I missed out on Josefov during my first visit to the city, but made up for it in May ’15 by visiting the Židovské muzeum v Praze (Jewish Museum in Prague)
You can get a ticket from the information centre at the address below. They have more than one option, and we took the one which includes the cemetery, the museum and the Španělská Synagoga (Spanish Synagogue). 300 Kč each.
The synagogue was interesting for me as I’d never been inside one before. Interesting that can happen in a life of 63 years. One of my friends at school was Jewish and I dated a Jewish girl briefly (until her parents told her to get rid of me).
I suppose I’ve always seen religion as a personal thing, so unless I’ve been in a religious place as a tourist (the Blue Mosque in Istanbul, for example) or as a guest (I was in a Sikh temple for a wedding once) why would it happen?
I thought it was on the expensive side compared to (say) the castle, but interesting anyway.
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.
The Jewish Quarter‘s history dates back to the 13th century, when the Jewish community in Prague were ordered to vacate their homes and settle in one area.
The buildings in the Quarter form the best preserved Jewish historical monuments in the whole Europe.
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.
After turning in my bicycle at Praha Bikes at the end of the tour, I walked back to the nearby Jewish District for another look.
Since I had recently re-learned the words telemon/atlas/atlant (with the help of VT member german_eagle while I was writing one of my Bruchsal tips), I wanted to get a photo of two of these stone men supporting part of the façade of the corner building at Široká 64/12, which also houses the Franz Kafka Café.
I didn't go into the Franz Kafka Café, so I can't say if it is as bad as most reviewers make it out to be. The website Literary Traveler describes the Franz Kafka Café as "a pub that merely appropriates his name".
Like most buildings in Prague, this one has two numbers. The number 64 is left over from an old system of lot numbering and for most purposes can safely be ignored. The number 12 is the one you can use to find the building when you are walking along Široká Street.
Second photo: A wider view of the building at Široká 64/12.
Third photo: Franz Kafka Café at Široká 64/12.
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.
Jewish were heavily persecuted in the Czech Republic during the Second World War, and they also had a hard life in Prague. They were all confined in the worse district of the city and forced to live in terrible conditions because of their faith. Many Jewish people are still living in this district which has been completely renovated, its sinagogues are still active and you can visit the Jewish cemetery (where thousands of Jewish people were buried together because there was no other place where they could rest in peace) and the Jewish museum where you'll see the drawings of some Jewish kids lately deported to concentration camps.
The Jewish Quarter in Prague is interesting. This is a separate area called a "ghetto" from an Italian word meaning separate area. It's known as Josefov and was separated from the Old Town by walls and gates. This is the only Central European Jewish Town-Quarter that survived the holocaust during WWII. The cemetary here dates from the 5th century and is behind the synagague. Bodies were buried here in layers because of lack of space. There are up to 12 layers. 12,000 Jewish graves have been preserved. In 1848 the Jews were set free from laws and moved. Many old buildings were torn down and art noveau buildings put up in their places so only a few original buildings remain. But it's quite interesting to see the area, especially the cemetary.
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.
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.
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 .
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.