Josefov Jewish Quarter
Known as Josefov, the Jewish Quarter has gained a worldwide reputation and is one of the most frequently visited attractions in the city. Come and visit this incredibly well preserved piece of history, and learn a little more about this part of Prague’s past.
The Old-New SynagogueThe history of this quarter dates back to the 13th century, when a royal decree ordered all Jewish people to move from different parts of Prague to a single location. Thanks to protection granted by Czech kings, the area gradually became the biggest Jewish community in Europe, as well as an economic and cultural center of outstanding importance. The prosperity of this community was demonstrated by the construction of the Old-New Synagogue at the end of the 13th century. Today, this monument is the oldest surviving synagogue in Europe.
The golden eraThe Jewish Quarter experienced its golden era during the reign of Rudolph II. During this time, the Maisel, High and Pinkas synagogues were built, and the legend about Golem and its creator Rabi Löw originated. Unfortunately, the quarter suffered severe damage during the “Prague redevelopment” of 1893 - 1913. Many medieval houses and synagogues disappeared during that period. Nevertheless, the most valuable monuments, including six synagogues and the Old Jewish Cemetery, have survived to form the best-preserved complex of Jewish monuments in all of Europe.
Visit unique historical sitesInside all four of the Maisel, Spanish, Klausen and Pinkas Synagogues you can find collections from the Jewish Museum in Prague. You may also be interested in visiting the Old Jewish Cemetery, one of the oldest Jewish burial grounds in the world, its earliest tombstone dating back to 1439. You may be surprised that the Jewish Quarter is in such good condition considering the Nazis ruled the area. Josefov would have been destroyed but Adolf Hitler wanted to make it into a “museum of an extinct race”. Fortunately, it was neither destroyed nor did it serve as such a museum, and today it enables visitors to come and get a glimpse into this culture’s incredible past.
From the Radisson Blu Alcron Hotel in Prague, you can enjoy a lovely walk to the Jewish Quarter through Wenceslas Square, Old Town Square and Paris Street, taking less than 20 minutes.