OLD JEWISH CEMETERY (STARÝ ŽIDOVSKÝ HŘBITOV)
Petit Futé's opinion on OLD JEWISH CEMETERY (STARÝ ŽIDOVSKÝ HŘBITOV)
Josefov's heart, with its timeless atmosphere and bewitching tombstones. A place steeped in history and mystery.
It is one of the most historically and mysterious places in Prague. This cemetery was founded in the 15th century on such a small site that the graves, eroded and covered with moss as well as ageless inscriptions, become entangled and superimposed in a moving chaos.
This mysterious and curious cemetery attracts people from all over the world to see this extraordinary survivor, the greatest in Europe. The silence of the place and the cries of crows perched on the trees contribute to its darkness, a strange emotion and the feeling of stopped time seize you. This cemetery was founded in the 15th century and used until 1787. It now has almost 12,000 stelae piled up, due to lack of space, on a dozen levels in places. Some 100,000 dead are buried in the soil of this cemetery. For this reason, some stelae are tilted and even half-fallen. The oldest tomb, dating from 1439, is that of the writer Avigdor Kara. The decoration of tombstones makes it possible to discover the family affiliation or occupation of the deceased, because the carved symbols always have a meaning. A mound in the corner of the cemetery indicates where children who died before the age of one were buried. The most attractive is the tomb of Jehuda Liwa ben Bezalel, called Rabbi Löw, who died in 1609. According to legend, he created a superhuman character, Golem. Don't forget to make a wish, write it on a piece of paper, slip it under a small stone to protect it from the wind, and place it on its headstone. This habit is derived from an ancient Jewish custom, when the people living in the desert used to lay stones on tombs. A few years ago, visitors could stroll among the tombstones, which unfortunately contributed to the rapid deterioration of the soil around the already damaged tombs. A mandatory, one-way route has therefore been developed which, during the high tourist season and rush hour, is rather crowded, which does not help to make the most of the serenity of the place and prevents people from stopping too long on the graves. To enjoy the cemetery, start visiting the Jewish Museum as soon as it opens. You will keep an unforgettable memory of it and you will appreciate it much better, a little alone, rather than surrounded by groups whose guides try to speak louder than each other.
Information on OLD JEWISH CEMETERY (STARÝ ŽIDOVSKÝ HŘBITOV)
Open Sunday-Friday 9am-6pm (4.30pm in winter). 530 Kč (reduced 370 Kč, free under 6 years old).
Members' reviews on OLD JEWISH CEMETERY (STARÝ ŽIDOVSKÝ HŘBITOV)
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