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Jewish Quarter in Prague (Josefov)

A Traveler’s Guide to the Jewish Quarter (Josefov)

Welcome to the Jewish Quarter, also known as Josefov! This is a must-visit spot in the heart of Prague, the beautiful capital city of the Czech Republic. 

Josefov is steeped in history and culture. It’s a remarkable place to discover centuries-old traditions and stories that will leave you spellbound. This Quarter is like a treasure chest, filled with stunning synagogues, fascinating museums, and charming narrow streets.

Every corner of Josefov whispers tales from the past. It’s an enchanting blend of history and modernity that will transport you back while keeping you grounded in the present. 

As part of your Czech Republic travel experience, exploring Josefov promises to be unforgettable. Prepare to step into a world beautifully capturing Jewish heritage and culture.

The Rich History of Josefov

Josefov has a rich history that dates back to the 13th century. This area was once home to the Jewish community of Prague. The Quarter has withstood many challenges over centuries, but it still stands strong, telling tales of resilience and survival.

One can’t help but be moved by the historical sites in Josefov. The Old-New Synagogue, one of the oldest existing synagogues in Europe, is a testament to the enduring spirit of this place. It’s like a living museum, showcasing artifacts and stories from the long past.

Another significant site is the Old Jewish Cemetery. It’s an essential piece of history that reminds us of those who lived here before us. Walking through Josefov feels like turning the pages of a history book.

Exploring the Synagogues of the Jewish Quarter

The synagogues in the Jewish Quarter are a remarkable part of Jewish heritage in Prague. Each one is unique, with its own story to tell.

Old-New Synagogue

Jewish Quarter in Prague (Josefov) - Old-New Synagogue

The Old-New Synagogue is a jewel in the Jewish Quarter. This ancient building, dating back to the 13th century, is one of the oldest active synagogues in Europe. Its gothic architecture and timeless charm are sure to capture your heart. 

Inside, you’ll find a wealth of history and tradition. The synagogue has seen centuries of prayers and celebrations, making it a living testament to Jewish heritage in Prague. It’s an awe-inspiring place that invites you to step back in time and soak up its rich history.

Pinkas Synagogue

Jewish Quarter in Prague (Josefov) - Pinkas Synagogue

The Pinkas Synagogue is another must-see in the Jewish Quarter. Founded in the 15th century, it serves as a poignant memorial to the Jewish victims of the Holocaust from Bohemia and Moravia.

The walls inside are inscribed with the names of over 77,000 Jews who lost their lives during this tragic time. It’s a powerful reminder of history that leaves a lasting impression on every visitor.

Apart from its historical significance, the Pinkas Synagogue houses an impressive collection of children’s drawings from the Terezin concentration camp. This place is a touching tribute to those who lived and died during one of history’s darkest chapters.

Klausen Synagogue

Jewish Quarter in Prague (Josefov) - Klausen Synagogue

The Klausen Synagogue is the largest synagogue in the Jewish Quarter. Built in the late 17th century, it stands on the site of several older synagogues that were destroyed by a fire.

This beautiful Baroque building now serves as a museum, showcasing Jewish customs and traditions. It houses a collection of items used in Jewish ceremonies, including Torah scrolls and silverware.

Visiting the Klausen Synagogue is like journeying into the heart of Jewish culture and tradition. Its grand architecture and historical artifacts make it an essential stop on any tour of Josefov.

Uncovering Stories at the Old Jewish Cemetery

Jewish Quarter in Prague (Josefov) - Old Jewish Cemetery

The Old Jewish Cemetery in Josefov is one of Prague’s most important historical sites. It’s a place where history comes alive.

This cemetery served as the leading burial site for Prague’s Jewish community from the 15th to 18th centuries. Walking among its ancient tombstones, you can feel the echoes of the past.

Each stone tells a story, marking the final resting place of scholars, rabbis, and ordinary people who once lived in this vibrant community. The cemetery is a powerful symbol of the enduring spirit of Josefov’s Jewish heritage.

Exploring the Old Jewish Cemetery offers a unique chance to connect with history on a deeply personal level. It’s an experience that will stay with you long after your visit to Josefov ends.

A Visit to the Fascinating Jewish Museum

Jewish Quarter in Prague (Josefov) - Jewish Museum

A visit to the Jewish Museum is a highlight of any Czech Republic travel adventure. Located in the heart of Josefov, this museum offers a fascinating look into Jewish history and culture.

The museum is spread over several historic sites, including synagogues and the Old Jewish Cemetery. It houses an impressive collection of artifacts that tell the story of Prague’s Jewish community through the ages.

From ancient manuscripts to beautiful silverware used in religious ceremonies, every exhibit in the Jewish Museum has a tale to tell. This place is more than just a museum. It’s a journey into a rich and vibrant culture that has indelibly impacted Prague’s history.

Visiting the Jewish Museum is like stepping into a time capsule. It allows you to explore, learn, and immerse yourself in an incredible cultural experience.

Paying Respect at the Holocaust Memorial

The Holocaust Memorial in Josefov is a poignant reminder of the tragic history of the Jewish community during World War II. It stands as a tribute to the thousands of lives lost and is an integral part of Jewish heritage in Prague.

This memorial is located within the Pinkas Synagogue. The walls are inscribed with the names of over 77,000 Czech Jews who perished during the Holocaust. It’s a place that evokes deep emotions and reminds us of humanity’s past mistakes.

Visiting the Holocaust Memorial offers a moment to reflect, remember, and pay respects. It’s a powerful experience that touches every visitor deeply, leaving an unforgettable impression.

The Legend of the Golem of Prague and Other Local Folklore

The Golem of Prague is a famous legend that has been part of the city’s folklore for centuries. This mythical creature, made from clay, is said to have been created by Rabbi Loew in the 16th century to protect the Jewish community.

According to the legend, the Golem could be activated by a unique series of rituals and deactivated by removing a clay tablet from its mouth. The story says that when not needed, the Golem was stored in the attic of the Old-New Synagogue.

Whether you believe in legends or not, there’s no denying that this tale adds an intriguing layer to Josefov’s rich tapestry of history. It’s another fascinating aspect that makes exploring historical sites in Prague such an unforgettable experience.

Walking Through Franz Kafka’s Birthplace and His Connection to Josefov

Franz Kafka, one of the most influential writers of the 20th century, was born and raised in Josefov. His birthplace is now a popular spot for Czech Republic travel enthusiasts.

Kafka’s stories were often set against the backdrop of his beloved city. The narrow lanes and old buildings of Josefov played a significant role in shaping his unique literary style.

Walking through Kafka’s birthplace, you can almost feel his presence. It’s like stepping into one of his stories. This experience provides a fascinating insight into Kafka’s life and work.

Exploring Franz Kafka’s birthplace is more than just seeing a historic site. It’s about connecting with the spirit of one of literature’s great masters in the very place where he found his inspiration.

How To Reach The Jewish Quarter

Reaching the Jewish Quarter, or Josefov is quite simple as it’s located in the heart of Prague. Here are some options:

The nearest metro station is Staromestska on Line A. It’s just a short walk to the Jewish Quarter.

Tram numbers 17 and 18 stop at Staromestska, close to Josefov.

Bus number 194 stops at Pravnicka Fakulta, a short walk from the Jewish Quarter.

Remember to check the local public transportation schedules and routes for the most accurate information during your visit!

Best Time To Visit Josefov

The best time to visit Josefov depends on what you’re looking for in your travel experience. 

If you prefer a quieter, more peaceful visit, try coming early in the morning before the crowds arrive. This is also a great time to take photographs without too many people.

For those who love a lively atmosphere, visiting during the late afternoon or early evening can be exciting. This is when the streets of Josefov are bustling with tourists and locals alike.

Remember, Josefov is beautiful all year round. Whether it’s the fresh bloom of spring, the sunny days of summer, the colorful foliage of fall, or the magical snowfall in winter – each season adds charm to this historic Quarter.

Josefov offers a range of accommodations to suit every traveler’s needs. Here are a few popular options:

The InterContinental Prague: This luxury hotel is located near the Jewish Quarter. It offers spacious rooms with stunning city views and top-notch amenities like a rooftop restaurant and an indoor pool.

Hotel Paris Prague: A beautiful art nouveau building that offers comfortable rooms with vintage charm. It’s close to many attractions in Josefov, making it a convenient choice for travelers.

Maximilian Hotel: This boutique hotel combines modern design with cozy comfort. It’s just a short walk from the Jewish Quarter and provides a peaceful retreat after a day of exploring.

Old Town Square Apartments: For those who prefer self-catering accommodations, these apartments offer the comfort of home in the heart of Prague. They’re close to Josefov and other major attractions.

Remember, booking your accommodation in advance is best, especially during peak travel seasons.

Best Food in The Jewish Quarter

The Jewish Quarter is a food lover’s paradise. Here are some places you might want to try:

King Solomon Restaurant: This is the oldest kosher restaurant in Prague. They serve traditional Jewish dishes, and their matzo ball soup is a must-try!

Dinitz: Here, you can enjoy authentic Israeli cuisine in a warm and welcoming environment. Take advantage of their delicious falafel and hummus.

Café Franz Kafka: Located near Kafka’s birthplace, this café offers a variety of Czech pastries and coffee. It’s the perfect place for a relaxing break.

La Veranda: This restaurant serves a mix of Czech and international cuisine using fresh, local ingredients. Their menu changes with the season, ensuring every dish is at its peak of flavor.

Remember to try some traditional Czech food while you’re here – like goulash or trdelnik, a sweet pastry!


Exploring Josefov is like taking a journey through history. This unique Quarter in the heart of Prague offers an unforgettable glimpse into Jewish heritage and culture.

From ancient synagogues to the haunting Holocaust Memorial, from the bustling streets that inspired Franz Kafka to the legendary tales of the Golem, every corner of Josefov has a story to tell. 

It’s about more than just seeing sights in Prague. It’s about experiencing a history that continues to shape the present. Whether you’re a history buff, a food lover, or an avid traveler looking for new experiences, Josefov promises a rich and rewarding adventure.

As you walk through its narrow lanes and stand in its historic sites, you can’t help but feel a deep connection with the past. And when you leave, you’ll carry memories of Josefov that will last a lifetime.

What Are the Must-see Sights in Josefov?

The must-see sights in Josefov include the Old-New Synagogue, Pinkas Synagogue, Klausen Synagogue, the Old Jewish Cemetery, the Jewish Museum, and the Holocaust Memorial.

Is It Easy to Navigate Around Josefov?

Yes, Josefov is relatively compact and walkable. Most of its attractions are located close to each other, making it easy to explore on foot.

How Much Time Should I Allocate for a Visit to Josefov?

It’s recommended to spend at least half a day exploring Josefov to fully appreciate its history and culture. However, if you’re particularly interested in history or Jewish culture, you should spend a whole day here.

Are There Guided Tours Available in Josefov?

Yes, several guided tours provide insightful information about the history and significance of various sites in Josefov.

Can I Visit Synagogues in Josefov?

You can visit several synagogues in Josefov, including the Old-New Synagogue and Pinkas Synagogue. Please remember to respect local customs when visiting these religious sites.

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