The Jewish quarter is a small area known as Josefov, named after Emperor Josef II, whose reforms helped to ease living conditions for the Jews (the Jewish Quarter contains the remains of Prague’s former Jewish ghetto). Josefov lies between the Old Town Square and the Vltava River. Here are two famous figures synonymous with this part of the city: Franz Kafka, and the mystical Golem created by Jehuda ben Bezalel, also known as Rabi Löw.
Browsing: Old-New Synagogue
Even if you have never heard about Franz Kafka and have never read one of his books (novels The Trial, America and The Castle have been translated into several languages), you will surely notice his presence while visiting Prague. T-shirts, posters and mugs carrying the writer’s image are available at every souvenir shop across Prague.
Josefov, formerly Jewish Town, came into being from a settlement of Jewish traders and moneychangers that was adjacent to the ancient ford over Vltava River on the north tip of the “Slavic Flood Island” which extended from a place presently opposite to the National Theater (Narodni divadlo) as far as Kaprova Street in the original riverbed of Vltava.
The Old-New Synagogue – known as the oldest synagogue in Europe, this building dates back to the late 13th century and was at one point the Jewish community’s main place of worship. In addition, to being an important site, it is also one of the most beautiful buildings in Prague. The building has a doubled-naved hall divided by pillars above which rests a unique five ribbed vaulting.