History of the Jewish Quarter

From its very beginning, Prague has been a city of different cultures. In Czech chronicles from the 12th century, there are descriptions of prosperous Jewish settlements near Prague Castle and Vysehrad. However, due to frequent attacks, local Jews had to look for refuge near the main Prague ford. Jews were allowed to settle only in the strictly designated area - ghetto. And this is how the Jewish Quarter appeared.

Photo of Maisel Synagogue in Jewish Quarter, Prague

The golden age of the Prague Jewish Ghetto is the Renaissance. At that time, Mordecai Maisel lived here. This immensely rich and powerful man paid to get streets paved. He helped schools and hospitals, built a town hall, and the biggest synagogue in Prague. At the same time, Judah Loew ben Bezalel was a chief rabbi of Prague. According to the legend, it was he who created Golem from clay.

Over time, the number of residents in the ghetto increased, but the territory remained the same. Each free spot was built up. All kinds of extensions and superstructures appeared on the houses. In the 18th century, Joseph II of Habsburg allowed the Jews to settle anywhere they want. But even this does not improve the situation — those who were rich left, the poor stayed.

From 1850 the Jewish Quarter of Prague bears the name of Joseph II - Josefov. And in 1855, Town Hall approved the plan of cleaning this part of Prague. Most of the buildings were destroyed, and many streets disappeared from the map. New houses in historical and Art Nouveau stales were built. The new streets appeared. All that remains from the old Jewish Quarter are six synagogues, Old Jewish Cemetery, and a Jewish Town Hall. Prague Jewish Museum was founded in 1906. Its purpose was to depict the history of Jews in the Czech lands.

Photo of Parizska Street

During World War II, the Nazis brought to Prague items from Jewish houses, synagogues, schools all over the Czech Republic. After the liberation, there was almost nobody to claim the confiscated objects. More than 80000 jews fell Holocaust victims. Those collections stay in the museum, which today is considered the world's richest museum of Jewish culture. There are more than 40,000 different exhibits: Torah scrolls, ritual objects, household items, and books. The museum's library contains over 100,000 volumes, including many valuable manuscripts. Information on opening times and admission fees can be found on the museum's official website.

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