The Jewish Museum in Prague is responsible for the administration of four different synagogues (the Maisel, Pinkas, Spanish, and Klausen Synagogues), the Ceremonial Hall for the Jewish Burial Society, and the Old Jewish Cemetery which I wrote about here. Josefov, the name for the Jewish quarter in Prague, is tiny, as it was previously the Jewish ghetto of the city, and most of these buildings can be found in the same block.
These are the walls of the Pinkas Synagogue, which are covered with the names of approximately 78,000 Czech Jewish victims of the Shoah and their dates of death or disappearance. The building is the second oldest surviving synagogue in Prague and was originally constructed in the 16th century. The ceilings are high, but the ground-space is limited, so that it can feel crowded very quickly. This is specially true if you go upstairs, where they hold a permanent exhibition of paintings made by children in the Terezín concentration camp.
The exit to the Pinkas Synagogue leads to the Old Jewish Museum, and after traversing that, one ends up in front of the Ceremonial Hall and the Klausen Synagogue.
The Old-New Synagogue is so tiny that I nearly missed it, but still definitely worth a visit.
A bit farther away from this cluster is the Maisel Synagogue, and farther still, the Spanish Synagogue.
You should sit down.
The newest synagogue in Prague, it stands at the site of what is believed to have been the oldest synagogue in the city, and is called the Spanish Synagogue because it was built in a style known as Moorish Revival.
Also, it’s gorgeous.
But my favorite synagogue was not part of the Jewish Museum. In fact, it wasn’t even in the Jewish quarter at all.
The Jubilee Synagogue, so called because it was built to commemorate the silver jubilee of Franz Joseph I of Austria, is located farther south, near the Praha hlavní nádraží train station. It is also known as the Jerusalem Synagogue, as it is located on Jeruzalémská Street.
This is also supposed to be Moorish Revival in style, but it feels like a different animal altogether, thanks to its infusion with Art Nouveau. It is no less impressive in person, and as soon as I walked in I literally stopped walking and just said, “Wow,” as my eyes traveled upward.