To join the Kazimierz Jewish Quarter Walking Tour you should make your way to Main Market Square and meet your guide at St. Adalbert's Church. The 3-hour tour consists of a 2 ½ -hour walk tour and a 30-minute break for discussion.
Before heading off, stop for a minute to admire 11th century St Adalbert, one of the oldest stone churches in Poland. Then, your guide will lead you to Kazimierz, now known as “Krakow’s Jewish District”. Until 1791, Kazimierz was an independent town, with its own charter and laws, where most of the time Jews and Catholics co-existed peacefully. Each ethnic group had its own characteristic building style and even today you can tell which community occupied a particular neighborhood.
Until World War II, Kazimierz was the most important center for Jewish culture in Poland. But, with the mass deportation and extermination of Krakow’s Jews by the Nazis, the area fell into decline.
Your tour starts in the Jewish part of old Kazimierz. You’ll walk along Szeroka, a long, wide cobbled street lined with restaurants. At one end of the street is the Old Synagogue, one of seven synagogues that miraculously escaped destruction by the Nazis.
Dating from the 15th century, the Old Synagogue has been extensively altered over the centuries. Ransacked by the Nazis and used to store armaments, it was renovated in the 1950s and is now part of the Historical Museum of Krakow.
As you pass Plac Nowy (New Square) you’ll see a round building in the middle of the plaza which housed a ritual slaughter house for Kosher meat.
Your guide will show you the main ghetto square and the ghetto wall and locations used in the Oscar-winning film “Schindler’s List”. This film is based on the true story of German industrialist Oskar Schindler who is credited with saving the lives of more than 1200 Krakow Jews during the Holocaust.
You’ll see the enamelware factory owned by Schindler, where he employed Jewish workers and protected them during the Nazi occupation. Today, the factory houses a museum dedicated to the history of Krakow under the Nazis.
Your tour ends here and does not include entrance to the museum, but if you wish you may pay the admission fee and go inside after the tour is over.