This is the oldest synagogue building still standing in Poland, and until the German invasion of Poland in 1939, it was one of the most important synagogues in the city as well as the main religious, social, and organizational center of the Kraków Jewish community.
It was built in either 1407 or 1492 and rebuilt in 1570. It is a rare, surviving example of a Polish Fortress synagogue.
It was completely devastated and ransacked by the Nazis; its artwork and relics were looted. In 1943, 30 Polish hostages were executed at its wall. Currently it is a museum within the division of the Historical Museum of Kraków, focusing on life among Kraków's Jews.