What a day to enjoy: Beautiful sunshine and temperatures around 20 °C. The right weather to explore the city. I grabbed my tripod and camera and strowled from Kazimierz towards the City Center. The Jewish quarter Kazimierz has it’s own charme: Newly renovated buildings beside remains from WWII times. To walk and view is something that I really appreciate because it shows how fragile our environment is although we all think that nothing can harm us. After Steven Spielberg shot the movie Schindler’s List here a lot of money was donated for the benefit of this quarter. You can easily recognize it when walking around.
People surrounding me are not only tourists but residents who are friendly and helpful in regard of questions and advices where to go and what to to. I walked up Ulica Grodzka and reached the mainmarket. A very impressive location with the biggest open space for a market in Europe. In the middle of it, the Renaissance cloth hall (Sukiennice) which currently houses shops, restaurants and merchant stalls dominates the main market. This hall dates back in a.D. 1550 when it has been the source of a variety of imports from the east such as spices, silk, leather and wax, while Kraków itself exported textiles, lead, and salt, which came from the Wieliczka Salt Mine. In one of the buildings I found the temporary Exhibition of Erotic Art (50 shades of grey) which shows items and explains stories of the history of sexuality and sexual behaviour over the centuries. This exhibition travels the world and is currently guest in Poland. I visited the show and was impressed about the things I have seen. Nothing to be ashamed off but sensitive objects and sexy toys.
Going further on I reached the Teatr im. Juliusza Słowackiego. A very impressive building but not my target because watching a play in Polish language wouldn’t be fun for me. Maybe I will return and find a play which is performed in English or even German. You never know.
Walking further on I hit the Defensive Walls where The Historical Museum of Krakow can be found. On the top level of the wall tower a showcase was on TV that explained in an animated movie the history of Kraków. I found this showcase very helpful for my understanding of the founding of the town and the changes over the centuries. I would say it’s a Must See but I don’t know whether or not it’s a temporary or permanent exhibition.
In the 19th century the long neglected city fortifications were liquidated. By the efforts of Prof. Feliks Radwański, the northern part of the walls were saved, including the Barbican, the Brama Floriańska (Florian Gate) and three towers which once marked the starting point of the Royal Road. This is a tourist attraction because it offers a beautiful view towards the Bazylika Mariacka. On the Defensive Wall you can find exhibitions of art from local painters and artists.
My way back led over the main market towards Kazimierz where I had planned my dinner at the Klezmer-Hois where they do operate a restaurant with authentic jewish dishes and offer live Klezmer music while eating. I was astonished about the size of the portions. For example I did order Duck Breast and received a full half of a duck, which I hardly could eat up because I did have a starter already. My advice is: Ask the waiter about the size of the dishes and than decide whether or not to order a starter and desert. In total the evening added up to approximately 60 € just for me including the fee for the live performance.
Kazimierz is a historical district of Kraków and the Old Town. Since its foundation in the middle of the fourteenth century up to the early nineteenth century, this suburb was a royal but independent city of the Crown of the Polish Kingdom. For centuries it was a place of coexistence of ethnic Polish groups and Jewish cultures, where its north-eastern part was historic Jewish. In 1941 those Jewish inhabitants were involuntarily relocated by the German occupying forces into the Krakow ghetto in Podgórze.