A visit to the Jewish Quarter

Trip Start Sep 15, 2011
Trip End Oct 02, 2011

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Where I stayed
Maximilian Hotel Prague
Read my review - 5/5 stars
What I did
Jewish Quarter (Josefov) Prague
Read my review - 5/5 stars

Flag of Czech Republic  , Bohemia,
Sunday, September 18, 2011

Our luck on perfect weather ran out and we had a steady drizzle and cooler temperatures.  We were both tired from a long day on our feet the day before.  Kip decided to spend a quiet morning in the hotel while I went out to see the Mucha Museum. 

Alfons Mucha is best known  for his Art Nouveau posters, especially ones he did for the famous actress Sarah Bernhart.  She commissioned several posters advertising her plays.  The small museum is a worthwhile stop.  Several posters are showcased along with an excellent 30 minute film.

I went back to the hotel to pick up Kip for a short walk to the Jewish Quarter, a very somber experience. There were Jews in Prague for several hundred years who were only allowed a small area right outside the city wall. The oldest synagogue dates back 700 years, the oldest in Europe.   In the 1780s the Emperor Josef eased some discrimination against the Jews.  The ghetto walls were torn down and people were allowed access to the rest of the city.  In 1897 the old ghetto was raised and on the neighborhood next door a beautiful neighborhood of primarily Art Nouveau buildings grew in its place.

A small Synagogue is dedicated to Jews who were sent to the gas chamber or murdered by the Nazis.  Some 77,299 names line the walls on two floors.  Of the over 100,000 Jews that lived in the area only 10,000 survived the holocaust. 

Another synagogue holds a good collection of Jewish artifacts.  The local Jews brought their sacred items here when the Nazi's took over.  A cemetery outside tells the story of discrimination.  Because the Jews were concentrated in the ghetto, there wasn't enough burial ground.  Bodies were buried on top of other bodies and closely spaced grave markers cover the site.

After the somber experience in the Jewish Quarter we slowly walked through the beautiful neighborhood until we found a wonderful French restaurant for a late lunch, then went back to the room to pack. 

By dark the rain was steady.  We bundled up to have our last look at the incredible Old Town Square.  We were hoping to find some music, so we followed the sound of a saxophone to a small restaurant behind Tyn church.  A bowl of soup and bread was perfect on a rainy night and made the perfect ending for our Prague visit - at least for me.  Kip was disappointed the potato chip stand had closed when we passed it on the way to the hotel. 

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