Jewish city of Prague - Josefov
The history of Jews in Prague dates back to the 10th century, when money changers and merchants of Jewish origin began to settle here, who originally owned a settlement in the Lesser Town. During the middle of the 12th century, however, the Jews moved to the territory of today's Prague's Josefov, whose borders were precisely defined from the beginning and could not be extended, so during the period of highest population density lived about 1,900 people, on about 93 square meters.
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Interesting facts Jewish city of Prague - Josefov
It can be said that Prague's Josefov was an independent territory with its own self-government, synagogues, which were the most important buildings in the Jewish ghetto, and schools. Synagogues were used not only for worship, but also for meetings of teachers and students or to discuss public affairs.
The equality of Jews was not enacted until 1848, and from that year onwards Jews were able to move freely outside the ghetto and could also attend non-Jewish schools. The wealthier families moved out of the ghetto, and only a poor person remained inside Josefov. The situation and condition of the ghetto, which was slowly beginning to take the form of a screaming neighborhood, became alarming at the end of the 19th century, when very poor hygienic conditions prevailed. By decision of the Prague City Hall, 20 streets and 300 houses from the Middle Ages were demolished at the time, while only the original part of the ghetto, ie Josefov, as we know it today, has been preserved to this day.
The oldest synagogue in Europe stands in Josefov and is called Staronová. The center of the synagogue is occupied by the oratory, around which are seated seats for the most important members. One of the seats, marked with the Star of David and the number 1, once belonged to the legendary Golem maker Rabbi Löw.
The youngest, the Spanish Synagogue, dates back to 1868, and in addition to it, it is possible to visit the Klaus Synagogue, the Pinkas Synagogue, the Maisel Synagogue or the Old Jewish Cemetery in Josefov.
Author: Andrea Štyndlová