The Charming Jewish Quarter of PragueNo Comments

Narrow streets of the ghetto, demolished between 1893 and 1913

Imagine visiting a ghetto that witnessed a cultural and financial peak until it was tore down to its ruins by the Nazi camp for their pseudo ideas. The Josefov or the Jewish Quarter, a town quarter and the smallest cadastral area of Prague is one of the few such places where Jews settled around the 13th century.

Until 1893, the quarter experienced a prosperous trend due to the initiative taken by the then Jewish Mayor Mordecai Maisel who later on became the Minister of Finance. In the 1850′s the quarter was renamed to “Josefstadt” (Joseph’s City) after Joseph II, Holy Roman Emperor but many of the Jews were allowed to settle in other parts of the city resulting in only a few remaining back in the ghetto.

As Nazi prominence grew in the late 19th century, the quarter was demolished except for a few synagogues, cemetery and Old Town Hall. The Nazi had planned to build an ‘exotic museum of the extinct race’ on the ruins of the quarter using collections from all over Europe.

Today, Old Town Hall is one of the most watched sight as it is the oldest preserved synagogue in Central Europe built on Gothic style. Till recent times, it served a place of prayer for Prague Jews.

Old Jewish Cemetery, Prague (Creative Commons/Massimo Catarinella)

The other, Old Jewish Cemetery – Jewish Museum is also a mid 15th century architectural wonder which served as a burial site until the late 18th century. Many famous people have been buried here including those like Rabbi Jehuda Löw and Mordechai Maisel.

Visit Prague to travel back to the memories of pre-Nazi Prague Jews. Cheap flights to Prague are the best option to do so.

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