Josefov is the former Jewish part of the Old Town of Prague. It is the northern part of the old city centre, sometimes called in German Josefstadt or Josephstadt. The Jews of Prague lived in Josefov around 1200. Until about 1850 it was one of the largest Jewish quarters in Europe. Today many tourists come to the former Jewish quarter. Above all, they visit the remains of Jewish life in the Josefov These are mainly the Jewish cemetery and 5 synagogues. With Prague Castle and Charles Bridge, Josefov is one of the most important and most visited sights in Prague. Especially the old Jewish cemetery is world-famous.
Important: Since things are quite difficult to understand, we recommend a 2.5 hour guided tour of the Jewish Josefov including admission ticket. You should book this in advance on the Internet (almost 40 euros), as the capacities in German are limited.
Old Jewish Cemetery Prague
Short overview history of Josefov (Josefstadt)
Jews already lived in the area from about 1000 AD. From the 13th century onwards Josofov developed into a larger Jewish quarter, and shortly afterwards the first large synagogue, the Altneu Synagogue, was built. Prague’s Jewish city experienced the greatest period in the 16th century, during the time of the legendary Rabbi Löw. For centuries, the life of the Jews in the Josefstadt was marked by a lack of space. Far too many people lived in the district of Prague. This can still be seen today in the famous cemetery. Here there are an incredible number of gravestones in a very small space, often people were buried in up to 12 layers on top of each other.
In 1850 the Jews finally got the right to live wherever they wanted. Many moved to other parts of the city, the Josefov quarter changed. Later in the 19th century many of the old houses and narrow streets were demolished, a new quarter in the centre of Prague was built around 1900. Today only a few things like the cemetery and the synagogues remind of the former large Jewish quarter.
Jewish town hall in the district Josefov
Important: Because some things are quite difficult to understand, we recommend a 2.5 hour guided tour of the Jewish Josefov including admission ticket. You should book this in advance on the Internet (almost 40 euros), as the capacities are limited.
Important sights in Josefov
The important Jewish sights can all be visited with a ticket for about 20 euros (see below under Tickets).
The Jewish cemetery of Prague is one of the absolute top sights of Prague. Our article about this topic
The Pinkas Synagogue is one of the oldest preserved synagogues. Today there is a list of almost 80,000 names of Jewish people who were kidnapped by the Nazis and murdered for the most part. Our article on this topic
The Spanish Synagogue is the newest of the many synagogues (19th century). The architecture and interior are reminiscent of Moorish Spain and the Alhambra. Our article on this subject
Spanish synagogue in the Josefstadt Prague
The Maisel synagogue from the late 16th century burned down in 1689, but was rebuilt much later (at the end of the 19th century). Our article on this subject
The Klausen Synagogue is the largest of the many synagogues in Josefov in Prague. Our article on this topic
The Old New Synagogue is perhaps the most famous Jewish building in Prague. It is the oldest preserved synagogue in Europe (from the 13th century). Our article on this subject
The Old New Synagogue in Josefov (Centre Prague)
In addition, you can also visit the Jewish Ceremonial Hall and an art exhibition called Robert Guttmann Gallery with an admission ticket for Jewish Josefov.
These are the most important Jewish sights in Prague’s Josefov district. There are also several other attractions such as the birthplace of Kafka or the Rudolfinum. These have nothing to do with the Jewish Museum Prague and have to be paid extra.
All above mentioned Jewish sights, except the Altneu Synagogue, belong to the “Jewish Museum Prague”. However, they are located in various streets in the district, but no more than a hundred meters from each other. Only the Spanish Synagogue is a little further away (about 200 meters).
There is a common ticket for the above mentioned synagogues, the Jewish cemetery, the Robert Guztmann Gallery and the ceremonial hall. This costs 350 Czech crowns for adults. Children under 15 years, as well as older pupils and students up to 26 years pay 250 crowns, children under 6 years can visit the Jewish sights for free. The OldNew Synagogue costs 200 crowns extra, but you should still visit it. For some time now there is also a combi-ticket including the Old-New-Synagoge for 500 crowns for adults (about 20 Euro). You can buy the tickets for Josefov on the spot. Most tourists buy combined tickets for the Jewish Josefov at the Pinkas Synagogue, which is also the entrance to the Old Jewish Cemetery Prague.
Important: Guided tours and Prague Card Jewish Quarter Josefov
Since things are quite difficult to understand, we recommend a good guide through the Jewish Josefov. You should book this in advance on the Internet (duration about 2.5 hours), as the capacities are limited. >>> Link with more information and booking
With the great Prague Card the entrance to the Jewish sights is free of charge. The Prague Card is a tourist ticket with free entry to many sights in Prague and much more. >>> On this link you can find the Prague Card and more information.
Maisel Synagogue Prague
Opening hours Josefov
Of course, the district is always open. Thus, the following information refers to the Jewish sights described above. Saturday is rest day, on all other days (except some Jewish holidays) one can visit the synagogues, the cemetery etc. from 9 o’clock. In summer everything is open until 6 p.m., in winter only until 4.30 p.m. due to the early darkness in Prague. These opening hours apply to all Jewish sights in the Josefstadt of Prague (Josefov).