Yiddish: Krake, Kroke
Cracow is a city of such amultitude of monuments that the listing below should be considered only as an initial introduction. UNESCO has declared Cracow's Old Town and Kazimierz district a World Heritage site.
At Wawel Hill: the cathedral of St Vaclaus and St Stanislaus (1320-1364, and the remains of older buildings, from as early as the 9th century) with the King Sigismund Chapel (1519-1533) as well as crypts and tombs of Polish kings; the royal castle built in the early Middle Ages and remodelled in Renaissance style (1502-1536).
In the city centre: the old network of streets unchanged since the city was founded with amarket square and the former site of the ramparts (the only remaining part being the Florianska Gate from ca 1300). In the Main Market Square: the town hall tower built sometime before 1383, the Sukiennice (Cloth Hall), remodelled in Renaissance style, St Adalbert's Church (from the 11th and 12th centuries, remodelled in 1611), St Mary's Church, agreat Gothic basilica (1355 and 1397; some features are even older) with its masterpiece altar (1477-1489) by Wit Stwosz (also known as Vit Stoss). Also more than adozen magnificent churches, the buildings of the Jagiellonian University, as well as numerous tenement houses and palaces. The famous saltmine in Wieliczka (also a UNESCO World Heritage site) is close to Cracow.
ul. Szeroka (the old synagogue, the remuh synagogue and cemetery, the mikvah, the synagogue of wolf popper) - ul. Józefa (the kowea itim tora house of prayer, the high synagogue) - ul. Kupa (the synagogue of isaac) - ul. Warszauera (the kupa synagogue) - Plac Nowy (the ritual slaughterhouse for poultry) - ul. Meiselsa - ul. Miodowa (the tempel synagogue, the cemetery).
Cracow has, without doubt, the most magnificent collection of monuments of Jewish heritage in Poland. However, it is not just the past which makes this city so special. Cracow today is also avibrant centre of Jewish tradition and culture.
Jewish settlement began here sometime before 1304. It is assumed that Jews lived here as early as the time of the journey of the trader Ibrahim ibn Jacob (circa 965). The first Jewish institutions in Cracow had their seats in the vicinity of what is now ul. Sw. Anny, known then as ul. Zydowska (Jewish Street). Here you could find asynagogue, amikvah, ahospital and awedding house. But the medieval Jewish district was much greater in size. It spread from ul. Szewska to ul. Wislna. In 1335 Kazimierz Wielki (King Casimir the Great) founded aseparate town called Kazimierz on the site of the former village of Bawol. It soon became adynamic centre of Jewish community life. The first well known Jewish historical figure was Lewko, the governor of the royal mint and the leaseholder of the Wieliczka and Bochnia saltmines. In 1407 apogrom took place here, based on allegiations of ritual murder. In 1495, King John Olbracht banished all the Jews from Cracow and limited the area where they could live to the district of Kazimierz, the reason being the unresolved case of the fire at the church of St Ann.
The Kazimierz Jewish community was growing fast and in the 16th century it became the largest Jewish conglomeration in Europe. In 1608 the size of the district was tripled, after the so-called oppidum judaeorum had been established on the basis of the privilegia de non tolerandis Christianis from 1566. The Jewish town was enclosed by the following streets: ul. Miodowa, ul. Dajwor, ul. Sw. Wawrzynca, ul. Waska and Plac Nowy. Kazimierz soon gained fame as agreat centre of intellect. Its yeshivah, which opened in 1509, was renowned far and wide. It was headed by rabbi Moses Isserles, also known as Remuh, adistinguished philosopher and humanist. In the 16th century agroup of Sephardi Jews expelled from Spain came to Cracow. Among them was Samuel Kalahora, later physician to King Stefan Batory.
The collapse of Kazimierz began at the time of the Swedish invasion (1655-1657) preceded by outbreaks of pestilence (1651-1652). The status of aseparate town was maintained until 1800, when Kazimierz became part of Cracow. The period of the Republic of Cracow as well as equality of rights under Austrian rule in 1867 meant that Jews had more and more freedom and were now able to settle in the city wherever they chose. The area around ul. Stradom and the town centre was their favoured location. This resulted in Kazimierz being left en masse by wealthier Jews. In the 19th century, Cracow rose to become asignificant centre of Jewish society in all its manifestations: Orthodox, Chasidic and Reform and by 1939 the city was home to nearly 60,000 Jews.
During the Second World War, the Germans imprisoned the Jews of Cracow in the ghetto in the Podgórze district (some remains of the wall can still be found in ul. Lwowska and ul. Limanowskiego), and in December 1942 they established aconcentration camp in Płaszów. It was on land formerly occupied by Jewish cemeteries, which now became aplace of extermination. In the middle of 1944, those Jews still alive were transported to Auschwitz.
The details of the extermination of Cracow Jews are known through the accounts of Tadeusz Pankiewicz, the only Pole who was allowed by the Germans to run apharmacy. Now on this spot, situated in the former Plac Zgody, there is the National Remembrance Museum called the Pharmacy Under the Sign of the Eagle, pl. Bohaterow Getta 18, phone: +12 6565625. Open: Monday-Friday 10am-4pm, Saturdays 10am-2pm.
After the war, efforts were made to revive Jewish institutions in Cracow. Asynagogue with its own cantor held regular services and pilgrimages to the grave of Moses Isserles were organised. However, the deserted district of Kazimierz fell into decay. Some of the historic houses in ul. Kupa, ul. Estery and ul. Jozefa were pulled down and replaced by buildings lacking in style and totally out of character. Interest in Jewish Kazimierz grew after the political changes of 1989.
The seven large synagogues of Kazimierz constitute the biggest such complex in Europe, comparable only with the Jewish monuments in Prague.
The Old Synagogue
Begin your visit from ul. Szeroka. It is not so much astreet as an elongated square, bearing clear traces of amedieval marketplace. On its southern side you will find the Old Synagogue. Built in the 15th century (exact date unknown), it is the oldest Jewish house of prayer in Poland. According to Jewish legend, the synagogue was founded by King Casimir the Great, for whom prayers were said until 1939. Yet historians maintain that it dates from the time of King John Olbracht. Initially Gothic, the synagogue was later rebuilt in Renaissance style. Its original form was modelled on the architecture of the synagogues in Worms, Prague and Ratisbon (now Regensburg). The reconstruction works undertaken in 1570, were based on plans by the Italian architect, Matteo Gucci. Apart from its religious function it was also the seat of the kahal, the court and the place where royal edicts were proclaimed. It was here, on 25 March 1785, that Tadeusz Kosciuszko appealed to the Jews to take part in the insurrection against the Russian Tsar. The synagogue functioned until 1939 and during the war it was severely damaged by the Germans. Conservation work started in 1956 and lasted until 1959. From 1970 to 1972, the area around it was transformed; the wall surrounding it to the north and the west was demolished and its now characteristic broad terrace steps were built.
The Old Synagogue, photo: A.Olej&K. Kobus:
Few of the pre-war features of the synagogue remain. The bimah (modelled on the one from 1570), the platform with steps in front of the aron ha-kodesh, the ner tamid (ever-lasting light) on the left of the aron-ha kodesh, the "source of living water" (the well in the vestibule), and the iron door, are all replicas. Even the walls have been rebuilt, as it was necessary to replace damp bricks with new ones. Only some of the features made of stone are genuine: the Mannerist style framework of the aron ha-kodesh (from the 17th century), portals, collection boxes and the remains of paintings (such as the traces of the twigs in the men's prayer hall, dating from the 17th century).
The exhibition displayed here is divided into four sections: synagogue furnishings, Jewish festivals and rituals, Kazimierz, and the Holocaust. The exhibition contains aconsiderable number of paintings by artists such as: Gottlieb, Mehoffer, Popiel, Potrzebowski and Stern. There are also many items related to religious ceremonies, such as candle holders, Chanukah lamps, menorot, covers for the Torah scrolls, parochot, tallitim, and kipot. The museum also has acollection of books, containing 2,500 volumes of Hebrew manuscripts and old prints.
Ul. Szeroka 24, phone +12 4220962. Open: Wed and Thu 9am-3pm; Fri 10am-3pm; Sat and Sun 9am-3pm (with the exception of the first weekend of the month); Mon and Tue 10am-3pm, but only after the first weekend of the month.
The Remuh Synagogue and Cemetery
The most interesting of all Cracow's synagogues is in the western row of houses in ul. Szeroka. Izrael (Isserl) son of Joseph, a royal banker, founded it in 1556 for his son, the great rabbi and scholar Moses Isserles also known as Remuh.
The memory of Moses Isserles also known as Remuh lives on. His grave in Cracow is covered with lots of notes containing requests from pilgrims, who often come from far and wide. Remuh was a Cracow rabbi and also rector of the local yeshivah. Apart from his religious duties he was also a keen astronomer, geometrician, philosopher and historian. His popularity was secured by his commentary entitled Ha-mapa (Tablecloth), to the Shulchan Aruch (the code for everyday life). To this day every religious Ashkenazi Jew lives according to these rules.
The layout was most probably designed by Stanislaw Baranek, abuilder from Kazimierz. Rebuilt several times (in the 17th and 18th centuries as well as in 1829 and 1882) it was restored in 1933. Re-opened in 1945, it functions to this day.
The Remuh Synagogue , photo: A.Olej&K. Kobus:
The synagogue's interior features include the original aron ha-kodesh (built sometime after 1557) as well as the steps, pulpit and eternal light, all of which are were added after the war. Also the foundation plaque has remained, as well as another one commemorating the place where Moses Isserles used to sit (next to the aron ha-kodesh). The stone collection boxes from the second half of the 16th century, the vessel used for etrog, and the candelabra (both hanging and free-standing) are all original. The commemorative plaques on the courtyard walls, however, were moved here from other sites in Cracow after the war. The building adjacent to the synagogue and visible from the courtyard is the caretaker's house (late 18th century).
The cemetery next door to the Remuh synagogue is one of the most important Jewish monuments in Poland. Established in 1533, it was one of the main Kazimierz necropolises until it was closed by the Austrians in 1799. Plans were then drawn up to build astreet running through the cemetery but they were never implemented and, with the passing of time, the decaying cemetery was left to its own fate. Neglected and full of litter, it was not refurbished until 1959-1960. During the reconstruction works, several archaeological finds were made. It was discovered that the cemetery contained several layers of graves below the surface. The differences in the elevation of the cemetery are quite striking. Its south-eastern part, for instance, is four and ahalf metres higher than the rest. According to unconfirmed sources this is because that part is situated on top of aheap of the remains of old matzevot.
The cemetery is unique in Poland both in terms of the number of monuments as well as their historical and artistic value. Two types of gravestone can be seen here. First, there are those which are partly trapezoid in shape, with sloping ends and sides, and reminiscent of asarcophagus, although in some cases they are more similar to ahalf-cylinder placed in ahorizontal position. (Several of these can be found in the row adjacent to the corner of the Remuh synagogue). Second, there are also graves in the form of free-standing headstones. Among those buried here are the most eminent figures of the Cracow community from the period between the middle of the 16th century and the end of the 19th century. The grave of Moses Isserles Remuh, who died in 1572 on the festival of Lag B'Omer, is to be found at the back of the synagogue on astone dais. It is surrounded by iron railings. The tomb on the left is that of Izrael (d. 1568), Remuh's father and founder of the synagogue. The grave at the right end of the second row behind the tomb of Isserles, with arepresentation of the serpent of Aesculapius, is the resting place of Eliezer Ashkenazi (d. 1585), who was rabbi of Cairo, Cyprus (Famagusta) and Poznan. By the wall separating the cemetery from ul. Jakuba are the tombs of Joel Sirkes also known as Bach (d. 1640), head of the Talmudic School of Cracow and rabbi in Belz, Szydlow and Cracow; Samuel bar Meshulam (d. 1552), physician to the Queen Bona and the last two kings of the Jagiellonian dynasty; Gershon Saul Yomtov Lipman Heller (d. 1654), rector of the yeshivah; and Natan Nata Spira, rabbi of Vienna and Prague and arenowned caballist (d. 1633).
The Remuh Synagogue , photo: A.Olej&K. Kobus:
The Remuh synagogue and cemetery, ul. Szeroka 46. Open: Mon-Thu 9am-2pm, Fri until sunset. Regular services are held in the synagogue at traditional hours.
Directly opposite the Remuh synagogue, you will find the restaurant and hotel centre of Kazimierz. The first building on the left, now Klezmer-Hois, at the point where ul. Miodowa and ul. Starowislna cross, is the former mikvah, which existed here in the basement as early as 1567. Its present form is the result of a complete remodelling of the building at the beginning of the 19th century. This ritual bath functioned until the Second World War.
The Ariel restaurant, in turn, occupies the inter-war house erected on the site of an 18th century building. It was once the home of the Levitans, a family of famous Cracow rabbis and opponents of Chasidism.
on the internet
The texts presented here were originally published in the guide Where the Tailor Was a Poet...
, by Adam Dylewski (Pascal).
The Synagogue of Wolf Popper (Stork)
To the right of the mikvah there is afence concealing acourtyard, deep into which you will find the synagogue of Wolf Popper, also known as Stork. He was a 17th-century financial magnate and five years before his death, in 1620, he founded ahouse of prayer, the most richly endowed of all the Cracow synagogues. Its costly upkeep impoverished the founders' heirs to such an extent that eventually the synagogue was taken over by the Kazimierz Jewish community. In 1827, the building underwent repairs and this is when the entrance hall was most probably added. The synagogue's historical furnishings were totally destroyed during the Second World War and the only item which survived, the wooden door of the aron ha-kodesh, was then moved to Jerusalem. The building was refurbished in 1964. Its wooden porches were removed, the recess for the aron ha-kodesh was bricked up and the entrance from ul. Dajwór was turned into awindow. In this way the synagogues's interior lost its sacral character and avisit here is now more symbolic than illuminating.
The Synagogue of Popper, photo: A.Olej&K. Kobus:
Ul. Szeroka 16, phone +12 4212987. The atelier housed here is open Mon-Fri 9am-2pm and 4pm-6pm and during the summer in July only, Mon-Fri 10am-2pm.
The Kovea Itim l'Torah House of Prayer
After avisit to the Stork synagogue and perhaps abite to eat at one of the local Jewish restaurants, walk towards the passage to the right of the Old Synagogue which will lead you to ul. Józefa. Here, at No 42, you will find abuilding (from 1810) which once was the Kovea Itim l'Torah (Society for the Study of the Torah) house of prayer.
The High Synagogue
This synagogue was built from 1557 to 1563. It occupied the first floor only, its ground floor being used for the purposes of trade. With the passing of time, it became one with the building next door (ul. Jozefa 40) and the two houses had one common entrance. Despite many attempts to renovate it, in 1935 the synagogue was in a sorry state; most of all this applied to its late Renaissance paintings. The gallery for women was situated in the second building and was added in 1939. During the Second World War all of the synagogue's furnishings and decorations were destroyed or stolen. The huge menorah ended up in the office of the Nazi governor Hans Frank, who resided in Wawel castle. The synagogue building was finally renovated in the period from 1969 to 1971, its interior being converted into aworkshop for the conservation of historical monuments. Astaircase was added as well as new entrances.
Ul. Józefa 38. The building is closed to visitors.
The Synagogue of Isaac (or the synagogue of Ajzyk Jakubowicz) was erected from 1638 to 1644.
The Synagogue of Isaac, photo: A.Olej&K. Kobus:
Its founder, whose grave can still be seen in the Remuh cemetery, was an elder of the Cracow Jewish community and awell known banker also referred to as Jacob the Rich.
The Treasure in Your Own Home
The founder of the synagogue is the hero of awell-known legend deriving from the Tales of 1001 Nights. Ayzik Jakubowicz, apious but poor Jew, dreamed that there was treasure hidden under the old bridge in Prague. Without delay, he made his way there. On arrival, it turned out the bridge was guarded by asquad of soldiers and that digging was out of the question. Ayzik told the officer about his dream, promising him half of the booty. The officer retorted, "Only fools like Polish Jews can possibly believe in dreams. For several nights now Ihave been dreaming that in the Jewish town of Kazimierz there is hidden treasure in the oven of the home of the poor Jew Ayzik Jakubowicz. Do you think Iam so stupid as to go all the way to Cracow and look for the house of this Isaac the son of Jacob?". Ayzik returned home immediately, took the oven apart, found the treasure and became rich. After this it was said: "There are some things which you can look for the world over, only to find them in your own home. Before you realise this, however, you very often have to go on along journey and search far and wide."
The plans of this early Baroque building were probably drawn by the local architect Jan Leitner, although the name of Giovanni Trevano also crops up. The building was considered to be over-imposing, which resulted in opposition from the diocesan chancery leading to atemporary break in construction. Like all other synagogues built with financial support of wealthy founders, the synagogue was renowned for rich furnishings, and in particular its silverware. Its lengthy peaceful existence, including several renovations and remodellings (in 1857 and 1924, to mention but two) was brought to an end by the outbreak of the Second World War. On 5 December 1939, the Germans ordered Maximilian Redlich, aJewish community official, to burn the scrolls of the Torah. He refused and was shot dead. The Nazis destroyed all the furnishings, including the wooden frame of the aron ha-kodesh. In 1945 the building was made safe and allocated first to asculpture and conservation atelier and then to atheatre company as a workshop and storage for props. In 1981 afire broke out and and the interior was damaged. In 1983 yet another renovation was undertaken and in 1989 the synagogue was returned to the Jewish community.
At present anew project called "The Synagogue of Isaac" is beeing worked on, with the purpose of reconstructing the bimah and the steps leading to the aron ha-kodesh. Here you can see the exhibition entitled "In Memory of Polish Jews". It contains photograms of frames from unique documentary films found at the Documentary and Feature Film Studio in Warsaw. You can also see two films: Cracow Kazimierz (1936) by Julian Brian, an American documentary filmmaker, and the German documentary Moving to the Ghetto in Cracow (1941). Prayers are also said here on certain occasions.
Ul. Kupa 18, phone +12 4305577, e-mail: email@example.com. Open daily 9am-pm, except Saturdays and Jewish holidays. Entrance fee: 7 zl.
The Kupa Synagogue
The synagogue was built in the 1740s, thanks to adonation made by the goldsmiths of Kazimierz. The word kupa means acontribution made by the members of akahal. From the beginning of its existence the synagogue was linked with aJewish hospital and poorhouse, thus resulting in two alternative names: the Hospital Synagogue and the Synagogue of the Poor. Its present form is the result of reconstruction works between 1830 and 1834, although other modifications were also introduced later (the western wing was added in 1861). The interior furnishings were destroyed during the Second World War, but this did not prevent the synagogue from re-opening in 1945. It was, however, closed soon after and allocated to a co-operative for the disabled, which used it as astorehouse until 1991.
The Kupa Synagogue, photo: A.Olej&K. Kobus:
The paintings in the prayer room for men depict the Wailing Wall and the Jaffa Gate (eastern wall), aview of Tiberias and the Mamre Oak Wood (southern wall), the panorama of Hebron and Haifa (western wall) and the panorama of Jerusalem and also of the Flood (northern wall). The foundations of the bimah also remain.
The street, today called ul. Warszauera, was once named ul. Ubogich (Street of the Poor) as it was inhabited by impoverished craftsmen only. The name of the steet was changed in honour of a local physician, Jonatan Warszauer, who had made agreat contribution to free healthcare for those in need.
Ul. Warszauera 8. The renovation of the synagogue was completed at the beginning of 2002. It will probably be open to visitors during the Festival of Jewish Culture.
The Ritual Slaughterhouse for Poultry
In Plac Nowy, take alook at the building in the centre. It is acircular pavilion built in 1900 for the purposes of trade. In 1927 the board of the Jewish community leased it out and converted it into a ritual slaughterhouse for poultry. This function ceased during the Second World War.
Jewish religious laws are very strict about the slaughter of animals. It is performed by a shochet(ritual butcher) and a bodek (assistant). The animals must be kosher and the knife perfectly smooth and sharp. The throat is slit using no more than three cuts. The meat is then inspected by the assistant. If there are signs of sickness he declares it to be trayf (contaminated). The object is to drain out the blood, which Jews are forbidden to consume.
There are two houses of prayer here: B’nei Emuna (Children of Faith) from 1886 at ul. Meiselsa 17, now the headquarters of the Jewish Cultural Centre of the Judaica Foundation, and Chevra Tehilim (the Psalm Brotherhood) from 1896 at ul. Meiselsa 18, now used by the Krakus Song and Dance Ensemble.
The Tempel Synagogue
The most recent of the Jewish synagogues of Kazimierz is the so-called progressive synagogue built in 1860 thanks to the efforts of the Society for Religion and Civilisation and extended in later years (1868, 1883, 1893, 1924). Ozjasz Thon, the famous Zionist activist (d. 1936) was apreacher here before the war.
Teh synagogue Tempel, photo: A.Olej&K. Kobus:
The original exterior as well as wall paintings from 1904 and the stained-glass windows (ca 1890 and 1909, the only ones of their kind in Poland) are still there. The Neo-Renaissance aron ha-kodesh, the memorial plaques, the candlesticks and even the fence remain as well. The synagogue is open daily, although since the death of its last cantor Abraham Lesman in 1985, services rarely take place.
Synagoga Tempel, photo: A.Olej&K. Kobus:
Ul. Miodowa 24. Open daily 10am-3pm, entrance fee: 5 zl. It is also open during services and concerts.
The Jewish Cemetery in ul. Miodowa
Opened on the orders of the Austrian authorities, when Poland was partitioned and Cracow belonged to the Austro-Hungarian Empire, this new cemetery replaced the old one. The Nazis used some of the gravestones as construction material. It was restored by the American Joint Distribution Committee sometime after 1957. Several thousand gravestones are still there today. This cemetery is the resting place of such eminent persons as the distinguished Zionist rabbi Ozjasz Thon (d. 1936), a preacher at the Tempel synagogue andmember of the pre-war parliament of the Polish Republic; the composer and conductor of Cracow Philharmonic Jerzy Gert (d. 1968); the painter Maurycy Gottlieb (1856 –1879); and the deputy mayor of Cracow Józef Sare (d. 1929). Every kind of symbol and theme characteristic of Jewish sepulchral art can be found on the tombs situated here.
The Jewish Cemetery in ul. Miodowa, photo: A.Olej&K. Kobus:
Ul. Miodowa 55. Official opening hours: Mon-Thu 10am-3pm (5pm in summer), Fri 10am-2pm; entrance through the hallway of the funeral home. One of the gates is often open outside official opening hours.
Other Monuments of Jewish Culture
Ulica Szeroka, photo: A.Olej&K. Kobus:
There are many more places linked with the Jews of Kazimierz and Cracow.
Houses of prayer: Sheirit B'nei Emuna (The Remaining Children of the Faith) dating from 1914 (ul. Bochenska 4); that of Salomon Deiches, from 1910 (ul. Brzozowa 6); that of the Bobowa Chasidim, from 1871 (ul. Estery 12, on the first floor); that of Mordechaj Tigner, from 1913 (ul. Grodzka 28-30); the Mizrachi (Eastern), circa 1939, next to the Isaac synagogue, now the Ronald S. Lauder Foundation (ul. Kupa 18); the prayer house of the Radom Chasids Society for Prayer and Charity, circa 1900 (ul. Jozefa 22); the House of Learning of the Shir Synagogue Society from 1898 (ul. Kupa 20); Ahavat Re(Love of One's Neighbour) circa 1900, now an Orthodox Christian church (ul. Szpitalna 24); The Micha' Hirsch Cypres Prayer and Charity Association, from 1887 (Sw. Agnieszki 5); Beit Midrash Chasidim (the Chasidic House of Learning), from 1881 (ul. Trynitarska 18 in the courtyard, and ul. Wegierska 5).
Schools: the Hilfstein Hebrew High School, 1917 (ul. Brzozowa 5); the Cheder Ivri School and the Tachkemoni High School, 1929 (ul. Miodowa 26); the Jewish School of Handicrafts, 1938 (ul. Podbrzezie 3); the Jewish Students'; Hall of Residence, 1924, later the Tarbut School (ul. Przemyska 3).
The other remaining buildings are: the Jewish Hospital (ul. Skawinska 8, 1861-1866), remodelled and now part of Collegium Medicum at the Jagiellonian University of Cracow; Offices of the Jewish Community (ul. Skawinska 2, 1909-1911). There are also some remains of the Jewish town walls in Plac Nowy (17th century) between the houses at Plac Bawol; 2 and 3 (1627) and in ul. Dajwor 19 and 21.
The Festival of Jewish Culture
This event takes place every year in the Kazimierz district of Cracow. It is the most significant Jewish culture festival in Poland and in 2002, which marks the twelfth time it has been held, it will be without any doubt one of the most important events of its kind anywhere in the world. The festival represents the triumph of life, the growth of atradition rescued from oblivion and also, as with the reciting of kaddish (the prayer for the departed), it pays homage to the millions of Jews murdered by the Nazis. The final concert on the big stage in ul. Szeroka, with the participation of thousands of revellers, klezmer bands and the FestivalKlezmer Orchestra brought together especially for the occasion, is always an unforgettable experience. Music is the festival's strong point and some of the world's leading artists, representing all kinds of musical trends, have performed and continue to perform here. They include: Itzhak Perlman, Shlomo Mintz, the great cantors Joseph Malowany and Benzion Miller, the groups Brave Old World, White Bird, The Klezmatics, The Klezmer Conservatory band, The Andy Statman Klezmer Orchestra, Shlomo Bar and Habrera Hativeet, Dave Krakauer Klezmer Madness, Jerusalem Jazz Band and many others. The festival is always inaugurated by aconcert of synagogue music in the Tempel synagogue, but it is klezmer music which predominates, particularly the kind played at weddings. Occasionally you will also hear rather specific Chasidic or Sephardic music. Aconcert entitled "Leopold Kozlowski and Friends"; The Most Beautiful Jewish Songs' takes place year after year at the Klezmer-Hois. But the festival is also more than just aweek of events featuring the most outstanding exponents in many different areas of Jewish art and culture, such as film shows (including screenings of Yiddish films made in Poland before the war), theatre and dance, literature and music. There are also classes in decorative paper-cutting, Hebrew calligraphy, dancing, cooking, Hebrew and Yiddish, instrumental music and also various forms of singing, among them cantoral, Chasidic and folk varieties. There are organised trips around old Kazimierz ("In the footprints of Balaban") and the former Cracow ghetto (with avisit to the Pharmacy Under the Sign of the Eagle), as well as the Jewish cemeteries. The events that go to make up the festival usually take place in the following different locations: The Jewish Cultural Centre, ul. Meiselsa 17 (theatre performances, meetings and lectures); Galeria Shalom, ul. Jozefa 16 (vernissages and exhibitions); Hotel Eden, ul. Ciemna 5 (Jewish cooking classes); Graffiti Summer Cinema, ul. Sw. Gertrudy 5 (film shows), Klezmer-Hois, ul. Szeroka 6 (concerts); The R. S. Lauder Foundation Club, ul. Kupa 18 (language classes); the Cracow Song and Dance Troupe Hall, ul. Meiselsa 18 (dance workshops); the Old Synagogue, ul. Szeroka 24 (open-air performances, exhibitions and the awarding of certificates to Poles who have helped to save monuments of Jewish history); the Kuznica Society, ul. Miodowa 41 (meetings), the Popper synagogue, ul. Szeroka 16 (prayer, music workshops, exhibitions); the Tempel synagogue, ul. Miodowa 24 (concerts, prayer); Primary School No 11, ul. Miodowa 36 (art workshops and dancing); the Bagatela theatre, ul. Karmelicka 3 (concerts).
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