Jewish Cemetery, Prague
Old Jewish Cemetery was in use from the early 15th century until 1787, but some historic sources says it might be over 1000 years old. The oldest preserved tombstone, the one of Rabbi and poet Avigdor Kara, dates back to 1439. It has been estimated that there are approximately 12,000 tombstones. The most notable personalities buried in the Old Jewish Cemetery are Jehuda ben Belzalel (1609), Mordechai Maisel (1601) and David Gans (1613). According to "Halakha" (Jewish religious law), Jews must not destroy Jewish graves and in particularly it is not allowed to remove the tombstone.
The cemetery is allegedly the secret venue of conspiracy meetings of the Elders of Zion, and the place where "The Protocols of the Elders of Zion" was created. The protocol was supposed to be the Zionistic plan to rule the world or, "New World Order". It was first published in Russia in 1903, but exposed as fraudulent.
The Klausen Synagogue is located by the entrance to the Old Jewish Cemetery. Its name derives from a German word "klaus", meaning small building. Klausen (plural of klaus) was the name of three smaller buildings which Mordechai Maisel had erected in honor of a visit of Emperor Maximilian II to the Prague ghetto in 1573. These smaller buildings burnt down in a Great Fire in 1689, and replaced by present Klausen Synagogue. The Klausen Synagogue was the largest synagogue in the ghetto and the seat of Jewish Burial Society.
Obradni sin (Jewish Ceremonial Hall) was built in 1911-1912 under the design of architect Frantisek Gerstel. The Hall was commissined by the Jewish Burial Society (Hevrah Kaddishah). This pseudo Romanesque styled building was used as a Ceremonial Hall and Mortuary. It functioned as a mortuary for deceased Jewish dignitaries before they were taken to be buried in one of the Jewish cemeteries.
Today it is a part of the Jewish Museum complex of Prague, displaying exhibitions relating to the Jewish history. The museum displays artifacts of Jewish medicine along with ancient death and burial practices. Also, it displays descriptions of how bodies are washed and prepared for burial, and permanent exhibition of Jewish customs and traditions.
The Ceremonial Hall is located in Stareho hrbitova street 3, next to the Klausen Synagogue and Prague's Old Jewish Cemetery.
I have never wanted to visit a jewish cemetary...and can't believe my journey found me this place...but it was such a neat place to walk around for hours. The whole Jewish town was charming...and the cemetary just added to the experience. All the synagogues and everything are a neat way to spend hours here in Prague. I went back 4 different times!
A tour of the Jewish cemetery will lead you to the first synagogue in Prague, pictured below, and give you a history of the Jews during the Holocaust. The cemetery near one of the memorials is very beautiful. It looks unkempt, but it is only a sign of age of the headstones. The grounds of the cemetery and surrounding buidlings are well kept. After you finish the tour, there is a marketplace outside of the cemetery where you can buy Jewish keepsakes.
Jewish tradition is very old in Prague. First jewish people who came here were traders in 1091. After a couple of decades the wall around Jewish houses was built. In 1850 Jewish quarter was renamed and it became the quarter of Josef (by the name of emperor Josef III).
The central building of Jewish quarter is Staronova synagogue. It is the eldest synagogue in the Central Europe and it using like synagogue nowadays too.
Terezin a town outrside prague and the site of an historical fort where once prisoners in trasnit to the Auschwitz camp were housed. The entire town was once a Ghetto created by the occupying Nazis for jewish families whio lived in very poor conditions. The power fo this place can not be understated, especially a visit to the jewish cememtry outside the walls fo the fort where a star of david stands over the cememtry created from railway tracks laid by the priosners and interned families. The trip alsop includes a visit tot he museum which was formerly a school for young boys and exhibits created by Jewish families about their plight. The mortuary and a visit to the crematorium complete this trip and leave the visitor deep in thought aboiut mankinds inhumanity. A sobering experience but one that needs ot be realised to put our current lives into perspective and the necessity to prevent a repetition of such evil doings in the future.
Although it is a MUST SEE when you enter the small cemetery it is like something is stopped in Prague - very quiet , atmoshperic and for me as a jew it was something powerful.
This is less crowded place than the center although it is a very touristic place.
The Jewish Cemetery was a fascinating place to see. It originally dates back to the Renaissance when there existed a Jewish Ghetto. The Jews were not allowed to bury their dead outside of the ghetto so this cemetary became quite packed!
Visit the Jewish cemetery. The tombstones are all piled on top of each other thanks to the nazis. When I visited last, there was an art exhibit done by children who were victims of the Holocaust. Nearly impossible to see it and not cry.
Jewish Cemetery: one of Prague's most interesting places. There is an excellent, small museum attached which had a childrens' art exhibit on display when I visited in 1994...who knows what's there now, but it was definitely worth a visit then.
........if there are hands there, the person was a Cohen. If there's a violin, he was a musician.
Real people, real lives, real sadness.
It's not just a tourist sight.
Visit the old Jewish Cemetery in Prague. With the many old hebrew tombstones strewn about it is quite an eerie place...
Located in the Old Jewish Quarter of the city
Even thought ot might seem odd. I sincerely recommend visiting the oldest Jewish cemetary in europe..quite an experience that makes us think a bit.