Ghetto Heroes Square, Krakow

Ghetto Heroes Square, Krakow

What may appear like an abstract sculptural ensemble at a glance, in reality is a somber reminder of Europe's not so distant past in which millions of innocent people lost their lives. This old market square in Krakow, paved with blocks of grey syenite rock, is a poignant memorial to the victims of the Holocaust.

The sculpted pieces of furniture – mostly chairs – and other urban items, like the waste paper bins, awnings of the tram stops, hand water pump, bicycle parks and the traffic signs stripped of their usual functions, represent the fates of many Jews decided on this and other similar holding areas, called “Umschlagplatz”, throughout occupied Poland during WWII. Here, assembled from ghettos for deportation, they were inspected prior to being sent to the Nazi death camps. A small police box still present on the north side of the square, which the Nazis, infamous for their ruthless meticulousness, used to identify and count the Jews, echoes those days filled with horror.

Evenly arranged across the 13,000 square meters of space, on a virtual grid of about five by five meters, are the chairs – all facing in one direction – resting on the slightly elevated metal platforms which create an illusion of floating over the pavement. This effect becomes even more apparent in winter when the square is clad in snow in stark contrast to the bronze or rust-colored wrought iron of the objects. Their size, slightly bigger than life, also adds a bit of dreamlike air.

Another notable site nearby is the Ghetto Eagle Pharmacy, sitting on the corner. The floor tiles at the far end of the square (diagonally across from the pharmacy) are placed at 90 degrees to the other surface and represent the former ghetto wall.

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Ghetto Heroes Square on Map

Sight Name: Ghetto Heroes Square
Sight Location: Krakow, Poland (See walking tours in Krakow)
Sight Type: Attraction/Landmark
Guide(s) Containing This Sight:

Walking Tours in Krakow, Poland

Create Your Own Walk in Krakow

Create Your Own Walk in Krakow

Creating your own self-guided walk in Krakow is easy and fun. Choose the city attractions that you want to see and a walk route map will be created just for you. You can even set your hotel as the start point of the walk.
Historical Churches Walking Tour

Historical Churches Walking Tour

Krakow, earlier considered “the Northern Rome” is a city of many churches. It is the center of the religious life of the country. New churches continue to appear today, but the most attractive and interesting are the old ones. Some of them have wonderful architecture, others are picturesque or have historical value. Many of them possess relics and old manuscripts. Check out the most acclaimed...  view more

Tour Duration: 1 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.2 Km or 1.4 Miles
Jewish Heritage Tour in Krakow

Jewish Heritage Tour in Krakow

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During the war, the Nazis separated Jews from the rest of Cracovians in a ghetto and attempted...  view more

Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 3.1 Km or 1.9 Miles
Krakow Introduction Walking Tour

Krakow Introduction Walking Tour

A unique entry on the list of the World Heritage Sights, Krakow is a recognized center of the academic, artistic and cultural life of Poland. Established in the 7th century as a tiny hamlet at the top of the Wawel Hill, overlooking the Vistula River, it is one of the country's oldest cities. Over the course of the next fifteen centuries it has evolved into the nation's second-largest...  view more

Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 3.0 Km or 1.9 Miles
Historical House Museums Tour

Historical House Museums Tour

Well-preserved historical buildings can often tell the stories of their city more vividly than any history book can. Krakow, the old capital and culture center of Poland, for many years has been the home of many important Poles. Today their former dwellings have been converted into museums so that visitors can learn about their ex-residents and see what life was like in the past. On this...  view more

Tour Duration: 1 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.0 Km or 1.2 Miles