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JEWISH Krakow

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Upcoming events


Ride for the Living

This four-day event includes a one-day, 60-mile bike ride from Auschwitz-Birkenau to the Jewish Community Center in Krakow, among a packed program of cultural festivities. There is also a separate program running on the same day as the ride, for non-riding participants. You’ll receive a private guided tour of Auschwitz, unique tours of Krakow, and an invitation to the largest Shabbat dinner in Krakow since World War II. RFTL has welcomed participants as young as 16 and older than 80. It’s a festival that combines sad memories and cultural celebrations for an overall hopeful message about Jewish life in Poland. RFTL was started by Robert Desmond, who cycled 1,350 km from London to Auschwitz, visiting WWII Liberation sites along the way. Once Desmond learned about the Krakow JCC, he realized it was the perfect destination. The revival of Jewish life in Poland should be celebrated, and Desmond created a way to do so while paying tribute to a difficult past. Just 14 riders joined the first official RFTL from Auschwitz to the JCC in 2014, but now there are over 100 riders, and biking communities around the world host events in solidarity with with RFTL.


Krakow Film Festival

Every year since 1961, the city of Kraków has been hosting the Kraków Film Festival, making it one of Europe’s oldest events celebrating independent film. Each year, the festival hosts eight days of documentaries, shorts, and animated films submitted to an international competition for filmmakers and directors. Guests can watch a collection of around 250 Polish and international films as well as attend exhibitions, open-air screenings, concerts, and meet-and-greets with the filmmakers. The Kraków Film Festival is a historic event that celebrates the art of filmmaking with a Polish twist. Krakow’s film festival began in 1961, making it one of the oldest film festivals in the world. It started as a local Polish film festival, showing only films made by Polish filmmakers. In 1964, it expanded to include international films, and in 2001 its name was changed to the Krakow Film Festival. Today, the Krakow Film Festival includes film competitions across four categories - national films, international films, documentary films, and music documentaries (DocFilmMusic). The 900+ attendees can view over 250 films, as well as enjoying concerts, open-air screenings, exhibitions, and meetings with film industry professionals.


Shabbat in Krakow

JCC Krakow organizes kosher Shabbat dinners, which are the central event of each week. Each holiday is celebrated with respect towards traditions, but also manage to intertwine with a contemporary look at heritage. This is why these celebrations are open to everyone, regardless of their attitude towards religion.


Krakow Jewish Culture Festival

The Jewish Cultural Festival in Krakow celebrates Jewish culture and life all around the globe, with a special emphasis on the Jewish community of Poland- it’s past, present and future. After the Holocaust, many Jews returned to Poland to try to rebuild their shattered lives. In 1968, the Soviet-backed Polish People’s Republic once again tried to force the Jews out of Poland. In 1988, as the communist regime began to crumble, Janusz Makuch and Krzysztof Gierat organized the first Jewish Cultural Festival in Krakow to celebrate Jewish revival in Poland and the contribution of Polish Jews to society. Since then, the festival has grown tremendously, and each year 30,000 people travel to Krakow from all over the world to partake in this celebration of Jewish culture. The festival features hundreds of events, including workshops, tours, music concerts, DJ-parties and lectures. Jewish settlement in Poland dates back over a thousand years. During that time, the Jews suffered unimaginable persecution, but they were also very active in Polish affairs. Jews help spearhead Poland’s independence from Russia and many Jews fought for Poland during the wars. After the fall of the USSR, Poland has once again become a center of Jewish life. This exciting festival in Krakow emphasizes Jewish revival in the country.


Krakow Night of Synagogues

Kazimierz was formerly the Jewish quarter of Krakow, but has now transformed itself into a lively, trendy neighborhood filled with indie art galleries, quirky shops and a vibrant nightlife. The area houses seven ancient synagogues: Tempel Synagogue, Kupa Synagogue, Remuh Synagogue, Old Synagogue, Popper's Synagogue, Isaac's Synagogue, and High Synagogue. Each of these synagogues have now all been converted into spectacular museums, and on one special night each year they open their doors to host free events for the public. These events include a range of concerts, DJs, workshops and art displays, all of which encourage locals and tourists alike to explore the unique architecture of the synagogues and experience what the neighborhood has to offer. The Krakow Night of Synagogues is an free event sponsored by the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee and the JCC Krakow. The event is designed to showcase the Jewish history of the area and the surrounding community. The first event was held in 2011 and it now draws thousands of visitors per year. The ancient synagogues of Krakow housed large, active communities of Polish Jews until the Nazi occupation of Poland. Though they have since become museums, this yearly event transforms them back into a vibrant center, filled with visitors hoping to learn more about Krakow’s Jewish past. The event is a great source of pride for the local Jewish community, who love to share their heritage and history. <div id="simple-translate"> <div> <div class="simple-translate-button " style="background-image: url('moz-extension://d7514391-53d6-4fb3-934a-2b17a33c8eee/icons/512.png'); height: 22px; width: 22px; top: 10px; left: 10px;"></div> <div class="simple-translate-panel " style="width: 300px; height: 200px; top: 0px; left: 0px; font-size: 13px; background-color: #ffffff;"> <div class="simple-translate-result-wrapper" style="overflow: hidden;"> <p class="simple-translate-candidate" style="color: #737373;"></p> </div> </div> </div> </div>

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SITES TO SEE

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TOURS OF Krakow

Tours

Traditional Polish Food Tour

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Don’t commit the tourist crime of traveling to a new place without trying the local food. Thanks to the Traditional Polish Food Tour, finding all the must-have meals and traditional treats is easy. Don’t waste your time walking around aimlessly looking for authentic food and risk getting caught in a tourist trap. Save yourself the time of researching all the best Polish cuisine and join a Traditional Polish Food Tour instead. These carefully cultivated tours may focus on food but add a beautiful blend of history, culture, and traditions into their recipes. Enjoy the many flavors of Poland as you make friends with other travelers and hear anecdotes and stories from one of the knowledgeable guides. The tours are kept small to keep the experience personal and intimate - chatting is welcome, as are any questions on Polish food, history, culture, or geography. The Krakow tour explores historically significant Kazimierz and its lively array of Poland’s favorite foods and treats. Along the tour you will not only hear about the food but eat it, too! You’ll sample around 15 different Polish foods, as well as craft beer and vodka. Start the tour on an empty stomach and try and leave room for the end - the dessert is served last! The Traditional Polish Food Tour runs twice a day (either a lunch or dinner option) and takes about 3.5 hours total. There’s a minimum of 1 participant per tour and a maximum of 12. Over the course of the tour you’ll visit 5 or 6 establishments and take in not just the food but the atmosphere and culture. A foodie map, cookbook, and great recommendations are given out by your guide so you can take what you learn about Polish food culture beyond your visit to Poland.

Tours

Kraków Walking Tour – Old Town and Jewish quarter

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Explore Kraków in depth and on foot with this fantastically educational walking tour. In just 4 hours, guests explore the main highlights of the city - as well as a few hidden secrets - as they traverse the Old Town and Jewish Quarter. Kraków Walking Tour delves into the rich history of the city, and has a knowledgeable team of guides to enrich and exciten the journey. Learn odd facts, heroic tales, and heartwarming stories as you explore Poland’s former capital city. Starting in Old Town on Floriańska Street, you’ll stroll along the picturesque Royal Route and end up in Kazimierz, the Jewish Quarter. Stops along the way include the observation deck on Wawell Hill and much of the Podgórze district, including Ghetto Heroes Square and Oskar Schindler’s Enamel Factory. In Kazimierz, you’ll explore the boutique and cafe-laden streets, while learning about its rich Jewish history that spans centuries. Sites in the Jewish Quarter include the New Jewish Cemetery, the Isaac Synagogue, and the Old Synagogue - a nearly 500-year-old institution and one of the oldest representations of Jewish architecture in Poland. A free city map is included in the tour and guests are invited to follow along the map to get a better understanding of Krakow’s physical layout. Tours start daily at 10 AM from the Main Market Square and conclude at Oskar Schindler’s Factory at 1 pm. There is a 30-minute stop for coffee, and the tour moves at a comfortable pace for all ages to join.

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Jewish Style Restaurants

Restaurants

Hamsa

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With the hopes of bringing the rich flavors of Tel Aviv and the Middle East to Kraków, Hamsa Hummus was opened in 2012 by 3 non-Jewish Polish friends who were inspired by Israeli culture and cuisine. Do not let the lack of Israeli or Jewish ownership deter you, the food is authentic and delicious. The vibrant menu pays homage to traditional Israeli cuisine, featuring shakshouka, challah toasts, and typical breakfasts of breads, spreads, salads and cheeses. On the weekends, Hamsa Hummus is known for its phenomenal breakfast buffet where you can indulge on fresh hummus, muhammara, cheeses, granola, veggies and more. For lunch and dinner, you can build your own mezze platter or choose from a selection of super salads or soups that are available a la cart. Hamsa Hummus also cooks a wide range of spiced meats and provides a handful of main vegetarian options, so there’s truly something for everyone on the menu. Make sure to save room for something sweet at the end of your meal. Hamsa Hummus makes traditional malabi, knafeh, and baklava, which are best enjoyed with a cup of hot Bedouin coffee. The bright decor of Hamsa Hummus creates a fun, colorful culinary experience that pays tribute to the traditions of the Middle East. Their commitment to using fresh, seasonal products means every dish is delicately crafted to provide guests with the best experience possible. They kindly cater to a range of diets including vegetarian, vegan, gluten-free and lactose-free, which can be difficult to accommodate for with traditional Polish cuisine. While Hamsa Hummus does not serve local food, it is a local restaurant that provides the community with unique flavors of a different culture, giving both locals and tourists food for thought. &nbsp;

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CITY GUIDES

Guides

Anita

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Anita Stanislawska is a licensed Kraków City Guide and Kraków enthusiast, passionate about sharing her wonderful and magical city with tourists. With Anita, you can explore Poland’s former capital with a broader look of its historical relationship with the rest of Europe. Learn about past kings, popes, cultures, religions, and how they have all shaped the Kraków of present times on one of Anita’s specially curated tours. Anita organizes private guided tours for individuals, small groups, and large groups, such as schools. Aside from traditional tours around historical sites and monuments, you can enlist in a Recreation and Day Spa in Kraków, a day of City Games, or a meeting with World War II survivors - experiences that can enrich your trip and make it all the more memorable. Typical tours include private guided trips within Kraków with a special focus on the Jewish district, Kazimierz, as well as memory tours to Auschwitz and Birkenau, historic tours of the Salt Mine, and nature-based tours to incredible sites like Zakopane, Tatra Mountains, Dunajec River, and the Pieniny Mountains. If you’re interested in learning about another religion that has important ties in Poland’s history, Anita offers Catholic tours, among other options. Tours can be given in English, Russian, German, Italian and an array of other languages, either by the tour guide or with use of a translator. Regardless of your tour needs and desires, Anita is here to help you experience Kraków and Poland and all its historical and cultural treasures.

Guides

Marta

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Marta Chmielowska has been assembling and leading tours around Kraków for over a decade. She’s a fully certified, licensed Kraków City Guide who, along with her partner Czeslaw Chmielowska (a licensed driver), can organize an array of tours and services for your trip to Poland. Whether you need airport and rail assistance, museum tickets, or itinerary suggestions, Marta is here to help. Marta provides tours all across southern Poland, including Kraków, Auschwitz, the Wieliczka Salt Mine, Zakopane, and Czestochawa, but is happy to organize tours for other parts of the country, like Warsaw and Lublin. All tours are given in English and are customizable to your needs and desires, but don’t take Marta’s years of experience for knowledge, she has some wonderfully pre-planned tour itineraries to offer. Marta has a master’s degree in History from the Pedagogic Academy of Kraków, she mastered her English speaking skills while living in the USA for four years, and started guiding tours to share her passion for her country with Poland’s tourists. Working with her husband, Czeslaw, they offer comfortable, minibus-based tours for up to 8 people, all across Poland. Czeslaw is a highly experienced driver and local to the highlands of Zakopane and boasts a vast knowledge of his region and the famous Tatra mountains. Together, this duo makes an incredible team and can provide you with an unforgettable visit to Kraków and the surrounding areas of Poland.

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HOTELS IN Krakow

Hotels

Imperial Hotel

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Located in the heart and soul of Kraków on the corner of Market Square, this hotel proudly lies on a prime slice of realty. However, Hotel Imperial has more to offer guests than its location. This four-story hotel holds 33 fully-furnished rooms, that are available in a variety of sizes and standards. You can opt for single, twin, or double rooms with classic or premium furnishings, or take your holiday up a notch with a deluxe room boasting stunning views of Market Square and exquisite finishing touches. Hotel room amenities include free Wi-Fi, tea and coffee facilities, centrally controlled air-conditioning, and many other comforts. Each morning, you can enjoy a wonderful cup of coffee and a buffet breakfast as you look out over the Market Square from the reception or breakfast room. For lunch or dinner, enjoy delicious traditional and international cuisine at the Imperial Hotel Restaurant. The proximity to Market Square and it’s centralized location in Old Town, means many of Kraków’s famous historic sites are within walking distance. The hotel itself is also laden with a rich history. The building was built in the first half the 14th century by St John Capistrano’s instruction. He was an active member of the Catholic Church and often hosted his sermons next to the building, which were said to impact many in the community. There is a commemorative statue of Saint Capistrano on the first floor of the hotel. The Imperial Hotel was also one of the first to host members of the Turkish royal party in 1494, who brought camels and horses to the city of Kraków for the first time. Another famous resident of the hotel was Master Twardowski, who was considered a famous sorcerer in the 16th century, and many myths and legends surround his presence in the city. The modern day Imperial Hotel, however, appears sorcerer-free and lusciously decorated. It hosts a friendly and knowledgeable team of staff who are truly willing to make your stay as pleasant and personalized as they can, fulfilling the hotel’s goal of providing Kraków’s guests with a place that feels like home.

Hotels

Hotel Wentzl

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Enrich your visit to Kraków with a stay in this historic venue right in the heart of Old Town. The magical Hotel Wentzl was originally constructed at the turn of the 16th century and miraculously survived the great fire of 1550, where most of the surrounding buildings were spared. The hotel was named after the Wentzl family who married into the ownership of the building in the early 19th century and brought a lot of tradition and charisma to the institution. If you’re looking for an authentic stay in the heart of Old Town, Hotel Wentzl cannot be beat. This 4.5-star institution has beautiful rooms overlooking the Main Market Square and is the only hotel at such proximity to the town center. Choose between 11 divinely decorated double rooms or double lux rooms, that can accommodate for up to 4 people. Rooms are spread over 3 floors and there is an elevator for convenience. The hotel offers some wonderful services such as airport pick-up and drop-off, car rental services, and concierge service. Additional facilities include free Wi-Fi access, complimentary bike rental (for strolls around town), and in-room massages at an additional fee, among many other offers. When it comes to dining, the hotel boasts two restaurants and a cafe with a focus on Wentzl classics and traditional Polish food, as well as European cuisine. Enjoy breakfast in the Wentzl restaurant from 7-10.30 AM and return after a day of touring for a delicious warm meal in the cellar restaurant, Da Pietro. There’s truly no better location in this vibrant and lively city than the market square that hosts Hotel Wentzl. Every day you can easily wander out of the hotel and enjoy a new part of the city. Stay for a few days and get to know the lovely staff and market vendors, enhancing your stay in beautiful Kraków all the more.

Hotels

Queen Boutique Hotel

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Located in the heart of Kraków, this stylish boutique hotel is just a hop away from many of the city’s main tourist attractions. This award-winning hotel goes above and beyond to offer guests an incredible stay. From design and decor to friendly, knowledgeable staff and delicious menus, the Queen Boutique Hotel offers a seriously thought-out guest experience. From crisp white sheets on your bed to a stupendous breakfast buffet (bottomless sparkling wine included), the Queen Boutique Hotel is truly dedicated to providing a number of useful services and facilities. Check into this wonderfully-located boutique hotel and enjoy 24-hour front desk service where hotel staff members are happy to assist in organizing transportation, tours, and excursions, and even purchasing concert and event tickets. Upon arrival, you and your party will also receive a welcome snack, and you’ll have access to the bespoke Amaryllis restaurant and bar as well as 24/7 room service. The hotel can also provide takeaway lunches for days when you’re on tour and picnics along the Vistula River. When you’re done with days of trudging around the town, enjoy some time in the freely accessible sauna or relaxation room - other spa treatments are available for purchase. Foodies will love the Amaryllis restaurant, which is open late and hosts a resident sommelier ready to recommend wine from a phenomenally curated selection. There’s a warm fireplace lit in the colder months of the year, creating a cozy and welcoming atmosphere. The balcony boasts a spectacular view over the Wawel Castle gardens and makes for the perfect place to enjoy a nightcap or a glass of champagne at sunset. No matter what your notion of visiting Kraków is, the Queen Boutique Hotel is here to make it better. From excellent guest services to beautifully decorated rooms, treat yourself to a luxurious stay at this top-rated hotel in the heart of Poland’s former capital. Note: If you’ve rented a car, there is a guarded car park less than half a kilometer from the hotel, otherwise, the hotel offers taxi services, airport transfers, and private tours.

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