Josefov - Jewish Quarter, Prague

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  • The Old-New Synagogue
    The Old-New Synagogue
    by Xeriss
  • The Maisel Synagogue
    The Maisel Synagogue
    by Xeriss
  • The Spanish Synagogue
    The Spanish Synagogue
    by Xeriss
  • Xeriss's Profile Photo

    The Jewish Museum in Prague

    by Xeriss Updated Jun 24, 2012

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    The Spanish Synagogue
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    The Synagogues in the Jewish Quarter are all under the jurisdiction of the Jewish Museum of Prague. Buy a ticket that will grant you access to all of the following:

    (1) The Maisel Synagogue
    (2) The Spanish Synagogue
    (3) The Pinkas Synagogue
    (4) The Old Jewish Cemetry
    (5) The Klaus Synagogue
    (6) The Ceremonial Hall
    (7) The Old-New Synagogue

    The ticket may be bought from the ticket centre situated next to the Spanish Synagogue. It costs 480 czk and it is valid for 8 days. The Synagogues are normally open between 9.30am to 6pm from Sunday to Friday. Synagogues are not open on a Saturday.

    The ticket has a map on the back indicating the route one should take to view all of the locations listed above.

    The Jewish Quarter is one of the busiest touristic areas. Be ready to wait in line, even if you have a prepaid ticket.

    IMPORTANT: Videos and Photographs are not allowed inside most of the Synagogues. Photos and videos are allowed in a few areas provided that you pay an extra fee. Men are required to take off any hats or berets or beanies and are asked to wear a kippah which is normally provided onsite.

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    Jewish Quarter

    by Skibbe Written Sep 5, 2011
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    Interesting and heartbreaking area. This quarter dates back to the 13th century though it was of course wiped out by the Holocaust. Especially moving for me was the Pinkas Synagogue where the names of 80,000 Czech victims of the Holocaust are written. Those names just go on and on, covering so many walls. That synagogue also had drawings by children held in the ghetto by the Nazis. Many of them were of nature and their longing to see it again, though few would.

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  • muratkorman's Profile Photo

    Jewish Quarters

    by muratkorman Updated Sep 3, 2010

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    This part of Prague is dominated by synagogues, jewish cemetery, museum and other Jewish buildings. To be exact, you can visit Prague Jewish Museum, Old-New Synagogue, Maisel Synagogue and Old Jewish Cemetery. There are walking tours covering this part of Prague or you may choose to set your own pace. The admission fees are highly exaggerated and if you compare with the castle tickets, you see less and you pay more. However, in order to know more about Jewish way of life, it is a good way to get some impressions. The buildings around this area are also impressive and worth taking some pictures.

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  • Jim_Eliason's Profile Photo

    Josefov

    by Jim_Eliason Written Aug 9, 2009

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    Josefov
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    A large jewish community lived in Prague ever since the 10th century. For most of their history they were restricted to live in ghettos in this neighborhood. The community was mostly wiped out by the Nazi invasion and continued repression in the communist era. In 1994 President Havel returned the synagogues and historic sites back to the rebuilding jewish community.

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    The Old Jewish Quarter

    by Tom_Fields Written May 4, 2009

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    The Jewish Town Hall
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    Prague's first Jewish ghetto began in the 10th century. They hung on through the centuries, despite vicious persecution. In the late 18th century, the Hapsburg Emperor Joseph II restored the Jewish Quarter and allowed the people to live in peace. So this area was named the Josefov, in his honor. The Jews were finally granted full civil rights in 1848.

    The Nazis murdered about 90 percent of the Jews in Prague. They intended to turn the ghetto into an open-air museum. So despite everything that happened, the buildings survived. Today, the Josefov has been re-opened to visitors.

    Its most outstanding feature is the historic Jewish Town Hall, an impressive Renaissance building from the late 16th century. Be sure to visit the Old Jewish cemetery, with its roughly 20,000 grave stones packed into a tiny space. The synagogues also remain intact.

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  • easterntrekker's Profile Photo

    Jewish Quarter

    by easterntrekker Written Jul 20, 2008

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    We arrived here at about 7Pm and so many of the tourists had filtered out. It was peaceful to stroll around. We paused to think of the many who once lived here and were persecuted from this area . We found the Synagog of the Old and New built in the 1200's.There are lots of little shops and restaurants here too but they were closed .

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  • german_eagle's Profile Photo

    Jewish Quarter/Josefov

    by german_eagle Written Feb 17, 2008

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    Old-New Synagogue
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    In the Jewish Quarter north of Staromestske Namesti you can see some old synagogues and a Jewish cemetery. They are parts of the Czech Jewish Museum. They are certainly interesting and give an overview of Jewish life in Prague before WWII. I personally didn't have enough time to do it justice and also didn't want to spend that much money (quite expensive admission fee) for just an hour or two.

    If you visit then definitely see the Old-New Synagogue, the Jewish Town Hall and the cemetery.

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  • Luchonda's Profile Photo

    The jewish quarter in Prague

    by Luchonda Updated Dec 13, 2007

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    The highest synagoge in Prague
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    Jews had first settled in Prague in the 10th century, near the Prague castle which is just across the Vltava river from Josefov. At the time of the First Crusade in 1096, the first recorded pogrom took place in Prague when Jews were systematically killed by the Crusaders. This violence may have been what prompted the Jews to move to the present Josefov quarter of Prague, near the Old Town, in the 12th century. In the 13th century, the Pope decreed that the Jews should be segregated from the Christians and a wall was built around the Jewish quarter.

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  • lashr1999's Profile Photo

    Josefov Part 2

    by lashr1999 Written Jul 29, 2007

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    When here, I brought a pass which included all the Jewish sites. The old-new synagogue was a separate ticket which I did not purchase. We did not get to see all the sites. However, I will describe the ones we managed to see. The first site we went to was the old Jewish cemetary which is said to be the oldest surviving Jewish cemetery in Europe. It was created in 1478. Since then until about 1787, it is said that 100,000 to 200,000 Jewish residents were buried here. It is said the bodies are stacked one on top of another in layers as much as twelve deep. This was since there are so many people to be buried in such a small space. There are about 12,000 gravestones, some are intact some are broken. The Jewish museum has been trying to conserve and restore the cemetery since 1990. The most famous Jews buried here are Rabbi Low and Mordechai Maisel. Close to here is the Pinkas synagogue which was our next stop. This synagogue was founded in 1479 by Rabbi Pinkas. Over the centuries it was rebuilt numerous times. There are 2 features that will strike you in this building. The first is the inscriptions on the walls of the Jewish Czeck victims of the Nazi’s. There are 77297 names inscribed on the walls. The next thing that is very moving is the collection of paintings and drawings of children held in the Terezin concentration camp of WWII.
    Next we went into the Spanish synagogue which was built in 1868. The interior of the building was beautiful with its Spanish and Moorish influences. There were intricate carving and bright colors were used in various art. Don’t forget to look up at the beautiful high dome. There was an exhibition on the life of Bohemian Jews which was pretty good.
    One thing you can see for free is the outside of the Jewish town hall. The hall was built in the 18th century and there are 2 clocks on the Rococo facade. The upper clock has Roman numeral and reads moves clockwise. The lower clock is inn Hebrew and moves counterclockwise. It is a beautiful thing to see that is free.

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  • lashr1999's Profile Photo

    Josefov Part 1

    by lashr1999 Written Jul 29, 2007

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    Two of my friends wanted to visit the Jewish Quarter (Josefov) in Prague to get closer to their Jewish heritage. I decided to tag along since I was curious to see what the inside of a Synagogue looked like and since I had nothing special planned that morning.
    The Jewish Quarter dates back to after the 1st crusade in 1096. Crusaders killed some Jewish people and converted others. During this time the remaining Jews were ordered to settle in one area and leave their original homes in the city. In 1262, the Jewish community living here was granted some self administration. At the end of the 16th century a Jewish mayor and minister of finance used his wealth to develop the ghetto. The ghetto was renamed Josefov or Joseph’s city in 1850 after the Holy Roman Emperor Joseph II. He issued a toleration Edith in 1781 which freed the Jewish community to move around. Only orthodox Jews and the poor Jews remained in the ghetto. From 1893-1913 many buildings in the quarter ere destroyed to make the city more like Paris.

    At one point it was said there were 50,000 Jews living in Prague. However, the Nazi atrocities and subsequent communist regime caused the population of Jews in Prague to dwindle. It has been estimated that only 10% of the Jews in Prague survived German occupation. Today, the Jewish community on Prague numbers 5000-6000 people. There are 2 kosher restaurants in the area. The Jewish quarter has been overbuilt with 20th century buildings. What remains from pre-1893 are 6 synagogues, the old cemetery and the Jewish Town Hall.

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  • monkeytrousers's Profile Photo

    Josefov

    by monkeytrousers Written Jul 17, 2007

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    Pinkas Synagogue
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    Josefov is the Jewish District of Prague. There are several synagogues in the area, the tourist orientated of which are either museums of Jewish heritage or memorials. There is also some very nice archictecture and nice looking buildings in the district of a great variety. Of note in the area are:

    Prague Jewish Museum
    Old-New Synagogue (still functions)
    Klaus Synagogue - exhibition of Jewish customs and traditions
    Pinkas Synagogue - holocaust memorial & old Jewish Cemetery

    It is possible to get different combi-tickets gaining access to some or all of the above.

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  • hundwalder's Profile Photo

    Josefov ( Jewish Quarter )

    by hundwalder Updated Jun 24, 2007

    4.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Pinkas synagogue and Jewish cemetary

    Josefov is a very small district of Prague that the large Jewish population of the city was confined to because of the extreme prejudice inflicted upon them by the Christian population. In Josefov and throughout Europe, the Jewish people were forced to live in very crowded conditions because of the unreasonably small space alloted to them. Josefov was established and the original synagogue was built nearly 1000 years ago. Soon thereafter many of Josefov's residents were massacred by Christians on their way to fight the Crusades. Their houses and Synagogue were destroyed.

    A new synagogue was built at the site of the original one in the year 1270. That synagogue known as Staranova ( old-new ) is perfectly preserved, and looks almost exactly as it did 700 years ago. Prague's few remaining Jews worship there. Other synagogues were built in later years, including the Pinkas synagogue shown in photo #1. The 550 year old Pinkas synagogue is located only about 50 meters down the cobblestone lane from Staranova. The courtyard of Pinkas synagogue houses the Jewish cemetary. The small cemetary is completely filled with headstones. Bodies were buried up to 12 layers deep in what has to be the world's most crowded cemetary. This was Josefov's only cemetary from 1478 until about 1780.

    Pinkas synagogue now houses one of the six museums of Josefov. It is also a memorial to the 80,000 Bohemian Jews murdered during the Nazi holocaust. The name of each, including dates of birth and demise, are inscribed on the walls. Even more heartbreaking is the upstairs exhibition featuring pictures drawn by children interred in the nearby Terezin concentration camp prior to their perishing in the gas chambers. It is not possible to leave Pinkas synagogue with a dry eye. Be prepared for a highly emotional experience.

    Click on the weblink below for updated hours of operation and admission price. The admission price is good for all six museums and the cemetary. Those not wishing to purchase a ticket can look over the wall to see the cemetary.

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  • schurlif's Profile Photo

    JEWISH PRAGUE

    by schurlif Updated Jun 23, 2007

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    Sitting in the classroom as a teenager eons ago in school in Vienna , where I come from , I was told , among a lot of other things that Franz Kafka and Siegmund Freud had been Austrians......The fact that both were jewish was not mentioned and maybe it's really not that relevant but to call Franz Kafka , who lived all his life in Prague an Austrian because Bohemia was then part of the ( k. and k. ) Austro-Hungarian Empire was a bad history falsification...... some sort of history classes I still resent till today. Siegmund Freud was also born in Bohemia but left at a very young age for Vienna where he lived and worked for decades before being forced to flee the nazis to England. What a nice surprise it was therefore for me , a jewish Viennese , to see that buildings and synagogues of Pragues glorious jewish past had survived 7 years of brutal nazi oppression. I was even slightly "shocked" to see houses with Mogen David ornaments on the facade , tower clocks with hebrew numbers and medieval synagogues , something I never saw in Vienna except maybe above the main entrance of the Inner City Synagogue...... This is where Franz Kafka wrote the "Metamorphosis" and his many other works and this is another area , sight and reason for Prague to pride itself as different and unique.....

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  • klj&a's Profile Photo

    Jewish Quarter

    by klj&a Updated Mar 25, 2007

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    If you love shopping, this is the area to be. Hermes, Hugo, Salvatore Ferragamo. Prague’s Jewish Quarter is unique to Europe because during WWII, most Jewish monuments were destroyed by Nazis. This one persevered-the neighborhood, cemeteries and synagogues.

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  • LoriPori's Profile Photo

    JEWISH QUARTER

    by LoriPori Updated Feb 28, 2007

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    Spanish Synagogue
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    We now will walk down Parizska Street, where we come to the JEWISH QUARTER, in the Josefov Section of Prague, with its Old-New Synagogue, Old Jewish Cemetery, the Jewish Museum, the Spanish Synagogue and statue of the famous Jewish writer Franz Kafka.
    Prague's Jewish Community dates back to the 10th century and is the only Central European Jewish Town Quarter that survived the Holocaust.
    The accompanying picture is of the beautiful Spanish Synagogue which was built in 1868 in a unique Moorish style and is located on Shiroka Street.

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