Kazimierz is a historical district of Kraków (Poland), best known for being home to a Jewish community from the 14th century until the Second World War. The district of Kazimierz in Krakow is defined by the old shores of an island in the Vistula river. The northern branch of the river (Stara Wisła - Old Vistula) was filled in at the end of the 19th century, connecting Kazimierz with Krakow proper. Three early medieval settlements are known to have existed on the island. The most important of these was the pre-Christian Slavic shrine at Skałka (“the rock”) at the western, upstream tip of the island. This site, with its sacred pool, was later Christianised as the Church of St. Michael the Archangel in the 11th century and was the legendary site of the martyrdom of St. Stanisław. There was a nearby noble manor complex to the southeast and an important cattle-market town of Bawół, possibly based on an old tribal Slavic gród, at the edges of the habitable land near the swamps that composed the eastern, downstream end of the island. There was also a much smaller island upstream of Kazimierz known as the “Tartar Island” after the Tartar cemetery there.
This smaller island has since washed away. On 27 March 1335, King Casimir III of Poland ( Kazimierz in Polish) declared the two western settlements to be a new city named "Casimiria" (later “Kazimierz”) after him. Shortly thereafter, in 1340, Bawół was also added, making the new city’s boundaries the same as the island. King Casimir gave his city streets in accordance with Magdeburg law and, in 1362, defensive walls. His settled the newly-built central section primarily with burghers, with a plot set aside for the Augustinian order next to Skałka. He also began work on a campus for the Cracow Academy he founded in 1364, but Casimir died in 1370 and the campus was never completed. Perhaps the most important feature of medieval Kazimierz was the Pons Regalis, the only major, permanent bridge across the Vistula for several centuries. This bridge connected Krakow via Kazimierz to the Wieliczka Salt Mine and the lucrative Hungarian trade route.
The last bridge at this location (at the end of modern Stradom Street) was dismantled in 1880 when the filling in of the Old Vistula river bed made it obsolete. Jews had played an important role in the Kraków region economy since the end thirteenth century. The Jewish community in Kraków had lived undisturbed alongside their Christian neighbours under the protective King Kazimierz III.
In 1993, Steven Spielberg shot his film Schindler's List largely in Kazimierz (in spite of the fact that very little of the action historically took place there) and this drew international attention to Kazimierz. Since 1993, there have been parallel developments in the restoration of important historic sites in Kazimierz and a booming growth in Jewish-themed restaurants, bars, bookstores and souvenir shops. Not only that, there are also Jews returning to Kazimierz from Israel and America.
Inside of Kazimierz you can also find: Remuh Cemetery ,