The following day our tour was all about Jewish history in Prague. The picture below is where the old Jewish ghetto once was, although it is now one of the most expensive streets for shopping in Prague.

We walked further down this street until we reached the Jewish Museum. In this area there was the Klausen Synagogue, Pinkas Synagogue, the Ceremonial Hall, and the Old Jewish Cemetery.

The entrance to the Jewish Museum.

As we entered the museum we first entered the Pinkas Synagogue, which is now used as a memorial for the 80,000 Jews from Bohemia and Moravia who died in the Holocaust. It was a very humbling experience. The names were stretched along the entire room, from top to bottom and continued up to the second floor. The simplicity of the memorial was what really made it hit hard and the sheer number of names was too horrible to imagine. Another part of the memorial was a room full of pictures drawn by children who were being held at Terezín or Theresienstadt Concentration Camp. This was even more difficult to see.

After the memorial, we made our way over to the Old Jewish Cemetery. This cemetery is not only extremely large for a cemetery in the middle of a city, but it also has twelve layers of graves, with about 6 hands of space between each level.

Rabbi Loew is buried in this cemetery. In a legend Loew created a golem to protect the Jewish ghetto. This golem is now said to be resting in the attic of the Old-New Jewish Synagogue waiting to protect the Jewish community if need be.

The exit to the cemetery leads to a back road and at the end of this road is the Old-New Synagogue. This synagogue is built on the old level of the city, Charles IV was forced to raise the city after it continued to flood.

In the vicinity there is also the Spanish Synagogue. This was an amazing building and even though the exterior is amazing, it just doesn’t do the interior justice. Once again, pictures were not allowed to be taken inside, but the entire room was covered in gold with millions of tiny interlocking lines and flowers. The dome was made up of lines that created a sort of mesh or net which spiraled slowly into the center.

The upper balcony of the synagogue was dedicated to the history of Jews in Prague. It spoke about what life was like in concentration camps, but it also focused on the accomplishments of individual Jewish artists or authors.

After this museum we went just across the street to a really wonderful and authentic Czech restaurant. We all had a delicious dish with a Pilsner Urquell on the side, which comes from the Czech Republic. The Czech Republic is known for good beer, in fact they also have a Budweiser, but it is different from what we have in America and apparently, there is a deal between the two companies not to sell their beers in the same place.

After lunch our tour was over so we decided to head over to the Jerusalem Synagogue on our own. This synagogue was a little further from the others, but still only a five minute walk. The synagogue is squished between two other buildings and on a very small side street. It was a little hidden and if it hadn’t been for the impressive blue arch and the red and gold stripes, we might have passed it by.

After touring the old Jewish ghetto, we decided to head back to the Old Town Square one last time before we had to get on the bus and ride four hours back to Vienna.

The two-tailed lion is the symbol of Prague.

There were a lot of symbols like the ones above and below. We ended up seeing a lot of these on the older buildings, because they were used as a sort of address system when the houses originally had no numbers.

Many of the buildings in Prague were painted on. This one was on one of the buildings on Old Town Square. Some of them depicted entire stories!

Our last day was probably the best day for street performers. This band had a sort of southern twang to it. Their music filled the entire square and they had a huge crowd clapping and laughing along with them.

We also came upon a woman creating huge bubbles. It seemed like the boy in the red might have been her son. He would often stand up and chase after the bubbles, while she tried to make them pop over his head.

Advertisements