Thursday, May 24, 2012


On our 2nd full, and last day in Krakow we decided to start with a golf cart tour of Kazimierz, the Jewish section.
Corpus Christi Church in Krakow is a fine Gothic church dating from the mid-1300s. It is an impressive brick church with a rich interior with several side chapels. Notable features include a high altar from 1634, the superb choir stalls of 1629, and an interesting mid-18th-century pulpit shaped like a boat.
A Romanesque church originally stood on this elevated site, located on the Vistula embankment south of Wawel Hill. It was here in 1079 that Bishop Stanislaw (or Stanislaus; 1072–1079) was beheaded and dismembered by order of King BolesÅ‚aw.
Stanislaw was Poland's first saint and one of the patron saints of the entire nation. Dating to the 13th century, the annual procession honoring the saint is one of the oldest ceremonies in the nation and it draws up to 40,000 from the castle where he is now buried to this church where he was originally interred.
In Wolnica Square, part of the former market square of Kazimierz, stands the Town Hall which was erected in the 15th century.
The Temple Synagogue, built in 1860-62 was founded by Krakow's reformed Jews and hosted services for non-Orthodox Jews in the city. It was badly damaged by the Nazis during World War II, who used it as a magazine.
The Old Synagogue, which presently works as a museum of Jewish Culture.
Schindler's Factory. Oskar Schindler was an ethnic German industrialist who is credited with saving over 1100 Jews by employing them in his factories, bribing and paying off the SS and risking his own life to save them from extermination.
Photos of some of the Jews he saved.
Concordia Square was the place where Jews had to assemble before being transported to the death camps. The memorial includes 33 large empty chairs and 37 smaller chairs located at the tram stop, and marks on the pavement which shows where the walls of the former Ghetto were located.
The Royal Castle at Wawel on Wawel Hill has had a long and varied history. People lived on the hill 50,000 years ago, in the Paleolithic age where a settlement bustled with trade, crafts and farming. Eventually the rulers took up residence on the hill and in the early 16th century King Sigismund I the Old, brought in foreign artists to refurbish the castle into a splendid Renaissance palace. Over the years fires, invasions and neglect destroyed much of its beauty. In 1921 the Polish Parliament passed a resolution which gave Wawel official status as the residence of the President of Poland, but after the ravages of WWII the castle became a National Museum.
Taking the "back route" to the castle we saw children's tours organizing near the city wall.
We walked along this road and beneath the old castle gate.
A view of the Vistula River from Castle Wall.
The Wawel Cathedral used to be the coronation place of the Polish Monarchs.
In the large center courtyard parts of the Old Castle foundation can be seen in the Garden. And excavations have begun in other parts of the grounds.
There are other ways to tour Krakow, Segway Tours enjoyed here by Russ and Susan.
And of course there are Rent-A-Bikes.
While walking near the market square our last full day in Krakow I enjoyed these colorfully dressed Street Musicians. We had a delicious dinner outside at the famous 700 year old Wierzyney Restaurant,
Where the following night we enjoyed a superb Chopin Concert. No better way to end a wonderful trip to Poland.

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