On my second day in Krakow, I visited Wawel Castle, before walking over to the old Jewish quarter.
Wawel Castle was built in the 13th century and over the following centuries, was expanded upon. The original building is Gothic in style. It has been used for a variety of purposes, including a royal palace, army stronghold, presidential residence, and today a national museum, housing amongst other things the crown treasury and armoury.
Pope John Paul II was born near Krakow and, before becoming the pope, served as the Archbishop of Krakow.
The old Jewish quarter of Krakow, in an area called Kazimirez, is very historical. It has been a centre of Jewish culture in Krakow since 1495. During World War II, the Nazis set up a ghetto in the area and most of the Jewish population were sent to the ghetto, before being moved to concentration camps. Director Roman Polanski grew up here and is one of the survivors of the ghetto.
Of course, the world keeps turning and today, the area is a vibrant area popular with artists and creative types, full of trendy bars and cafes. Dotted throughout the area are residences and a few markets too. This was probably my favourite part of Krakow. A fascinating blend of the old and new.
There’s lots of street art in the Jewish Quarter, as well as an appropriation of lots of communist era paraphernalia for bars going for an “ironic communist chic” thing.
The fresh produce on sale at this outdoor market was brilliant. Beautiful fruit and vegetables of the highest quality.