Kraków's Old Town is the historical and central district of Kraków, and is one of the most famous old districts in Poland. The district features the centrally located Rynek Główny (Main Square), which is the largest medieval town square of any European city. There is a number of historic landmarks in its vicinity, such as the St. Mary's Basilica (Kościół Mariacki), the Church of St. Wojciech (St. Adalbert's), and the Church of St. Barbara, as well as other national treasures. At the center of the plaza and surrounded by kamienice (row houses) and noble residences, stands the Renaissance cloth hall Sukiennice.
Kazimierz is the district south of the Old Town and was the center of Jewish life in Kraków for over 500 years before being systematically destroyed during World War II. It was rediscovered in the 1990s thanks to the fall of the regime and worldwide exposure gained from the lens of Steven Spielberg. This has caused Kazimierz to rebound, and it is today Kraków’s most exciting district. It is a bustling, bohemian neighborhood packed with historical sites, atmospheric cafes, and art galleries. As a result, the district has become a major tourist draw and pilgrimage site for Jews, which has led to the return of contemporary Jewish culture in the area.
Podgórze was the site of the city’s greatest human tragedy. The Nazis saw its natural placement between the river and the cliffs of Krzemionki as the ideal place for establishing a prison district, and in March of 1941, Kraków’s Jewish population was marched into the center of Podgórze and walled off in what became known as the Kraków Ghetto. Liquidated two years later, the majority of the Ghetto’s residents were murdered inside, while others met death in the nearby Płaszów concentration camp or in the gas chambers of Auschwitz and Bełżec.