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The Ultimate Guide to Experiencing the Best of Prague’s Jewish Quarter

Prague’s Jewish Quarter, also known as Josefov, is a neighborhood steeped in history and culture. Located in the heart of the city, this area is home to some of the most significant Jewish sites in Europe. From museums and synagogues to cemeteries and festivals, the Jewish Quarter offers a unique glimpse into Prague’s rich Jewish heritage. Exploring this neighborhood is like stepping back in time, as it is filled with centuries-old buildings and artifacts that tell the story of the Jewish community in Prague.

The Jewish Quarter holds great importance in Prague’s history and culture. It dates back to the 13th century when Jewish people were confined to a small area within the city walls. Over the years, the Jewish community faced persecution and discrimination, but they managed to preserve their culture and traditions. Today, the Jewish Quarter stands as a testament to their resilience and serves as a reminder of the city’s diverse past. It is a place where visitors can learn about the Jewish community’s contributions to Prague’s art, music, literature, and more.

Exploring the Jewish Museum of Prague

The Jewish Museum of Prague is a must-visit attraction in the Jewish Quarter. It is one of the oldest and largest Jewish museums in the world, with a collection that spans centuries. The museum’s history dates back to 1906 when a group of Jewish intellectuals and scholars established it to preserve Jewish artifacts and documents. Today, the museum consists of several buildings, including synagogues, a cemetery, and an exhibition space.

One of the must-see exhibits in the museum is the Pinkas Synagogue. This synagogue serves as a memorial to the victims of the Holocaust, with the names of over 77,000 Czech and Moravian Jews who perished during World War II inscribed on its walls. The exhibition inside the synagogue provides a moving and powerful tribute to those who lost their lives.

Another highlight of the museum is the Maisel Synagogue, which houses a collection of Jewish art and silver. Visitors can admire intricate Torah mantles, silver menorahs, and other religious artifacts. The Klausen Synagogue is also worth a visit, as it showcases an exhibition on Jewish customs and traditions.

When visiting the Jewish Museum of Prague, it is recommended to purchase a combined ticket that includes entry to all the sites. This will allow you to explore the museum at your own pace and fully immerse yourself in the history and culture of Prague’s Jewish community.

Admiring the Beauty of the Spanish Synagogue

The Spanish Synagogue is one of the most stunning synagogues in Prague and a must-visit attraction in the Jewish Quarter. Built in the Moorish Revival style in the late 19th century, the synagogue is a masterpiece of architecture. Its exterior features intricate stucco decorations and a beautiful rose window, while the interior is adorned with colorful mosaics and ornate woodwork.

Inside the Spanish Synagogue, visitors can admire the breathtaking main prayer hall, which is adorned with gold accents and a stunning blue ceiling. The walls are covered in intricate Moorish-style patterns, creating a mesmerizing atmosphere. The synagogue also houses a small museum that provides insight into the history of the Jewish community in Prague.

When visiting the Spanish Synagogue, it is important to dress modestly and respectfully, as it is still an active place of worship. Photography is not allowed inside the synagogue, so be sure to take in the beauty of the interior with your own eyes.

Discovering the Old Jewish Cemetery

The Old Jewish Cemetery is a unique and hauntingly beautiful site in the Jewish Quarter. It is one of the oldest surviving Jewish cemeteries in Europe and holds great historical and cultural significance. The cemetery dates back to the 15th century and served as the final resting place for Prague’s Jewish community for over 300 years.

One of the most striking features of the Old Jewish Cemetery is the dense arrangement of tombstones. Due to limited space, the tombstones are stacked on top of each other, creating a surreal and eerie atmosphere. It is estimated that there are over 12,000 tombstones in the cemetery, but the actual number of burials is much higher, as multiple people were often buried in the same grave.

Visiting the Old Jewish Cemetery is a unique experience that allows visitors to connect with the past and pay their respects to those who came before. It is recommended to take a guided tour to fully understand the historical and cultural significance of the cemetery. Keep in mind that the cemetery is a sacred place, so it is important to be respectful and quiet during your visit.

Sampling the Best of Jewish Cuisine

Prague’s Jewish Quarter is not only a place of historical and cultural significance but also a culinary destination. Jewish cuisine in Prague is a blend of traditional Czech dishes and Jewish specialties, resulting in a unique and delicious culinary experience.

One of the best restaurants to try Jewish cuisine in the Jewish Quarter is the King Solomon Restaurant. This kosher restaurant offers a wide range of traditional Jewish dishes, including matzo ball soup, gefilte fish, and brisket. The restaurant’s cozy atmosphere and friendly staff make it a popular choice among locals and tourists alike.

For a quick snack or a sweet treat, be sure to visit the Eska Bakery. This Jewish bakery is known for its freshly baked challah bread, rugelach pastries, and other Jewish delicacies. The aroma of freshly baked goods will draw you in, and the taste will keep you coming back for more.

When dining in the Jewish Quarter, it is important to check the restaurant’s kosher certification if that is a concern for you. Additionally, it is recommended to make a reservation, especially during peak tourist season, as the restaurants can get crowded.

Uncovering the Secrets of the Jewish Ghetto

The Jewish Ghetto in Prague has a dark and tragic past that is worth exploring. During World War II, the Jewish community in Prague was forced into the ghetto, where they faced overcrowding, starvation, and persecution. Many were deported to concentration camps and never returned.

Today, the Jewish Ghetto serves as a reminder of the atrocities committed during the Holocaust and the resilience of the Jewish community. Visitors can explore the narrow streets and alleyways that once housed thousands of Jewish families. The Pinkas Synagogue, mentioned earlier, also serves as a memorial to the victims of the Holocaust.

When visiting the Jewish Ghetto, it is important to approach it with respect and sensitivity. Take the time to learn about the history and listen to the stories of survivors. It is a somber experience, but an important one to fully understand the impact of the Holocaust on the Jewish community in Prague.

Attending a Jewish Music Festival

Prague has a rich Jewish music heritage, and one of the best ways to experience it is by attending the Jewish Music Festival. This annual festival takes place in the Jewish Quarter and features a variety of concerts, performances, and workshops that celebrate Jewish music and culture.

The Jewish Music Festival showcases a wide range of genres, from traditional klezmer music to contemporary Jewish compositions. It attracts both local and international artists, making it a truly diverse and vibrant event. Whether you are a music enthusiast or simply curious about Jewish music, the festival offers a unique opportunity to immerse yourself in this rich cultural tradition.

When attending the Jewish Music Festival, it is recommended to check the festival’s schedule in advance and purchase tickets for the performances you are interested in. Some events may require reservations, so be sure to plan accordingly. The festival usually takes place in the summer, so it is a great time to visit Prague and experience the city’s vibrant cultural scene.

Shopping for Unique Souvenirs

The Jewish Quarter is a great place to shop for unique souvenirs and gifts. From traditional Jewish artifacts to handmade crafts, there is something for everyone in the neighborhood’s shops and markets.

One of the best shops to visit in the Jewish Quarter is the Judaica Prague store. This shop specializes in Jewish artifacts and gifts, including menorahs, mezuzahs, and Jewish-themed jewelry. The store offers a wide range of products, from traditional designs to contemporary interpretations, making it a great place to find a meaningful souvenir.

For a more immersive shopping experience, be sure to visit the Havelská Market. This bustling market is located just outside the Jewish Quarter and offers a variety of goods, including fresh produce, clothing, and souvenirs. You can find handmade crafts, artwork, and other unique items that reflect Prague’s rich cultural heritage.

When shopping in the Jewish Quarter, it is important to support local businesses and artisans. Look for shops that sell authentic and locally made products, and avoid purchasing mass-produced souvenirs. By doing so, you are not only bringing home a unique and meaningful souvenir but also supporting the local community.

Taking a Walking Tour of the Jewish Quarter

Taking a walking tour of the Jewish Quarter is a great way to fully immerse yourself in its history and culture. A knowledgeable guide can provide insights and stories that you might not discover on your own, making the experience even more enriching.

There are several tour companies and guides that offer walking tours of the Jewish Quarter. It is recommended to choose a reputable company or guide with good reviews to ensure a high-quality experience. Some tours focus solely on the Jewish sites, while others provide a broader overview of Prague’s history and architecture.

When taking a walking tour, be sure to wear comfortable shoes and dress appropriately for the weather. The tours usually last a few hours, so it is important to stay hydrated and take breaks when needed. Don’t be afraid to ask questions and engage with the guide, as they are there to enhance your experience and provide a deeper understanding of the Jewish Quarter.

Planning Your Visit to Prague’s Jewish Quarter

When planning your visit to Prague’s Jewish Quarter, there are a few things to keep in mind to ensure a successful trip.

The best time to visit the Jewish Quarter is during the spring or fall when the weather is mild and the tourist crowds are smaller. The summer months can be quite busy, especially during the Jewish Music Festival, so be prepared for larger crowds and longer wait times.

Getting to the Jewish Quarter is easy, as it is located in the city center and is easily accessible by public transportation. The closest metro station is Staroměstská, which is served by Line A. From there, it is just a short walk to the Jewish Quarter.

The recommended length of stay in the Jewish Quarter depends on your interests and schedule. If you are interested in exploring all the museums, synagogues, and other attractions, a full day is recommended. However, if you are short on time, a half-day visit is still worthwhile.

When visiting the Jewish Quarter, it is important to be respectful of the sites and the local community. Dress modestly and avoid loud or disruptive behavior. Photography is allowed in most places, but be sure to ask for permission before taking photos of people or religious artifacts.


Prague’s Jewish Quarter is a historical and cultural gem that should not be missed. From the Jewish Museum and synagogues to the Old Jewish Cemetery and the Jewish Ghetto, this neighborhood offers a unique glimpse into Prague’s rich Jewish heritage. Exploring the Jewish Quarter allows visitors to learn about the history, culture, and traditions of the Jewish community in Prague and pay tribute to those who came before.

Whether you are interested in history, architecture, music, or cuisine, the Jewish Quarter has something to offer. From the must-see exhibits and artifacts in the Jewish Museum to the stunning beauty of the Spanish Synagogue and the haunting atmosphere of the Old Jewish Cemetery, there is no shortage of things to explore and discover.

So, plan your visit to Prague’s Jewish Quarter and immerse yourself in the history and culture of this fascinating neighborhood. Whether you spend a day or a week exploring its sites and attractions, you are sure to come away with a deeper understanding and appreciation for Prague’s Jewish heritage.

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