Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Sight Seeing in Prague - Day Two

Our first stop today was the Jewish quarter.  Jewish people lived in Prague from the 1100s.  For part of those years they lived in a walled ghetto.  Eventually they were given full citizenship after centuries, and the wall came down.  Then came WWII, followed by communism, and the thriving community was gone.
This is the Jewish cemetery. There are estimated to be more than 12,000 headstones in it. The reason that they are so close together is that because in the Jewish faith, Jews must not destroy Jewish graves and in particular it is not allowed to remove the tombstone. This meant that when the cemetery ran out of space and purchasing extra land was impossible, more layers of soil were placed on the existing graves. The old tombstones were taken out and placed upon the new layer of soil, causing the tombstones to be so close to each other. As a result, the cemetery has about 12 layers of graves. It is estimated that 100,000 people are buried here.

There are several synagogues that are now museums.  They commemorate the dead as well as teach about the life of the community while it was viable.  It's hard to be there.
This is a statue for Franz Kafka.  I can't explain the symbolism.  He is one of the more famous Jewish writers.

After the Jewish museums we retreated to a restaurant to get off of our feet.  We ended up ordering strudel and pancakes with yoghurt.  It was all good, and we ate it all

While sitting at the cafe we noticed these shoes.  It is beyond me how anyone can walk on un-mortared cobblestones in these shoes.  It's hard enough in sneakers.

This is the Church of Mother of God in front of Tyn.  It replaced a church that had been on the site since the 1100s.  Construction on this church began in the 1400s.

Photography in the church was forbidden.  These are not great pictures because I was using my little camera in hopes of not being seen.  

The European heatwave continues unabated.  It's hitting 90 with humidity every day.  These guys were playing and singing in the square of Old Town.  They are wearing leather skirts.  I can not imagine how hot they had to be, standing in the sun, wearing leather.

These are buildings that front the square in Old Town.

On the hour, figures come out of this clock and tell a morality tale about greed and death.  However, it was 15 minutes after the top of the hour and it was too hot to wait for it.

We decided to take a Ricksha.  The young man pedaling and driving did a really good job of narrating.  There is a battery powered motor in the front wheel.  We both felt like he needed a little bit more engine, he was working really hard.

I missed getting the shot of the carriage driver hosing down the horses' teeth.  They were really enjoying the water.

Then it was time for another church.  This is St. Nicholas' Cathedral.  It dates from the 1700s.

There's a fair amount of paint in here.  It reminds me of the German churches.

After St. Nic we were pretty much toasted.  We walked over to Meinl's and bought food for dinner.  Then we hiked over to over to the Hotel Adria and asked them to call a cab.  The cab ride was great.  There was some sort of altercation between a car and a motorcyclist.  The yellow cab in front of us came to a complete stop in the lane to watch.  Our cab driver stuck his head out of the window and started yelling at the yellow cab, who did not move.  So our driver hopped the divider into the light rail lane, floored it and laid rubber.  Pedestrians were leaping out of the walkways at our approach.  When we reached our destination, we got out, and the yellow cab pulled up beside our cab, stopped in the middle of traffic and they continued yelling at each other.  It was very entertaining.  I have to say, the Prague taxis have been the most aggressive we've encountered to date.


  1. Another amazing day! That taxi ride sounds insane! The Jewish cemetery looked really interesting...as well as everything else!

  2. Since that is somewhere we will probably never go, I've really been enjoying your photos and descriptions. Quite a lovely place!

  3. Oh that food! The cathedrals and other buildings are lovely, but my eyes are always drawn even more towards beautiful food. :-)