Established in the 15th century, the Old Jewish Cemetery is one of the most important surviving monuments in Prague’s Jewish Quarter.
Burials took place in this cemetery from 1439 until 1787 and it contains more than 12,000 tombstones. One of the most prominent figures buried here is Rabbi Low, associated with the famous legend of the “Golem”.
The Old Jewish Cemetery is part of the Jewish Museum, which includes 5 beautiful Synagogues, the Ceremonial Hall, and the Education and Culture Center.
The Jewish Museum offers an enormous collection of Judaic Art, as well as documents and historical artifacts on the life of Jews in the region.
Many travelers refer to Prague as the Paris of Eastern Europe. But I say Prague is the Prague of Eastern Europe, a city whose beauty and charm are so unique there’s no need to make any comparisons.
If you have a few days to explore this fascinating city, here’s what you can do. And remember, the best way to see Prague is by walking so bring comfortable shoes!
Wenceslas Square – Start your trip at this historical center. Here you will see two very important monuments: the Statue of St. Wenceslas, who is the patron saint of the Czech Republic, and the National Museum (see photo).
The National Museum is one of the most visited places in the Czech Republic. It is a world-class natural history museum with impressive collections in areas such as paleontology, zoology, botany and anthropology.
Another area of the museum is archeology, where you can find artifacts with historical and artistic values such as weapons, jewelry, and Bohemian porcelain and glass. The numismatic collection offers a huge compilation of foreign coins and medals.
From this museum, walk down the boulevard and head towards Old Town Square. This is the true heart of Prague and has been the scene of many historical events since the 10th century.
The Old Town Square is surrounded by picturesque buildings of Romanesque or Gothic styles.
Some of the most dominant structures here are Kinsky Palace and the Church of Our Lady before Tyn (see photo).
At Old Town Square you can also find plenty of shops, cafés, restaurants, and a visitor’s center office.
The Orloj – Prague’s Astronomical Clock in Old Town Square attracts crowds that gather in front of the clock tower to see a unique mechanical show.
At the top of the hour you will not only hear the chimes but two upper windows will open as colorful figures of the Apostles appear for their hourly procession. In the middle and lower parts are the astronomical dial and the calendar dial surrounded by other symbolic figures.
While you’re still in Old Town Square, why not try a freshly made Trdelnik. A what?
I know, the name is quite something, but Trdelnik is a delicious Czech pastry you can find in many stands around Old Town (see photo).
From here, head to the most visited destination in all of Czech Republic: The Prague Castle, located on the other side of the Vltava River.
The Prague Castle – Not only is this colossal castle a UNESCO World Heritage Site, but according to the Guiness Book of World Records, the Prague Castle is the largest castle complex in the world!
Some highlights at the caste complex include the Old Royal Palace, the St. Vitus Cathedral, the Basilica of St. George, watching the Changing of the Guard, and the beautiful Royal Gardens.
And speaking of gardens, Prague has plenty of beautiful parks and gardens.
These parks and gardens are great to relax or escape the crowds.
Some parks close to the historic center are the Franciscan Garden (with a small playground for children), Petřín Hill (check the tower observatory for great views of Prague), and Vrtba Gardens (adorned with beautiful Baroque statues).
Other museums to visit in Prague are the National Gallery, Museum Kampa, and the Museum of Communism. The first two are great alternatives for art lovers, and the Museum of Communism offers an interesting cultural and historical experience on the rise and fall of communism.
* Photos courtesy of Melanie Villarreal