Prague has a district called Josefov full of sights and buildings that has to do with Jewish history. The oldest active synagogue in central Europe can be found here, a graveyard with more than 12,000 tombstones and the synagogue where Franz Kafka’s bar mitzvah was held.
Sights in the Jewish District:
The Maisel Synagogue was built between 1590 and 1592, but unfortunately, it burnt down in 1689. As it was rebuilt, it was made in baroque style. It was later renovated considerably between 1893 and 1905. Today the Maisel Synagogue is used by the Jewish Museum.
Old Jewish Cemetery
Located inside the Jewish Quarter (Josefov) the Old Jewish cemetery is to be found. The cemetery was in use from the early 15th century until 1787. One thing that makes the cemetery special is the 12,000 tombstones and the fact that there are several layers of tombs. Due to this, it is said that it can be almost 100,000 people buried here. The most famous persons buried in the Old Jewish Cemetery is the famous rabbi and scholar Judah Loew ben Bezalel, known as Rabbi Loew, who died in 1609.
Legends say that Rabbi Loew created a golem, a living being, using mystical powers based on the esoteric knowledge of how God created Adam.
This is the synagogue with the most interesting name in Prague. As it was built it in the 13th century it was the new and great synagogue. Therefore they called it the New Synagogue. Later as they started building newer synagogues it was looked upon as old, and therefore it received the name; Old New Synagogue.
The Old New Synagogue is one of the oldest active synagogues in the world, and the Old New Synagogue is one of Prague’s first gothic buildings.
Franz Kafka attended this synagogue when he lived in Prague and his bar mitzvah was held in the Old New Synagogue.