the bars, cafés and restaurants. Many are to be found in and around Plac Nowy square. There is also a great selection of street food served late into the night.
Kazimierz is in the heart of the city tucked into a bend in the northern bank of the Vistula River. The district can be easily accessed at any time from either side of the waterway.