Prague's dark side.

Prague Travel Blog

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6:30 am, view from our window.

Prague’s Jewish Quarter was once home to about 35,000 Jews, but under Nazi occupation most of its residents were deported to concentration camps. Only about 1,200 returned to Prague after the war. Dark times. Today, the Jewish Quarter is home to synagogues that have been turned into museums, a small Jewish community, and a hell of a lot of tourists.

My main interest in this neighborhood was its old Jewish Cemetery. It was a fairly short walk from our apartment, and after pushing our way through the large tour groups that blocked the narrow streets (arg!), Steve and I stood in a long line in order to buy a ticket. The tickets were $20 each and allowed us into several synagogues as well as the cemetery.
It's hard to tell where one grave ends and the next begins.


This place was an amazing jumble of tombstones tilting in crazy angles. The small cemetery was used from the 15th to 18th centuries, and lack of space required that coffins be piled on top of each other and tombstones to be crowded together. The inscriptions were in Hebrew and therefore incomprehensible to me, but my book says they date back to 1439. A path runs around the perimeter of the cemetery for the tourists to follow, a system seems to prevent contemplation and reverence. We really couldn’t spend much time in one area, lest we hold up the people behind us. I didn’t like this set-up, but I suppose it’s the only way it could work since the areas between the stones are impassable. I sure would have liked more moody lighting for my photos (and perhaps a fog bank could have rolled in?), but overall I liked this place quite a lot.
Prague Castle evening close up.


Next we went to Klausen Synagogue, which houses a rather morbid collection of Jewish funeral paraphernalia. It was too crowded so we didn’t stay long. Then we went to the Pinkus Synagogue,which has a touching and shocking exhibit. All of the walls are painted with the names of the Bohemian and Moravian Jews killed in WWII. There are 80,000 names in all and it seems to go on and on forever, one room after another. It’s just unbelievable. In another room are paintings and drawings that were done by Jewish children who were being held at Terezin Camp. The paintings hinted at darkness and sadness, but also of happiness and even optimism. A little placard accompanied each drawing, telling the artist’s name, birth date, and date of his or her death. All the children whose drawings were on display had perished. It was sad beyond words.      

Later that night, we left our apartment to explore Prague by night. We roamed the busy streets and went to Charles Bridge to admire the beautiful lights of Prague Castle. I took lots of photos and some of them turned out nicely. I think I may have mentioned before … this is a truly stunning city. Even in the dark, Prague impresses.


 
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6:30 am, view from our window.
6:30 am, view from our window.
Its hard to tell where one grave …
It's hard to tell where one grave…
Prague Castle evening close up.
Prague Castle evening close up.
Early morning close up of Prague C…
Early morning close up of Prague …
Breakfast is served. Who needs a t…
Breakfast is served. Who needs a …
He is there every morning.
He is there every morning.
Tour groups crowding the Jewish Qu…
Tour groups crowding the Jewish Q…
Tombstones at the Old Jewish Cemet…
Tombstones at the Old Jewish Ceme…
Steve, looking all bad ass in his …
Steve, looking all bad ass in his…
The tilting tombstones of Pragues…
The tilting tombstones of Prague'…
Tombstones crowded side-by-side.
Tombstones crowded side-by-side.
Jewish custom is to place stones o…
Jewish custom is to place stones …
Crowds of tombstones in the Jewish…
Crowds of tombstones in the Jewis…
Tilting tombstones in the Jewish C…
Tilting tombstones in the Jewish …
And more.
And more.
Obviously, I couldnt stop taking …
Obviously, I couldn't stop taking…
Sunlit tombstone.
Sunlit tombstone.
Sunlight on the tombstones.
Sunlight on the tombstones.
The names on the wall at Pinkus Sy…
The names on the wall at Pinkus S…
Close-up of the victims names pai…
Close-up of the victim's names pa…
Bohemian glass for the tourists.
Bohemian glass for the tourists.
In the window...
In the window...
Prague Castle area from Charles Br…
Prague Castle area from Charles B…
The National Theater as seen from …
The National Theater as seen from…
Prague Castle and the Charles Brid…
Prague Castle and the Charles Bri…
Night scene in Prague.
Night scene in Prague.
Old Town Square in the evening.
Old Town Square in the evening.
A refreshing stop!
A refreshing stop!
Peek a boo with beer again.
Peek a boo with beer again.
Prague
photo by: vulindlela