Jewish culture monuments in Kraków

Kraków, and especially its eastern part, is profoundly associated with Jewish culture. Not many people know that originally Kazimierz was established as a separate town. Casimir the Great founded it in 1335, spanning an area with several existing settlements. In the 15th century, the Jewish population was exiled from Kraków and settled along Szeroka street. A separate Jewish town of a kind was created. For several years at the beginning of July, the final concert of the Jewish Culture Festival takes place on the square by Szeroka street. We can still admire traces of the former splendour of this place today. Mainly these are sacral monuments, but there are also some less-than-obvious remains of former residents.

One should begin visiting Kraków's monuments related to Jewish culture with the Centre for Jewish Culture at Meiselsa street. Today it is a very vibrant Jewish community cultural centre. The sacral monuments mentioned above primarily constitute synagogues. The Tempel synagogue, erected in 1862 for the Progressive Israelites Association is at Miodowa street.  The 17th century Kupa Synagogue at Warszauer street, partially adjacent to the surviving Kazimierz town wall is yet another. The next synagogue, built between 1638 and 1644 was funded by a merchant, Izaak Jakubowicz, and then named after him. It is located at Jakuba street.

There is also an older synagogue called Wysoka in Kazimierz. It is located on Józefa street, and dates back to 1590. There is a prayer room on the first floor. However, it is not the oldest surviving synagogue. There are as many as three different synagogues at Szeroka, and the Stara synagogue, dating back to the 15th century is one of them. Today it is home to the Historical Museum of the City of Kraków with an exhibition dedicated to Jewish culture. The next synagogue at Szeroka street is the Remuh synagogue dating back to 1557. It was funded by Izrael Isserles Auerbach, a rich Jew. It was a gift from a father to a son, Mojżesz Isserles, a prominent rabbi, generally known as Remuh. One of the oldest Jewish cemeteries in Poland, daring back to 1511 is right next to it. Last but not least is the 1620 Poper synagogue. Upon leaving Kazimierz, it is worth making a stop at Miodowa 55. This is the site of the New Jewish Cemetery.