Lying at the heart of Jewish Krakow and today the gritty, edgy focus of the city’s subversive underground scene, Plac Nowy in Kazimierz is re-emerging from its Communist-era slump. It is a rather bleak square surrounded by once-handsome townhouses and was incorporated into the Jewish quarter in the late 17th century as its main market place; the landmark Okrąglak (Rotunda) was built around 1900 in the center of the square and it served as a kosher slaughterhouse right up until to the Nazi occupation of Krakow in 1939.
Today, the Plac Nowy is jumping with life once more; the daily food market morphs into a sprawling flea market at the weekends, when a young crowd pours in to snap up antiques, pre-loved clothes, Soviet memorabilia and Jewish ephemera. Butchers still operate in the Rotunda and they run a series of takeaway food hatches through which the Cracovian street food of choice, zapiekanki (baguette-shaped pizzas with a choice of toppings) are sold until the wee hours. Around the square is a burgeoning club-and-bar scene, which also stays open and buzzing until late. The Galicia Jewish Museum and several historic synagogues are close by and can be visited on sign posted walking tours of the district.
Plac Nowy, Kazmierz, Krakow. Admission free, open 24/7. Trams 6, 8, 10 or 13 from the Old Town or a 20-minute walk.