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.
Drop by the Jewish Cemetery early in the morning before the tour groups arrive and you'll have the place to yourself. At one time the Jewish population was walled-off from the rest of the city. With such limited space the locals began to bury their dead on top of each other resulting in a twisted-looking overpopulated cemetery.
The Jewish community experienced cramped conditions in life & so in death this is also reflected by many grave stones cluttered together. This cemetery is established in C15 & used up until 1787 by which time it was estimated 100,000 are buried here one on top of the other, 6 palms apart.
There are 12,000 tombstones and the area is roped off to protect these. The more well known people buried here are Rabbi Low & Mordechai Maisel
When we visited the graves were covered in snow, its intersting the angle to snow falls onto the stones.
The Jewish cemetery in the heart of the Josefov area is amazing. With over 100,00 buried here it is hard to imagine how!!! The space is small and because of this the bodies were buried on top of each other.
Visiting in the winter made it even more chilling. Most of the stones cannot be read, as they are so old. The cemetery is the oldest in Europe and dates back hundreds of years.
The famous Old Jewish Cemetary, situated right behind the Pinkas-synagoge, is the most popular and bizarre attraction in Josefov. In a very tiny area probably about 100.000 bodies are buried throughout the ages. Almost 12.000 gravestones are still standing up, made of marble and sandstone.
It's very clear that in the old Josefov the lack of space was a huge problem. At some places up to 12 bodies are buried above each other. In the 15th century the first people were buried here. The oldest stone that still visible was placed here in 1439. The "youngest" stone is out of 1787.
A lot of stones are decorated to indicate the family the people belonged to. Symbol like a cock, a deer or a lion can tell things about the people that lie underneath. Some stones are decorated very obviously and belong to famous Rabbi's Maisel and L?w.
The Jewish cemetery, with lop sided gravestones piled haphazardly everywhere is extremely atmospheric. Established in the 15th century, it was in use for over 300 years by which time over 100,000 bodies had been crammed in here. In life as in death. The Jews in Prague had been confined to a small ghetto throughtout their lives, with many families forced to live in tiny rooms in small houses.
Josefov’s brooding cemetery dates from the 1400s. In a relatively small space, some 100,000 bodies were buried over a period of three centuries. The result is a graveyard elevated several stories above street level. Visitors wander the mish-mash of tombstones, picking out the more common symbols—hands in blessing, a lion, a cluster of grapes, a wine jug—and stopping at the grave of Rabbi Leow and other important leaders of the Prague Jewish community.
Perhaps the most amazing thing about Josefov is that it exists. It was the Nazis’ plan that, once the Jews were eradicated from Europe, Prague would serve as a museum to the "extinct race." Instead, Jewish life pulses here. Israeli tourists wander through the narrow lanes, American youth throng outside the cemetery. With funds from worldwide Jewish organizations, historic landmarks have been restored.
Over the centuries the Jews have been excluded, isolated, persecuted and frequently treated most brutally. Prague is no exception to this history although in the 18th C Emperor Josef II eased the discrimination to an extent I found surprising for the time. A few decades later the walls around one of the biggest ghettos in Europe were torn down and the neighborhood incorporated as a district of Prague.
The old Jewish cemetery in Josefov, the Jewish Quarter, was created in the 15th C when Jews were forbidden to bury their dead outside their own district. Space was scarce and I understand that Jewish religious beliefs prohibited moving bodies once they were buried. As a consequence bodies were buried on top of one another in an estimated 12 layers. Over the centuries, lopsided tombstones formed unruly but poetic groupings. It is said that there are 12,000 gravesites here but some estimate that as many as 100,000 are interred in this small plot. An interesting sidenote: I read that Hitler had this spot preserved from destruction with the plan in mind to build a musem to the Jews whom he planned to eradicate. Macbre and crazy but that was Hitler.
The third photo shows fragments of medieval tombstones from the mid 14th C. Notice the small stones placed here. They represent prayers offered. You can also see some very small bits of paper stuffed into the crevices. I think these are also prayers for the dead and wishes for the living.
Men must have their heads covered to enter the cemetery. I understand most hats and caps are acceptable or you can , as I did, purchase an inexpensive paper yarmulka. I hate to call it a souvenir but it is a reminder of a most moving morning in Prague.
It is the oldest Jewish cemetery in Europe. It was fouded in 1478. The lack of space forced people to burie ther dierest on top of each other. It is amaizing to even imagine how can it be possible to burie over 100.000 people on such a small space.
I know that it sounds a bit morbid, but touring the Jewish Cemetary is one of the things that every tourist to Prague should do. The cemetary contains thousands of tombstones that are almost on top of each other due to the fact that this was the one place in town where Jewish people were allowed to be buried, so it got very crowded as a result. Adjacent to the cemetary is a synagogue with the names of the Jews from Prague who were deported/killed - it is a very moving thing to see.
The Old Jewish Cemetery, or Stary Zidovsky Hrbitov, has been in use since the early fifteenth century. It is the second oldest Jewish cemetery in Europe.
Inside there are 12,000 headstones crammed into a tiny area, and it is estimated that more than 100,000 people have been buried here, in places 12 deep, as the Jews of Prague were not allowed to bury their dead ouside of the Jewish ghetto. The tombs include those of Mordecai Maisel and David Oppenheimer.