6 historic Czech shuls survive the bulldozers

MORE than a thousand years of history spring to life from the viewing deck of Prague’s Old Town Hall, the first Jews having arrived as far back as the 900s.

Prague Castle dominates the far side of the Vltava River with the hilly Lesser Town nestled below.

On this side, the Old Town dates back to the 13th century, with construction of the so-called New Town beginning 100 years later.

The Jewish quarter can trace its roots back almost as far.

While much of the Jewish area was demolished in the early part of the 20th century to make room for more modern buildings and a burgeoning population, remarkably six synagogues survive to this day and are the main elements of the Jewish Museum of Prague.

Completed in 1270, the Old New Synagogue is the Jewish prayer house in longest continual use in the world with daily evening services held in the Gothic synagogue.

Half a block away, just past the old Jewish town hall, stands the Maisel Synagogue from the late 1500s, which is the best place to start a tour of the Jewish museum offering.

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