Josefov - Jewish District


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July 8th 2017
Published: July 8th 2017
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We took the Metro from Malostranska to Staromestska, and had ice cream on the Old Town Square. It was very hot – it was a job for us to find empty benches on the shadow area of the Old Town Square.



Afterwards, we walked to Josefov, the former Jewish town. We firstly arrived at Maisel Synagogue. By showing our Prague Cards, we were given the free entry to several synagogues including Maisel Synagogue. This synagogue was founded by Mardecai Markus Maisel, Primate of Prague’s Jewish Town under Emperor Rudolf II, and had Jewish Museum showing the history of the Jew’s in Bohemia and Moravia from the 10th to the 18th century.



Next we walked to Pinkas Synagogue. In terms of their architecture, the Pinkas Synagogue and the Old-New Synagogue are the oldest and the most important in Prague. Archaeological excavations have confirmed that the Pinkas Synagogue had a ritual bath dating from 11th century. The Pinkas Synagogue demonstrated very distinctive and memorable walls with inscriptions of victims’ names – approximately 78,000 individual names – who passed away and had disappeared between 1939 and 1945. This synagogue was home to Holocaust Memorial and housed permanent exhibitions of the Holocaust memories – children’s drawings, exercise books, diaries and lyric poetry from the Nazi concentration camps.



After that, we were directed to follow the footpath circling the Old Jewish Cemetery. Having looked at the list of immeasurable victims, I felt quite moved to see the crowded gravestones everywhere. All the gravestones were plain ones – no flowers or candles decorated around – but millions of gravestones were laid randomly and I could feel spirits of ancient people existed above us.



The cycle path led us to the corner of Klausova Synagogue and Ceremonial Hall, and we entered Klausova Synagogue. This synagogue showed artefacts relating to Jewish history and customs, the significance of synagogue and Jewish Festivals.



There were a number of stalls selling Czech crafts along Ustrehohrbitova. We found two distinctive buildings – Old-New Synagogue on the left and High Synagogue on the right – and reached the fashionable street, Parizska. There were a lot of boutique shops on that street.



We finally reached Spanish Synagogue, eastern side of Jewish District. This synagogue had very dazzling interior decorations – Moorish style with impressive copula and open
Spanish SynagogueSpanish SynagogueSpanish Synagogue

Moorish style with impressive copula and open galleries
galleries, designed the reminiscent of the Granada’s Alhambra. Not only with decorations, but the Spanish Synagogue possessed a wealth of documents of people who had achieved and produced outstanding contribution in the fields of education, science, philosophy, literature and music.



Outside, we found a beautiful statue of Franz Kafka – one of the most significant Jewish/German authors, who inspired a number of writers in the 20th century.



There aren’t very many Jewish synagogues and museums house documents and treasures of Jewish people in Japan. My parents enjoyed looking round Jewish synagogues and museums in Prague.


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Statue of Franz KafkaStatue of Franz Kafka
Statue of Franz Kafka

One of the great Jewish/German writers


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