....if one is needed, of what European Jewish ghettoes were about.
The first recorded pogrom here took place in 1096, and Jews were first sent to the area known as Josefov during the twelfth century. Later, the ghetto was walled off. Centuries passed, and more pogroms occurred, but the late 19th century Jews who could afford to were able to move out. In their place came gypsies, the poor, prostitutes and so on, although some Jewish families remained.
In use from the fifteenth century until 1787, around 100 000 are buried there because that was how it had to be; Jews were buried within the ghetto. Soil was brought in so that they could be properly buried; that's why the cemetery appears to have a hill in the middle. The graves are up to twelve layers deep.
It makes a strong impact, this overcrowded space. Look at the gravestones.........these were beloved people, the designs on some gravestones telling of names or occupations. Their overcrowding in death ironically reflects their overcrowding in life.
Some graves have stones placed on them for remembrance, one or two (Rabbi Low, Mordechai Maisel) are larger and clearly mark the place of an important man.
But all were human beings, and it behoves us to remember that.
The cemetery is accessed via the Pinkasova synagogue. A ticket (which covers all buildings in what is known as the 'Jewish Museum' apart from the Old/New Synagogue) costs 300Kc.
The Old Jewish Cemetery is quite an interesting place with its mish-mash of grave stones the result of continued digging and burying in the same site. Some areas are said to be over 10 layers deep.
Entrance is via the Pinkas synagogue or for a free look head around the corner to listopadu street where there is a door with a grating you can see through which is big enough to take photos too.
The Jewish Cemetery is the oldest in Europe in use from 1439 to 1787. During this period, the Jewish residents of the ghetto had only this cemetery and there are believed to be up to 200000 buried there. Because of the limited space, the graves are layered up to 12 deep and gravestones are bunched tightly together at ground level. Two of the most famous tombs are for Mordechai Maisel and Rabbi Loew.
Items of importance --------
1 - while walking through this holy place, the head should be covered. Anything including a baseball hat will do and paper skullcaps are provided for those without. These can be bought for a few crowns.
2 - photography is allowed here.
3 - on the back of the paper handout received when buying your ticket is a map of the cemetery with numbers depicting the most famous tombstones, including the first (poet Avigdor Kara and the last (Moses Beck).
One tip on VT suggests saving the few hundred florints for admission and just shooting pictures through the open fence. I disagree - this is one of the most spiritual places I have ever visited. This ground is permeated with history and faith and imparts special feelings of respect and awe.
My images and legends travelogue contains additional images, as well as legends of the Jewish community and further more detailed discussions of this most special place.
Walking along the path of the cemetery is easy to find pebbles and tickets of prayers supported on the graves. Among the most interesting graves there are the ones of the sixteenth century and those of Hendela Bassevi and of the rabbi Low.
One of the places of great suggestion and interest in the Jewish district are the old Jewish cemetery. It was built in the begin of the fifteenth century and it is still the most ancient Jewish cemetery existing in whole Europe, even if it was closed in 1787. To its inside you can see 12000 headstones the one against the others, but under them there were around 100000 burials systematized to layers. The most important graves are served as two marmoreal plates overhung by a kind of roof.
This was the only place Jews could be buried in Prague from 1439-1787. There are about 12000 tombstones here piled on top of each other due to the belief that once the body is buried, it should not be moved.
This cemetary was unbelievable and for me, one of the most interesting parts of the visit. This was the only place Jews could be buried for about 300 years, so people are buried up to 12 deep, with the tombstones just being placed one after the other. It was founded in 1479, and the last burial was 1787. I have never seen anything like this.
For a truly heart wretching experience, go through into the exhibit showing artwork drawn by the Jewish children during their time at Thierenstadt.
The Jewish Cemetery of Prague is a calm place worthwhile exploring. Before entering the Graveyard, you go through a number of memorial rooms where the names of the jewish citizens of Prague who where murdered in World War 2 are inscribed on the walls: A very touching experience. When you enter the real graveyard, gravestones with hebrew inscriptions are all over the places, sometimes moss-covered or with withering hebrew letters, some several hundred years old: A testimony of how long the Jewish community lived in Prague and contributed to this city.
It was established in the first half or the 15th century. Along with the Old-New Synagogue it is one of the most important surviving monuments in Prague´s Jewish Town. Burials took place in the cemetery until 1787. Today the cemetery contains almost 12.000 tombstones, although the number of persons buried there is much greater. It was enlarged a number of times in the past. The oldeste tombstone, which marks the grave of the poet and scholar Avigdor Kara, dates from the year 1439.
Fue fundado en la primera mitad del siglo cv. Junto con la Sinagoga Viejo-Nueva es uno de los monumentos más importantes que se conservan en la Ciudad Judía de Praga. No se hacen mas enterramientos allí desde 1787. Actualmente cuenta con 12.000 estelas funerarias aunque el numero de personas enterradas allí es mucho mayor. La tumba más antigua data de 1439 y pertenece al estudioso y poeta Avigdor Kara.
Over 550 years the remains of some 100.000 people have been bundled into 12 layers of graves in the Old Jewish Commentary. The earliest grave is of the poet Avigdor Kara (1389). It is a strange and haunting place, evoking both the forlorn dignity and astonishing resilience of the Jewish community.
Just before entering the Cemetery you can see a “little chapel” which has the names of the Czech Jews who died during the Second World War written on the walls.
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