09.22.2011 - 09.22.2011
I spent the morning in Josefov (Jewish Town). There are very few Jews living in Prague today, but until World War II, the city was considered one of the great Jewish cities of Europe. Josefov was the center of activity for the Jewish community.
There are several synagogues in the area including the Maisel Synagogue
and the Pinkas Synagogue.
Another interesting site was the Old Jewish Cemetery. I hadn’t paid to go in, so I just got a peek through a window.
It’s a very crowded cemetery. During the 15th century, the government wouldn’t allow Jews to bury their dead anywhere but on this small plot of land, so they were forced to bury people twelve deep. The tombstones were placed one in front of another.
The Old-New Synagogue is Europe’s oldest remaining Jewish house of worship and has been used for more than 700 years.
After I left Josefov, I went to St. Wenceslas Square, which is not really a square, but a street. It is in the Nové Mĕsto (New Town) part of Prague, not that it’s “new” in American terms.
At the end of Wenceslas Square is the National Museum. It’s an imposing building. It was actually damaged in 1968 when Soviet soldiers mistook it for a government building and shot at it.
In front of the museum is a statue of St. Wenceslas, the patron saint of Bohemia.
A little further into Nové Mĕsto is the home where the composer Antonín Dvořák lived. It is now a museum dedicated to him and his music.
Inside, I saw his writing desk, his Cambridge graduation robe, his viola and some other personal effects.
There were also some displays about his music.
After I finished at the museum, it was still early in the afternoon and I wasn’t sure what to do with the rest of my day. I decided to take the metro back to my hotel for a little break and to think about what to do next. So, I consulted with my handy travel guide and decided to make a visit to the St. Agnes Convent. I’m so glad I did, because it was one of the highlights of the trip. It is a beautiful building that now houses a museum of medieval art. The reason I liked it so much was that it was off the beaten path a bit. I had become a little weary of the tourists, so this was a nice break from the crowds.
Instead of taking the metro back to the hotel, I decided to take a long walk back to Old Town along the Vltava River. I really enjoyed the peaceful walk. There are several beautiful bridges including the Čechův Most and the Mánesův Most. And, of course there is the Charles Bridge.
As I was walking, I came across a little square where I saw a statue of Antonín Dvořák. I didn’t know it was there, so it was funny that I came across it on the day I visited his museum.
For dinner, I went to a restaurant near the Charles Bridge at the Hotel U Zlatého Stromu and had some goulash in their sidewalk dining area. It was fun to sit and look through the pictures I had taken during the day and watch all the tourists on their way to the Charles Bridge.