The main focus of my visit to Prague lay on the Jewish quarter for this weekend. A weekend is not really long enough for everything, so I like to have a plan. A plan on what to see specifically besides just walking around. A free walking tour usually helps best to discover a new place. But cities I know I like to rediscover quarter by quarter. So after a day of strolling around the old town, I booked the ticket number one for the Jewish quarter. It includes all the main sites and is in combination cheaper (also it’s 10% off when you buy it on Saturday). In any case take your time with the Jewish Quarter, there is a lot to see. So don’t leave early on Sunday but take into account that all major Jewish sites are closed on Saturday.
First off I started with the Pinkas Synagogue which has been turned into a memorial for the 80.000 victims of the Shoa from Bohemia. The walls of the synagogue are full of names. Each name represents a murdered person and it makes for the most bizarre feeling. It looks like a neat pattern in black and white with a bit of red in between. Until I realized that these were all living breathing people. People who have been killed during WWII. All of a sudden it feels depressing.
Especially when you then walk out into the cemetery. An estimated 12k people have found their last resting place here. Because the Jewish community had not more room to bury their dead in the Middle Ages. So oppression of Jewish people was always a big topic in Bohemia. No wonder than that when Joseph II. finally made some reforms and relaxed the restrictions for the Jewish community the actually named the Jewish Quarter after him, Josevov.
Right next to the exit of the cemetery is the Ceremonial Hall which gives on overview of the burial rituals. An excellent addition to the tour through the cemetery. Across the street from it is the Klausen Synagogue. The permanent exhibition here is about Jewish tradition and customs.
Most interesting was the Old New Synagogue which is one of the oldest synagogues in Europe. It still serves today the Jewish community as place of worship. The synagogue is from the 13th century and at that time it was the new one. The name ‘new’ soon outlived itself, hence Old New Synagogue. Yours, Pollybert