My dad and I are on a Rick Steves Tour of Prague and Budapest. This is our third day on the tour and our fifth day in Prague.
You can find all my previous posts about this trip here.
We started the day with a tour of the Josefov neighborhood, which had been Prague’s Jewish Ghetto. A Jewish Museum was established in the early 1900s to commemorate the neighborhood’s Jewish history and memorials were later added after World War II for victims of the holocaust.
Our first stop was the Pinkas Synagogue, which has the names of 80,000 holocaust victims written on the walls.
The yellow words are the town the victims had come from, the red word is a last name, and the black words following are the names of all the victims with that last name from that town.
In the upstairs of the Pinkas Synagogue is artwork from Jewish children. They had been sent to a place called Terezín, which was a cute little community the Nazis used as propaganda to prove the Jews were being sent to a nice place. It was a stopover point for many Czech Jews before they were sent to concentration camps.
Outside is a cemetery that is hundreds of years old. Each time it filled up with graves, a new layer of dirt was added on top to create room for a new layer of graves.
I found a snail friend among the graves.
We then went to the Maisel Synagogue, which has a little video showing what the Josefov neighborhood looked like before many of the buildings were torn down and rebuilt. Some were not rebuilt, so the video shows buildings that are no longer there as well as ones you can see when you walk around.
Our last stop in the Josefov neighborhood was the Spanish Synagogue. It’s called the Spanish Synagogue because it is built in a Spanish style.
There is a Kafka statue in front of the Synagogue.
The interior was really cool. I like the support beams and the chandelier, which is a Star of David.
There are exhibits upstairs that talk about Czech Jews post WWII and the silver religious artifacts housed at the synagogue such as crowns and pointer fingers for the Torah.
Martin, our Czech guide suggested a garnet store a few blocks from the Spanish Cathedral if we wanted to get garnet jewelry, which Prague is known for. Dad and I went and got some earrings.
For lunch we went to Pizzeria Kmotra and got a margherita pizza. Dad also got tomato soup.
While we were eating, this guy showed up. I wanted to take him, but he was wearing a tag.
This is the Mayor’s Elevator, on the right side of the foyer. The President’s Elevator (formerly the Emperor’s Elevator) is on the left.
After lunch we went to the Municipal House, which is very fancy. It’s a multipurpose building that does concerts and dance lessons and things. It opened in 1912 and was one of the first buildings in Europe to have electric lights and elevators.
Smetana Hall is a concert venue inside the Municipal House named after Bedrich Smetana, a Czech composer. The organ in Smetana Hall is also electric.
Many of the rooms inside the Municipal House were designed by Alfons Mucha. After we finished our tour, we went to the Mucha Museum and saw a lot of his work and a video of his life.
We got back to the hotel just in time for dad’s friend Greg to pick us up for dinner. Greg and his wife are missionaries in Prague. We went to a restaurant near their house, then went to their house for dessert, which was some kind of Czech cake.
Find all my posts from this trip here.