Thursday 17 May 2007

Krakow pictures - 1

Krakow wasn't bombed during the war, and the old city is still pretty well intact, unlike Warsaw, for instance. Over the centuries, Poland was invaded repeatedly by other countries. In the early 20th century, there was complete religious freedom and tolerance, which is why such a large Jewish community grew up, to be devastated by the invasion by Germany under Hitler.

The city was built on the bank of the Vistula, or Wisla River. The old city was all one one side of the river. This is the view from outside Wawel castle.

The cathedral is right next to the castle entrance.

The courtyard is built in the Italian Renaissance style.

We visited the Jewish quarter. These pictures were taken in the main square.

I didn't see any litter at all, but the roads were frequently swept by men with besoms.

There used to be many synagogues, all close together, each catering for a different branch of Judaism. The first two pictures are of former synagogues, the third is the sole remaining one.

You cannot help but be aware of the history of this place.

Some buildings still await renovation. It seems odd to me that all the windows open inside.

This is the oldest building in the area.

After this, we walked around the Old City, including the main square.


Chairwoman of the bored said...

Thank you for the photos.

My grandparents weren't from the Kracow region, they came from a small town called Przuchla, which is equadistant between Warsaw and Lodz.

I had a strange experience concerning my Polish family recently, I 'Googled' Przuchla, Treblinka and my grandfather's surname, and came up with the Yad Vashem (in Jerusalem) website, which gave the all their names, and the date of their execution in the camp. The weird thing was finding my mother's Polish name on the list, obviously a cousin, but it made me feel very strange indeed.

When I finally get out of this chair and regain some useful mobility, I am determined to go to Poland and see the town they came from, and Warsaw, where my grandmother lived for a while with relatives. She always talked of seeing Anna Pavlova dance their, and going to political meetings. It must have been a far cry from the small town.

Chairwoman of the bored said...

'dance their,'

dance there. Is this the start of senility?

Z said...

Shocking, isn't it. I think we all do it though.

It does give one quite an odd feeling to read about your relations on the internet in any case, but these circumstances must make it hard to deal with. Yes, you should go there.

When you are up and walking again, we'll all drink champagne to toast you.