[Prague, Czech Republic] In Prague: The Bustling Old Town and the Tranquil Jewish Quarter

A birthday celebration in Prague was a dream come true! I was on cloud nine, perhaps even ten. Of course, the idea instantly got a BIG stamp of approval (from me :)).

B, Junior, and I set off on a long weekend trip to the capital of the Czech Republic, eager to ring in my birthday in style.

The Pretty Old Town Square. Prague, Czech Republic.

The Pretty Old Town Square. Prague, Czech Republic.

Although the Charles Bridge and the immense Prague Castle complex are its most well-known attractions, Prague is also home to other gems like the historical Jewish Quarter, the tranquil surroundings of the Strahov Monastery, and the picturesque neighborhood of Malá Strana or Lesser Town.

 

For a sense of contrasting neighborhoods, take a walk through the vibrant (and crowded) Old Town first, and then, stroll through the quiet Jewish Quarter (Josefov).

 

In the Bustling Old Town, the Heart of Prague:

The Old Town is the heart of the Golden City, and the Old Town Square is where we found all the action. Bustling with tourists, vendors, and performers, this former marketplace is a hubbub of activity. The historic square, dotted with restaurants and shops, exudes a cheerful atmosphere.

Several performers entertained adults and kids. Junior chased bubbles, and we indulged in watching the hordes of tourists walk by. Prague is definitely very popular on the tourist map. We walked around and admired various monuments and buildings such as the Gothic Tyn Church, the Old Town Hall, and the Municipal House. The Powder Tower, which was a storehouse of gunpowder in the olden days, is an intriguing structure.

Then, we were ready for the grand show – the procession of the twelve apostles at the Astronomical Clock. We arrived just in time to find a good viewing spot before the hour struck. Although Junior was dismayed at the sight of the crowd near the clock, he enjoyed the spectacle (B and I are not too fond of jostling for space, either. We avoid crowds as far as possible).

 

Splash of Colors. Old Town, Prague, Czech Republic.

Splash of Colors. Old Town, Prague, Czech Republic.

Beautiful Buildings. Old Town, Prague, Czech Republic.

Beautiful Buildings. Old Town, Prague, Czech Republic.

Standing Tall. The Powder Tower, Prague, Czech Republic.

Standing Tall. The Powder Tower, Prague, Czech Republic.

Waiting for the Apostles. Astronomical Clock, Prague, Czech Republic.

Waiting for the Apostles. Astronomical Clock, Prague, Czech Republic.

In the Well-Preserved Jewish Quarter (Josefov) of Prague:

The Jewish Quarter, known as Josefov, takes you on a journey through history, religion, and culture. Marked by tumultuous and notable events in history, today, a few old monuments remain preserved. A large part of this neighborhood was demolished between the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.

A stroll through the quarter reveals several treasures: synagogues (such as the Spanish synagogue and the Old-New synagogue), the Jewish Town Hall, and an old cemetery. It is possible to visit the monuments by buying a ticket. We strolled along the streets at a leisurely pace, observing the monuments and imagining events from history. I almost forgot to mention – Franz Kafka was born here.

In the Jewish Quarter (Josefov). Prague, Czech Republic.

In the Jewish Quarter (Josefov). Prague, Czech Republic.

In the Jewish Quarter (Josefov). Prague, Czech Republic.

In the Jewish Quarter (Josefov). Prague, Czech Republic.

Klausen Synagogue. Jewish Quarter (Josefov), Prague, Czech Republic

Klausen Synagogue. Jewish Quarter (Josefov), Prague, Czech Republic

The Old-New Synagogue. Jewish Quarter (Josefov), Prague, Czech Republic

The Old-New Synagogue. Jewish Quarter (Josefov), Prague, Czech Republic

Pinkas Synagogue. Jewish Quarter (Josefov), Prague, Czech Republic.

Pinkas Synagogue. Jewish Quarter (Josefov), Prague, Czech Republic.

 

And that was a curtain-raiser to the delightful city of Prague. More charming discoveries to be unraveled in the next post! Stay tuned!

Have you been to Prague? Which was your favorite neighborhood in the city?

 

Useful Links:

For more details about the Old Town and the Jewish Quarter (Josefov), follow these links:

http://www.prague.cz/prague-old-town.asp

http://www.czechtourism.com/c/prague-old-town-square/

http://www.prague.cz/jewish-quarter/

http://www.czechtourism.com/c/prague-jewish-town-synagogues/

http://www.jewishmuseum.cz/en/info/visit/