Szeroka Street

ul. Szeroka, Kraków


Szeroka Street is actually a prolonged market square with old synagogues, a palace and stately houses from the 16th, 17th and 18th centuries.

In the Middle Ages, it was the centre of the village of Bawół, incorporated into Kazimierz soon after the city's foundation in 1340. According to Jan Długosz, the first buildings that stood in that area belonged to the Great University, funded by King Casimir the Great (unfortunately, there is no proof of that). After a decree issued by King John Albert (1495), according to which Jews were to virtually leave Kraków, they started to settle in the mentioned area. Soon, the Jewish Town was formed, separated by a wall from the rest of Kazimierz, according to the applying customs.

At least from the beginning of the 17th century, its centre was Szeroka Street. Probably at the turn of the 16th century, the first synagogue was built, called "Old", and nearly half a century later another one was erected next to a formerly established cemetery (Remuh). Later on, modest prayer houses were erected in the area, including synagogues, such as the preserved Wolf Popper (the Stork) Synagogue, funded by a merchant and banker in 1620. Raised from brick and supported by stone buttresses, this single-nave synagogue covered with a barrel vault with lunettes was unfortunately destroyed by the Nazis.

The small synagogue Na Górce ("on a little hill"), also known as Natan Spira (1583-1633) Prayer House was not spared either.  The synagogue, built in the 17th century, used to be located at number 2 Na Przejściu Street (at the conjunction with Szeroka Street).  On the other side (the north of Szeroka Street) stands the building of a ritual bathhouse, so-called mikvah, with a pool supplied with water from a spring. The mikvah was already there in 1567, which is known from a dated record of a tragic accident, in which ten women drowned while having a bath when the roof collapsed.

Later on, the building was repeatedly reconstructed and its current shape comes from the beginning of the 19th century. The north frontage of the square is terminated by an impressive town house of the Laudau family (no. 2) with a brick-and-stone façade, formed at the end of the 18th century as a result of merging three smaller 16th-century houses adjoining the defensive walls. The house is wrongly identified as the court (palace) of the Jordan family, which actually existed in the 18th century, but it stood in the vicinity of Nowy Square.

Translation: Summa Linguae

Date: 2013-06-07 Show ticket
News author: Weronika Dulowska
News Publisher: Portal główny EN
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