My Visit To

October 9, 1999: Krakow

Reformed Synagogue
I'm planning to take a train from Warsaw to Krakow this morning – but when I find out how inexpensive it is to fly (it's only about 200 miles), I decide to travel by air instead of by rail. (I try to convince myself that I'm not just being decadent – cutting down on travel time will give me more time to explore Krakow.)

I'm looking forward to seeing Krakow for several reasons. Unlike Warsaw, which was essentially destroyed during the war and then rebuilt to look old, Krakow was largely untouched, so the old parts of the city retain their authentic medieval character. Whereas Warsaw is permeated by a Communist-inspired gray drabness, I'm told that Krakow is more colorful and lively. And Kasimierz, the ancient Jewish quarter of Krakow, is experiencing a slow rebirth, spurred on by a healthy increase in tourism in the aftermath of the movie Schindler's List, which focused on events that occurred in Krakow (and which was largely filmed there).

When I arrive in Krakow, it's cold and damp. (I'm getting used to it.) Weather permitting, my plan is basically to follow the three walking tours of Kasimierz featured in the "Traces of Jewish Presence" section of A Guide to Jewish Cracow from Our Roots. Unfortunately, this volume does not seem to be as well organized as their Warsaw guide, so although I'm going to try to be as careful as possible, I fear that my identification of various sites may be inaccurate, which means that some of the photos may be incorrectly labeled, for which I apologize. (If you notice any errors, please do let me know. Thanks!)

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