Explore the streets of Prague's Jewish ghetto and learn about the rocky history of its inhabitants on this 3-hour walking tour. It will start at the oldest functioning synagogue in Europe, the Old-New Synagogue. It was built around 1270 and has been at the center of Prague's Jewish community since then, from their golden age in medieval times through the oppression of WWII and the Cold War.
Your tour will move on to the Town Hall. This Renaissance structure was built by the mayor of the quarter, Mordechai Maisel, who used his financial influence to improve the area's roads, sustain local groups, and support the poor. It was during this same period that Rabbi Judah Loew ben Bezalel (1525-1609) and his writings were becoming famous across Europe. In local folklore, this same Rabbi is said to have created a Golem, a monster made from the clay of the banks of the Vltava River, in order to defend the Jews.
The tour will continue to one of the largest collections of Jewish ceremonial art in the world where you'll witness the ups and downs of Prague's Jewish residents. In 1745 they were all expelled by Austrian Empress Maria Theresa, only to be brought back to help affront a financial recession. Decades later the Jewish citizens were granted religious freedom and restrictive laws regarding work and school were removed. The positive atmosphere crumbled again with the arrival of Nazi Germany's deadly nationalism and the near annihilation of the Jewish ghetto's citizens. Your tour will focus on these sad events, the Communist period which followed, but also on the slowly blossoming Jewish revival of today.