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City guide by local people

Old New Synagogue

Old New Synagogue is the oldest synagogue not only of the Jewish Town in Prague, but also one of the most valuable and longest standing Jewish monuments in Central Europe. It is still an active synagogue used for religious ceremonies and is the main house of prayer of the Prague Jewish Community. It is also known under the international name Altneuschul. The early Gothic building was built in the second half of the 13th century in the Old Town district and gradually became the center of Josefov. The synagogue is surrounded on three sides by lower buildings, currently used as a gallery for women and the hall of the synagogue. The building has rich stone decorations and historical interior furnishings such as forged Gothic bars or decorated chandeliers. Unlike other synagogues in the area, it is not managed by the Jewish Museum, but directly by the Jewish Community. In contrast to the other sacred monuments of Josefov, traditional religious ceremonies such as the reception of thirteen-year-olds among men (Bar mitzvah) or traditional Jewish weddings are still held there.

Useful information for visitors

Address: Maiselova 18, Prague 1
GPS: 50.09007420, 14.41859580

Public transport connections

Staroměstská bus stop, tram stop, metro station (green line)
Právnická fakulta bus stop, tram stop

Opening hours and admission

Up-to-date information on admission and opening hours to Old New Synagogue is available on the official website www.jewishmuseum.cz. The ticket is intended only for the synagogue and does not entitle you to access other monuments of the Jewish Town.

Interesting facts about Old New Synagogue

One of the peculiarities of the Old New Synagogue are the Hebrew inscriptions on the north and south walls of the main hall as a reminder of the 1389 ghetto massacre, when three thousand Jews were slaughtered at Easter. Among other things, they tried to save themselves by escaping to the synagogue, whose walls were stained with the blood of the victims. These remained visible until 1618, when the building was reconstructed. Another interesting feature is the box in the eastern part of the synagogue, which serves as a repository of the Torah. Originally, Old New Synagogue was named New to distinguish it from the older synagogue in Dusni Street. However, two other new synagogues were built and the name was changed to Old New (Staronova).

The Old New Synagogue is associated with the legend of Golem. This is an artificial earth creature created by Rabbi Loew to protect Prague and is activated by the so-called shem, a ball inserted in the middle of his forehead. His remains were to be stored in the attic of the synagogue, which is where they disappear forever.

Nearby historical sights