Prague - Jewish Orthodox trip

Jewish communities have always been – despite the disapproval of society and the constant danger of expulsion or pogroms – centres of education. It is not surprising, therefore, that book printing was one field in which Jews also took a leading role. Indeed, the first book in Hebrew in Central and Eastern Europe was printed in Prague. 
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It was December 1512 when the first Hebrew book on Czech territory was printed in Prague, using a press financed by a consortium of Jewish printers and financiers. This was only the start of a long and successful journey for Jewish printers, who were not only among the first in the field but also excelled in craft and fine arts terms. Prague was not the only place with Jewish-owned printing presses; they were soon also in operation in Brno, Prostějov and Mikulov. In the decades that followed many titles saw the light of day on Bohemian and Moravian printing presses, the vast majority religious or religious-philosophical in character.



At the very beginning, Jewish printers produced virtually exclusively prayer books and Jewish Bibles, in large part due to the fact the poor had little access to rabbis. The teacher, translator and editor Moše Sertels summed it up with one line when in the glossary of a Hebrew Bible he employed the advertising slogan “And you won’t need to visit a Rabbi”. At the start of the 17th century books by contemporary authors, the sermons of local rabbinical authorities and even works by lay scholars, including women, began to appear. The printing works soon began to make an impact beyond the community, leading to them becoming the targets of hatred in their broader districts. An example of this was when in 1629 the authorities shut down the Katzovská and Bakovská printing works, which had been running for 30 years, due to one of many scandals kindled by informers. When they were reopened they were subject to strict censorship due to nothing but the majority society’s fear of the wisdom contained in books. This did not stop the Jewish printers and for several centuries their books became bearers of faith and knowledge.

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Your tour begins at the prayer hall at the High Synagogue. Shachrit is held there every weekday from 8:30. The next stop will be the Jewish cemetery in Žižkov, which is on the other side of the city from the High Synagogue but can easily be reached by public transport. The most visited tomb at the cemetery is the final resting place of Prague chief rabbi Ezechial Landau. An important figure in the Prague Jewish Community in the 18th century, he held onto office for almost 40 years and employed his skills of diplomacy to the benefit of the community during the Prussian siege of Prague in 1757. Among the other important figures lying in the cemetery are Landau’s son Samuel Landau and his pupil Eleazar Fleckeles. From there you take the same route back to the High Synagogue, where the afternoon Mincha afternoon prayer service awaits you at 14:00. When it concludes walk in a westerly direction for a few dozen metres to the Pinkas Synagogue. A historic mikveh discovered by archaeologists in the adjacent building in 1968 is today used for its original purpose once again. Right behind the Pinkas Synagogue is perhaps the most important historical landmark in Prague’s Jewish Quarter and one of the oldest preserved Jewish places of burial in the world, the Old Jewish Cemetery. For the Maariv evening prayer go to the Old-New Synagogue, located just a few metres from the High Synagogue. The prayer service begins at 19:30 every weekday.

Common Tips

A number of restaurants in Prague serve kosher food. You will be most welcome at the Jewish Town Hall, where the local Jewish Community runs the Shalom restaurant offering meat and dairy kosher cuisine. If you are travelling around Prague or outside the city for an entire day, a kosher lunch package from Shalom can be arranged.

Transportation

The itinerary is designed for walkers but is combined with public transport.

Day 1

km
10
hrs
9
sights
4

The High Synagogue in Prague

Alongside the Jewish Town Hall, the High Synagogue dominates Červená St. in the historic centre of Prague. The synagogue served as a private prayer hall for Jewish councillors, while the Jewish council of elders, and probably the rabbinical court, also met there.

Address

Maiselova 18
110 01 Praha 1
GPS: 50.0898764, 14.4186297

The New Jewish Cemetery at Olšany

When the old cemetery in Josefov ceased to meet the needs of Prague’s Jewish Community in terms of size it was decided in 1890 to build a new, larger cemetery that would suffice for at least 100 years. This gave rise to a burial site measuring over 10 hectares and projected to hold approximately 100,000 graves.

Address

Izraelská 712/1, 13 00, Praha 3
GPS: 50.080887, 14.478954

Opening Hours

The Old-New Synagogue

Even the mere fraction remaining of the Prague ghetto is amongst the most valuable Jewish monument in Europe. One of the most admired places, apart from the Old Jewish Cemetery from the beginning of the 15th century, the Jewish Museum and several synagogues is the Old-New Synagogue, as well as being amongst the oldest preserved Gothic buildings in Prague!

Address

Maiselova 18
110 00 Praha 1
GPS: 50.0900742, 14.4185958

Opening Hours

Entry fees

Standard fee: 200 Kč

Children fee: 140 Kč

Student fee: 140 Kč

The Old Jewish Cemetery in Prague

The greatest figures in European Jewish scholarship are at rest in the Old Jewish Cemetery in Prague. However, its history is not the only thing that makes the place unique. An indescribable feeling, a certain spirit, also makes the cemetery one of the most important Jewish historical landmarks in Europe.

Address

Široká 3
110 00 Praha 1
GPS: 50.090452, 14.417324

Opening Hours

Entry fees

Standard fee: 300 Kč

Senior fee: 200 Kč

Student fee: 200 Kč

Obecní dům - Francouzská restaurace Art Nouveau

If you are looking for a restaurant that ranks among the crème de la crème of Czech gastronomy, be sure not to miss Francouzská restaurace (French Restaurant) Art Nouveau.

Address

Nám. Republiky 5
110 00 Praha 1
GPS: 50.087640, 14.428217

CzechHouse Grill & Rotisserie

If you like to see how an experienced chef prepares your food, this restaurant is the place for you.

Address

Pobřežní 1
110 00 Praha 1
GPS: 50.093343, 14.439636

Dinitz

In the case of the Dinitz it is completely certain that the food you select will be prepared kosher. That is because the restaurant boasts an ample guarantee: a certificate from Prague’s chief rabbi.

Address

Bílkova 869/12
110 00 Praha-Staré Město
GPS: 50.091090, 14.421006

King Solomon

The King Solomon restaurant specialises in the traditional pre-war Jewish dishes of Central and Eastern Europe. While this alone makes it unique, it also delivers products that are free of chemical additives and made from scratch. 

Address

Široká 7/37
110 00 Praha 1
GPS: 50.089380, 14.418738

Radisson Blu Alcron hotel, La Rotonde

Thanks to extremely elegant Art Deco interior, you will be won over by the La Rotonde restaurant, which is located at the Radisson Blu Alcron Hotel, the moment you step inside.

Address

Štěpánská 40/623
110 00 Praha 1
GPS: 50.079867, 14.426791

Obecní dům - Plzeňská restaurace

The Plzeňská restaurace (Pilsen Restaurant) restaurant is located in the basement of the Municipal House on Prague’s Náměstí republiky (Republic Sq.). 

Address

Nám. Republiky 5
110 00 Praha 1
GPS: 50.087640, 14.428217

Restaurace Shalom

Located on the ground floor of the Jewish Town Hall, where Prague’s Jewish Community has its headquarters, Shalom offers strictly kosher food whose preparation is overseen by Rabbi Menachem Kalchaim.

Address

Maiselova 18
110 00 Praha 1
GPS: 50.089688, 14.418386

Restaurant & Garden Platina

Czech cuisine improved via modern techniques and ingredients has been a growing trend in recent times. Among the restaurants working to build on and further develop this style of cooking is Restaurant & Garden Platina.

Address

Karolíny Světlé 27
110 00 Praha 1
GPS: 50.083613, 14.414307

Švejk Restaurant U Karla

There are several restaurants in Prague whose names refer to Jaroslav Hašek’s popular literary character the Good Soldier Švejk. However, this is one of the few with a genuinely rich tradition.

Address

Křemencova 7
110 00 Praha 1
GPS: 50.078489, 14.417209

Clarion Old Town Prague

If you have decided to spend a few days in Prague, this hotel is the perfect choice thanks above all to its unique location in the historical centre of Prague, a mere five minutes by foot from Old Town Square and Náměstí Republiky (Republic Square).

Address

Clarion Hotel Prague Old Town ****
Hradební 9
110 00 Praha
GPS: 50.092737, 14.426444

EA Hotel Embassy

EA Hotel Embassy is located in a building constructed in neo-Renaissance style in 1880. It subsequently received an Art Deco renovation and the hotel’s present interior has naturally been adapted to fit that style.

Address

EA Hotel Embassy Prague ****
Petrská 1167/31
110 00 Praha 1
GPS: 50.092214, 14.435649

EA Hotel Juliš

Everybody has a different opinion when it comes to the discussion about where the absolute centre of Prague lies. However, the prevailing view is that the bustling Wenceslas Square can be regarded as the centre of the city. EA Hotel Juliš stands right on the thoroughfare, but there you will find none of the hectic pace or landmarks that exist outside.

Address

EA Hotel Juliš ****
Václavské náměstí 782/22
110 00 Praha
GPS: 50.082976, 14.424727

Hotel King David

If one is looking for a place to stay, it is hard to imagine a better location in Prague than that boasted by Hotel King David, which is in direct proximity to the historical centre, the main shopping area and the business district.

Address

Hotel King David Prague *****
Hybernská 42
110 00 Praha 1
GPS: 50.087933, 14.436722

Hotel Leonardo Prague

Hotel Leonardo has 82 rooms, each of which has its own unmistakable distinctive charm. The rooms, which are spacious, are distinguished above all by their carefully selected pieces of antique furniture, fully corresponding to the boutique style that this hotel in the very heart of Prague is founded upon.

Address

Hotel Leonardo Prague ****
Karoliny Světlé 27
110 00 Praha 1
GPS: 50.084078, 14.414299

EA Hotel Rokoko

In the middle of Wenceslas Square, commonly regarded as the absolute centre of Prague and the scene of most of the Czech Republic’s most important historical events, stands a magnificent protected building known as Palace Rokoko.

Address

EA Hotel Rokoko ****
Václavské náměstí 794/38
110 00 Praha
GPS: 50.084353, 14.427109

EA Hotel Royal Esprit

EA Hotel Royal Esprit is located in the historical, business and social centre of the magnificent city of Prague. Due to crowds of history-hungry tourists, the centre is oftentimes a relatively overcrowded and busy place.

Address

EA Hotel Royal Esprit ****
Jakubská 5
110 00 Praha 1
GPS: 50.088965, 14.426444

EA Ramada Prague City Centre

Hotel Ramada Prague City is located on the upper part of Wenceslas Square, an ideal setting-off point for visiting the landmarks and historical city centre lying just a few minutes by foot from the hotel.

Address

Ramada Prague City Centre ****
Václavské náměstí 41
110 00 Praha 1
GPS: 50.08215, 14.428139