Jewish Cemetery, Prague

4 out of 5 stars 4 Stars - 77 Reviews

Stary zidovsky hrbitov, Josefov. +420-224 819 456

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  • I guess some would call this an orb ;o)
    I guess some would call this an orb ;o)
    by Jefie
  • Prague's Old Jewish Cemetery
    Prague's Old Jewish Cemetery
    by Jefie
  • Some of the cemetery's old tombstones
    Some of the cemetery's old tombstones
    by Jefie
  • mallyak's Profile Photo

    Old Jewish Cemetery (Prague)

    by mallyak Written Sep 6, 2010

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    The Old Jewish Cemetery lies in the Josefov, the Jewish Quarter of Prague in the Czech Republic. It was in use from the early 15th century (the oldest preserved tombstone, the one of Avigdor Kara, dates back to 1439) until 1787. Its ancestor was a cemetery called "The Jewish Garden", which was found in archaeological excavations under the Vladislavova street, New Town.

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  • Rachael71's Profile Photo

    Jewish Cemetery and Museums

    by Rachael71 Updated Jun 5, 2004

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    Jewish Cemetery

    I have never seen anything quite like the Jewish Cemetery. It dates back for centuries, with more than 20,000 graves built one over the other, which makes for a real higgledy-piggledy effect. Men are required to wear a yarmulke when visiting the cemetery, these are provided at the entrance.

    There is an entry fee to the cemetery, which also covers the cost of entrance to all the museums and synagogues that form part of the Jewish Museum in Prague. There are some interesting things to see in there, I particularly liked the rooms that had been built in one of the museum to show how a Jewish family might have lived in Prague in years gone by.

    At the museum shops, look out for postcards showing what the Josefov was like in the early 20th century. The original bulidings were demolished to make way for the Parisian-style streets of the area, it's interesting to see what it was once like.

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  • nicolaitan's Profile Photo

    The Jewish Cemetery ( 5 photos)

    by nicolaitan Updated Mar 9, 2007

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    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.

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  • iwys's Profile Photo

    Old Jewish Cemetery

    by iwys Written Dec 12, 2004

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    Old Jewish Cemetery

    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.

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  • sandysmith's Profile Photo

    Jewish Cemetry

    by sandysmith Written Apr 12, 2004

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    jewish cemetry

    Well we paid 200 CZK to see inside the old new synagogue I was loathe to pay another 300 CZK just to see the cemetry I'd read about - I wasn't really into seeing the other synagogues and there were big tour groups going around at the time too. (You can book half day tours just for these if you wish).
    Anyway we walked around the walls of the cemetry and came across a gap where we could peep in and get a view of those famous gravestones crowding out each other. I went away happy with my pic for free :-)

    If you do decide to go in there is plenty to see apparently - an evocative air of chaotic serenity and beauty amidst the 12,000 or so visible tomstones and engravings - many more exist undenath its many layers. It was founded in the 15th century and closed to new burials in 1787.

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  • rexvaughan's Profile Photo

    Holy Ground

    by rexvaughan Updated Nov 28, 2005

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    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.

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  • bpwillet's Profile Photo

    Jewish Cemetary

    by bpwillet Written Mar 20, 2004

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    Klausen Synagogue from the old cemetary

    This was the only place Jews could be buried for 300 years. It began in 1478 and was enlarged over the years. Due to lack of space many people are buried on top of one another, going 12 layers deep. The last burial took place in 1787.

    To see the cemetary you will come through Pinkas Synagogue. Flood damage has washed off some of the names that were put on the walls, but efforts are being made to restore them. Founded in 1479 by Rabbi Pinkas, many artifacts have been found indicating how life was for early Jews in Prague. It now is a memorial to those Czech Jews who were taken to concentration camps. The names of those who did not return are painted on the walls. It is open from 9-6pm and the best way to pay for it is to go to the ticket booth and get an inclusive ticket for all the synagogues in the Jewish Quarter you would like to see. Roughly 300KCZ.

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  • jo104's Profile Photo

    Old Jewish cemetery

    by jo104 Updated Mar 20, 2006

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    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.

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  • doogienj's Profile Photo

    Jewish Cemetery

    by doogienj Updated Dec 2, 2004

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    Headstones

    It's somber to visit the Jewish cemetery, and to think that they have burried over 100,000 jews here. Since they would not give them any more space to expand the cemetary, people are buried on top of each other, in 12 layers

    The cemetary is located in a complex of Jewish synagogue's and other buildings, right off the Old Town Square. In the Pinkas synagogue, the walls are painted with the names of all the Jews that were deported from Prage and killed in WW2. More than 80,000.

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  • nhcram's Profile Photo

    Amazing and chilling

    by nhcram Written Feb 5, 2006

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    The Jewish cemetery

    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.

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  • doug48's Profile Photo

    old jewish cemetery

    by doug48 Written Jun 16, 2008

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    old jewish cemetery

    prague's jewish cemetery was the burial place for prague's jewish community for over 300 years. this small area was the only burial place permitted to jews. because of lack of space people had to buried on top of each other up to 12 layers deep. in this small cemetery there are 12.000 grave stones and it is estimated that 100,000 jews are buried here,

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  • vesna04's Profile Photo

    Old Jewish Cemetery

    by vesna04 Written Oct 2, 2005

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    Old Jewish Cemetery

    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.

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  • mikelisaanna's Profile Photo

    Jewish Cemetary

    by mikelisaanna Written Apr 25, 2005

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    Tombstones in Prague's Jewish cemetary

    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.

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  • Cristian_Uluru's Profile Photo

    Stary Zidovsky Hrbitov

    by Cristian_Uluru Written Jan 1, 2007

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    Old Jewish Cemetery
    4 more images

    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.

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  • Wandering amongst the stones

    by Steve&Lynda Updated Jul 27, 2003

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    Grave condition

    The Cemetry in the old Jewish quarters not to be missed . The grave stones seem to fight for space, many have fallen or broken. The sheer number is overwhelming.
    Despite being surrounded by thousands of dead souls, the place is not depressing and one senses a feeling of hope & peace, that these people are united in death - like one huge family There are collections of small stones on the tops of some of the grave stones, and also notes. I think that maybe these must be prayers or a token of rememberence I am sure that I saw this at the end of the film 'Schindlers List'.

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