Szeroka Street

ul. Szeroka, Kraków

Most synagogues are clustered in the vicinity of what used to be the hub of the Jewish city, whose life was concentrated around the Old Synagogue (Alte Shul, ul. Szeroka 24), which is the oldest structure of this type in Poland, with origins dating back to 1407.

The Old Synagogue was most probably completed in the latter half of the 15th century by Bohemian Jews who arrived in Kraków after the Prague pogrom of 1389. Built as a Gothic two-nave synagogue, it is one of the few examples of such architecture in Europe besides those in Worms, Regensburg, and Prague. After a fire, it was rebuilt by a Fiorentine architect Matteo Gucci, who gave it its current renaissance guise. The building’s contemporary form, however, dates back to the 1570s. Currently, the Old Synagogue is a branch of the Kraków Historical Museum, with The History and Culture of Jews in Kraków exhibition presenting the heritage and history of Jews, primarily from Kraków.

The original sacred functions are still held in the Remuh Synagogue (ul. Szeroka 40) built in 1556 for the famous commentator on the Torah, Rabbi Moses Isserles, known as Remuh (1520–70). The great scholar was the rabbi of Kraków and the rector of the local yeshiva (Talmudic academy) who became famous for his work Mappa (Tablecloth), in which he codified the laws of Ashkenazi Jews.

The kirkut, that is, the Jewish cemetery, behind the synagogue is one of the oldest in Europe. The first burials were victims of the plague in 1551. Later the place became the necropolis for the entire Jewish city, a function it performed until 1800. Although destroyed by the Nazis during the Second World War, it is certainly worth visiting. Many tombstones standing here date back to the 16th, 17th, and 18th centuries. Besides the formerly mentioned Rabbi Remuh, it is the final resting place of many other celebrities of the Jewish world: Natan Spira, Wolf Popper, members of their families, and also representatives of other notable families of Kraków Jews: the Landaus, Jakubowiczes, and Meiselses.

Date: 2017-05-29 Show ticket
News Publisher: Portal główny EN
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