The Kazimierz District

Less than a hundred years after the deed of incorporation of Kraków, the same privilege was granted by King Kazimierz Wielki  to the area in the immediate vicinity of the city, hereinafter called (named after its founder) Kazimierz. It took place in 1335. At that time, the area was a river island, located between the current and the old river channel that ran through the area of today's Dietla street. A few years later, Kazimierz covered also the land adjacent to the village Bawół (near the present-day Szeroka Street). Today's Stradom Street, with a Royal Bridge over the old channel of the Vistula River (Wisła), was a suburb between Kraków and Kazimierz.

The central square was outlined in the place of today's Plac Wolnica, where the town hall was built. The town of Kazimierz was surrounded by defensive walls with four gates. Its inhabitants obtained the right to use the rivers surrounding the city and organize a weekly fair on Fridays.

Right at the entrance to the city, the churches of Corpus Christi (Kościół Bożego Ciała) and St. Catherine (Kościół św. Katarzyny) were built. Jan Długosz rebuilt the Church Na Skałce and gave it to the Pauline monks.

The turning point in the history of Kazimierz was the resettlement of the Kraków Jews to the area of today’s Szeroka Street  by the decision of King Jan Olbracht. The cause of all this was the conflict between the Polish and Jewish merchants concerning the right to trade on the Main Market Square. As a result, Kazimierz was divided into two parts: one inhabited by Christians, the other by Jews. Although from the point of view of administration both parts formed one whole and although both groups – the Christians and the Jews – intermingled in many aspects of everyday life, the Christian and the Jewish Kazimierz for years retained their far-reaching cultural difference.

Over the years, the differences between the two adjacent cities of Kraków and Kazimierz blurred and in the late eighteenth century, the Polish Parliament decided to include Kazimierz in the structure of Kraków, as one of the city’s districts.

Tuesday, 17th September 2019
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