Visiting the Jewish Synagogues found in the Josefov neighborhood of Prague is one of the most impressive and unforgettable experiences you can do in the Czech capital.
This was the neighborhood where they lived since the Middle Ages and left as a legacy a series of synagogues and one of the best Jewish cemeteries in the world. In Josefov there are 6 synagogues. 5 of them can be visited with the same ticket and it includes the Jewish Cemetery while there is another to which you have to pay a separate ticket, the Old-New.
Do not miss anything of the neighborhood with this tour of the Jewish Quarter.
How to visit the Jewish Cemetery in Prague
The Jewish Cemetery in Prague is truly impressive and breathtaking.
You cannot leave Prague without visiting this cemetery.
It dates back to the year 1439 when it was created and for more than 300 years it was the only place in Prague where Jews could be buried, which can give you an idea of the number of bodies buried there.
In any case, the exact figure is not known since it is estimated that under each tombstone there may be up to 10 bodies piled up.
They were buried this way due to lack of space and it is estimated that under the 12,000 tombstones there may be more than 100,000 bodies.
The Jewish Cemetery is located between the Pinkas Synagogue and the Klaus Synagogue. There are usually quite a few queues to buy tickets at the Pinkas but since the ticket is valid for all of them and you can buy it at any of the synagogues, we recommend that you buy it at another, for example the Maisel, which is the first one you come across if you walk from the Old Town Square.
What are the Jewish synagogues of Josefov
The synagogues, with the exception of the Old-New, and the Cemetery are part of the so-called Jewish Museum. The synagogues that can be visited in this beautiful neighborhood are the following:
1. The Pinkas Synagogue
It can be said that the Pinkas Synagogue is the most impressive you will find and once inside your heart will be overwhelmed.
If they tell you that the Nazis killed 77,297 Jews, you may not have an idea of the number, but when you enter and see all their names written on the walls of this synagogue, you realize the magnitude of the figure.
It is really overwhelming. But no less impressive is the collection of drawings made by children who were in the Terezin concentration camp and which reflect the horrors of war.
2. Spanish Synagogue
The Spanish Synagogue is a little further away from the rest but it is essential to make the way to it.
If the Pinkas is the most impressive, the Spanish Synagogue is the most beautiful.
It receives this name because its decoration is reminiscent of the Alhambra in Granada and the truth is that it is difficult to imagine that you are in a Jewish synagogue and not in a mosque.
We recommend going up to the second floor where there is an exhibition about the most famous Jews of the last century.
3. The Old-New Synagogue
The Old-New Synagogue is the synagogue whose entrance has to be paid separately.
It is the oldest functioning synagogue in Europe, having been built in 1270, and is one of the earliest Gothic buildings in Prague.
In the city there was another older synagogue but it was demolished in the 19th century to build the Spanish Synagogue in its place.
We did not visit it inside and we only saw it from the outside but we have to say that the queues that usually exist to enter are long.
4. The other synagogues of Josefov
The three above are the most important synagogues of the 6. By visiting these three you can get an idea of what the Jewish quarter is like, but since they are very close and are included in the ticket, you can take the opportunity to visit the others.
These are the Maisel Synagogue, where there is a large collection of Jewish objects, the Klaus Synagogue, where there is a collection of Hebrew books and also drawings by the children of Terezin, and the High Synagogue.
You can find more information on the official website of the Jewish Museum in Prague.