Made up of six sites spread throughout Prague’s Jewish Town, including four synagogues and a cemetery, the Jewish Museum in Prague is one of the Czech Republic’s most powerful museums. The museum highlights the history of both Czech and International Jews, through some of the most important and well known Jewish buildings in Prague. Established in 1906, the Jewish Museum of Prague has gone through quite a few rocky patches, from the Nazis to the Communists, but has survived to this day and is one of the cities most visited museums. I spent an afternoon in Prague’s Jewish Town exploring all of the sites that make up the museum back in January, and in this post I’ll be writing all about it!
The Jewish Museum of Prague is open everyday except for Saturdays and Jewish Holidays, from 9am to 4:30-6pm (depending on the time of the year). Admission to the Maisel, Pinkas, Klausen, Spanish, and Old-New Synagogues, Ceremonial Hall, Robert Guttman Gallery and Old Jewish Cemetery is 500 Kč. Admission to the same places listed above minus the Old-New Synagogue is 330 Kč, while admission to the synagogue on its own is 200 Kč. Tickets are available outside of most of the sites within the museum, as well as online (click here for the link).
The most famous part of the Jewish Museum overall is its Old Jewish Cemetery, the largest Jewish Cemetery in Europe. Named one of the top ten cemeteries to visit in the world by National Geographic, this burial ground was founded in the early 15th century, making it one of the world’s oldest surviving Jewish cemeteries. Its first tombstone dates back to 1439, while the latest one dates back to just 1786. Nearly 12,000 tombstones are stuffed within the cemetery, which is astonishing considering how small it actually is. I thought it was really cool to interesting (yet also a bit creepy!) to walk through this cemetery, as it is so full of history as well as the burial place for thousands and thousands of people.
Decorated with a beautiful exterior and a stunning interior, the Jewish Museum’s Ceremonial Hall is home to an exhibit about Jewish Customs and Traditions. It is located on the edge of the Old Jewish Cemetery, across from the Klausen Synagogue.
Neighbouring the Old Jewish Cemetery and Ceremonial Hall, the Klausen Synagogue is the biggest synagogue in Prague’s Jewish Town. It was built in 1694, after the 1689 ghetto fire, in early Baroque style. Inside the synagogue you will find the continuation of the ‘Jewish Customs and Traditions’ exhibit from the Ceremonial Hall.
The Maisel Synagogue, located down the street (specifically Maiselova) from the cemetery, is home to an exhibit about Bohemian Jews. It was originally built in 1592, rebuilt several times after the ghetto fire of 1689, and finally built in its current form in 1893.
Found near the entrance of the Old Jewish Cemetery is Pinkas Synagogue, the second oldest synagogue in Prague. Inside this synagogue you’ll find both a memorial to the Bohemian and Moravian Victims of the Shoah (Holocaust), as well as a display of drawings by the children of the Terezín Ghetto depicting life during the Nazi reign. Despite it being incredibly heartwrenching, this was probably my favourite synagogue in the museum that I visited.
The Jewish Museum’s Spanish Synagogue is the newest synagogue in the Jewish Town, that is built on the site of the oldest synagogue in the Jewish Town. It is built in the interesting Moorish Revival style, and is home to two exhibits; one on Bohemian and Moravian Jews and one about Synagogue Silver.
Completed in 1270, Prague’s Old-New Synagogue is Europe’s oldest active synagogue. Though it is not technically part of the Jewish Museum, it is still definitely worth a visit due to its age and the history behind it.
That’s all for my post about Prague’s Jewish Museum! I hope you enjoyed. Have you ever been to Prague? Let me know in the comments below.
Thanks for reading.