The Old Jewish Cemetery in Prague, Czech Republic

The old Jewish cemetery in Prague Czech Republic has an estimated 12,000 visible tombstones, with up to 100,000 burials. The cemetery was active from the early 1400s until 1786, with the oldest marker dated 1439.  It is one of the world’s oldest Jewish cemeteries, the largest Jewish cemetery in Europe, and considered to be one of the most important Jewish cemeteries in the world.

Visiting here is sobering and surreal at the same time. It is quiet. People walk around in wonder and respect. National Geographic Travel magazine has ranked it amongst the world’s top 10 cemeteries to visit.

The small space was all that was available for the Jewish cemetery.  As Jews don’t move or unearth bodies, new graves were added on top of existing graves, up to 10 deep in spots.  If more dirt was needed, only the stones were moved to the surface. It was very bizarre and almost eerie to be here.

Images of the Old Jewish Cemetery in Prague

Grave stones in the Old Jewish Quarter in Prague Czech Republic

Multiple grave markers covered each grave; some seemed organized, others in disarray.

Grave markers in the Old Jewish Quarter in Prague Czech Republic

Overgrown in spots, the maintenance of this overcrowded cemetery is quite difficult.

Rabbi praying in the Old Jewish Quarter in Prague

In the distance, we can see a rabbi praying over the grave marker for Rabbi Low (Rabbi Jehuda Leva ben Becalel) who died in 1609. It is considered to be the most famous of the graves here in the old Jewish cemetery in Prague.

Old Jewish Quarter in Prague

Like many visitors, Sarah puts a stone on the gravestone of Rabbi Low. This tradition of unknown origin is a sign of respect.

One wall of the Old Jewish Quarter in Prague

Surrounded by a solid wall, there was a finite amount of space in the old Jewish cemetery in Prague.

Lion grave stone in the Old Jewish Quarter in Prague

We saw only a few more substantial grave markings like this one.

Old Jewish Quarter in Prague

Grave marker on the wall.

Hebrew writing on an Grave stones in the Old Jewish Quarter in Prague Czech Republic

The cemetery tells a fascinating historical story.

The old Jewish quarter in Prague has a fascinating history, as the city was used by Hitler to store all of the stolen Jewish artefacts from the Holocaust. We toured the area and wrote about it here: A Tour of The Old Jewish Quarter in Prague – One Of Europe’s Oldest. If you visit Prague, I highly recommend setting aside time to take a tour of the Jewish section. Small groups are better, as the history is fascinating and leads to many questions.

⇒  Check availability on a Small-Group Walking Tour in Prague: Stories of Jewish Prague

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The largest Jewish cemetery in Europe, the Old Jewish Cemetery in Prague is a must see when visiting the Czech Republic.

Read more about guest author Rhonda’s adventures in Prague. An expert at packing light, you can get a free copy of her packing list when you sign up to follow her travel blog, Albom Adventures:

Had you heard about this old Jewish cemetery in Prague before?  Have you visited here?

Disclaimer: I paid a fee allowing me to take photos in the old Jewish cemetery and use them here. All photos on this page copyright Rhonda Albom. All rights reserved. 

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About Guest Author Rhonda Albom

Capturing the essence of travel through photography, Rhonda Albom is the primary author and photographer at Albom Adventures and a regular guest poster at Kibitz Spot. She is an American expat based in New Zealand. She travels the world with her husband, and sometimes with their teenage daughters.

Comments

  1. Wow. That is strange.

  2. I love old cemeteries, and this one look awesome.

  3. Wow! Looks more like a headstone dumping ground than a cemetery!

  4. I think it looks interesting 🙂

    Have a tabulous week

  5. Talk about a close knit family…that’s a little too close. Interesting!
    Teresa from NanaHood.com

  6. Whoa..there is certainly a lot of history in those cemeteries. Happy WW

  7. My parents were there 2 weeks ago, in that cemetery!

  8. Is this the Cemetery, thats on the top of a hill, and sort of overlooks the river on one side and the city as well?? I went to visit one when I was there last year!!! love the old headstones…

    Mines up as well at AussiePomm – Pelican in-flight

    Have a great day!!

  9. I’ve been to that cemetery in Prague. It is really beautiful! Great pictures!

  10. The Mommy says:

    Fascinating! I would love to see it for myself.

  11. I bet it’s an emotional place to visit.

  12. What an incredible place, it almost looks like a stonemasons yard – at first glance you’d be forgiven for not realising it was a cemetery!

  13. I love cemeteries. They bring me back down to earth.

  14. Wow! Those are amazing tombstones.

  15. Happy Wordless.
    Thanks for hosting.
    Nan
    http://www.blogshe.net

  16. I am so amazed at the condition of the tombstone considering all that they have been through. I love that you post these historical photos every week 🙂

  17. I’ve never seen a cemetery quite like it!

  18. Old cemeteries are cool, but this one does not look much like a cemetery.

    If you have not done so yet, we would love to have you come share/link via our WWHop: http://www.craftyspices.com/hops/wwhop
    Happy Wordless Wednesday!

  19. Wow, looks interesting…plenty of headstones to read and do etchings on.

  20. Great shots. Visiting late for WW.

  21. Wow, they must have buied them deep. I have never seen a cemetery like that. The Hoff in Dundee comes close.

  22. When ever I look at old cemetery’s I always admire the larger headstones you get. Today in the UK there is a height limit but the older stones are not restricted like this, I bet there is some really special work gone into some of those stones

  23. I have never heard of this cemetery before, but it looks very interesting. Like you said, it sounds a bit eerie. I’m not sure if I would have the guts to visit!

    ♥emma
    itsemmaelise.com

  24. Wow. That’s really interesting.

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