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Entries about ghetto



overcast 9 °C

Taken from a rooftop cafe.

Let me start by saying that Krakow has quickly become one of my new favorites. What an incredible city, that while filled with a very dark history, has been left almost completely intact. It has a “softnesss” about it that makes it feel warm and welcoming. Soft is an odd word to describe a city but it keeps popping to mind perhaps because of the language, spoken quietly, amazingly empty streets, softly painted walls and whisking willows. With its 10 universities and thousands of students it has a real bohemian feel, I love it here.

I spent the good part of my day with a local photographer, David who originally hails from the UK but who followed his heart, and now wife to Krakow. This is a fairly new habit for me, finding a photographer to show me the sites, not so much for the instruction but for the experience of seeing a city through someone who also enjoys seeing it through a lens and, more importantly, has the patience and understanding that non-photographers often don’t, to wait while you have the shots you want. David did not disappoint. He holds a wealth of information about the city, knows where to get the best shots and can point you to the best restaurants and cafes. We enjoyed a few coffees in unique cafes along the way from the tops of tall buildings to an old Jewish home. It was great and he was quick to offer advice and answer questions on anything photography. It wasn’t until after we parted, me, with even more things on my “to do” list that I realized just how late in the day it was.

Here’s the link to David’s site in case you have the opportunity.


We covered quite a bit of ground. Starting in the Old Town and making our way back through the Jewish Area including a visit to see part of the remaining ghetto wall. Here are some highlights from our time together.

The main square.


Exploring courtyards and a church with amazing stain glass windows


More sites, including the Krakow dragon that refused to blow fire for us


The place to get the very popular polish pizza, Kapiekanka


A café in an old Jewish home


More from the Jewish area


I liked this rooftop


The bridge by day


One of the few buildings with bullet holes


The chair memorial by day. It is hard to find much information on this site but David believes the chairs that sit back on represented those that turned their backs on those living in the grotto. And what a classroom. Many students sat and listened quietly to their history lesson.


The old ghetto wall which was cruelly made to look like Jewish headstones


David also suggest that I visit the “new” (starting in 1800) Jewish cemetery so as soon as I left him, I went directly there. I did not expect to have such an emotional response. Maybe having just seen the grotto wall made it hit home. It was beautiful but sad. One of the workers there explained in broken English how the Germans destroyed the cemetery using headstones as mortar for roads to the camps. Today, only partially rebuilt (and in need of serious repair), some of the headstones that could not be linked to their gravesides are imbedded in the new walls surrounding the graveyard. I think what struck me most was how huge it was, and this was not the only Jewish cemetery and yet, there are less than 200 remaining in the city today.


From there I wandered around, sat in a café where I had pierogi and hot raspberry beer. Both local, delicious and cheap. I think it cost about $5. I was just about settled on going back to my room for the evening when I realized that my time here was short so rest was not an option. Instead, I headed back to the old town and took in a classical concert in the old St Paul and Peter Cathedral. It was well worth it even though the church was freezing.


We even got a performance outside


On the walk home, after reaching 30,000 steps on a very full day, I figured I would add one more Polish tradition to my day, and grabbed a sausage for the walk home.


Posted by curlygirl 15:31 Archived in Poland Tagged jewish krakow ghetto Comments (4)

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