History

The city of Kazimierz near Krakow, founded by the king Casimir the Great in the 14th century, was an island, located between the arms of the river Vistula, its gates could be approached only through bridges. By the end of the 15th century, Jews started to settle down in Kazimierz, and this is how the Oppidum Judaeorum (Jewish City) emerged, which for centuries to come has been one of the largest centres the Jewish culture in Europe. The largest group of Jewish historical monuments is concentrated in the Szeroka street. This is where the Old Synagogue, built at the turn of the 15th and 16th century is standing. The adjacent Jozefa street, next to Szeroka street, was the main track connecting the Christian and the Jewish Kazimierz. It was named in the honour of the Austrian emperor, Joseph the Second, to commemorate his visit to Kazimierz. The street has preserved its old ambience. Numerous shops with antiquities and old items, galleries as well as cafes and restaurants are nowadays located in the ground floors of the houses. Following the Jozefa street, we reach Kupa street. The street is named after the synagogue standing at its exit, built in the 16th century from the funds of the kahal (community funds = kupa). It was raised as a modest structure and its northern wall leans on the remnants of the medieval wall of Kazimierz until the present day. Along the same street, one can found also the beautiful Isaac synagogue, funded by the wealthy merchant Izaak Jakubowicz.

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