Thursday, September 27, 2012

Prague Day 1

Today we prearranged a tour of the Jewish Quarter. We organized our tour through Wittmann tours which was well worth our money. Our guide, Vida, a Prague native, was the best tour guide we have had! Not only did she grow up during communism and accurately depict what happened during that time period, but also her father is a survivor of the Holocaust so she had lots of stories about that!

We started our tour on Parizka Street, "Paris Street," which is lined with high end stores like Ferragamo, Gucci, etc. We first walked to Maisel Synagogue which only serves as a museum now. Then we walked to Pinkas Synagogue which was one of the most memorable synagogues of our trip. The first floor memorialized the fallen Jews from Prague. Interestingly enough, the name of our tour guide's father was on the wall. She said that by the time her father identified himself to the government, they had already written his name on the memorial. The second floor of the synagogue contained drawings from the children at Terazin Concentration Camp. It is fascinating and heart-wrenching to see how the children depicted what they were going through.

Our next stop was the Old Jewish Cemetery. Historians believe this to be the grave site of over 100,000 Jews from the mid 1400s to 1700s. They are piled on top of each other 7 feet deep. It was also unbelievable to see the detail on the head stones.

Next to the cemetery was Klaus Synagogue which was another museum of Jewish memorabilia. Following this, we went inside the Old-New Synagogue. It was built in the 1300s and is still in use for Orthodox Jews today. I was surprised at how small it was. Women and men are still separated in this synagogue.

We finished the tour at the Spanish Synagogue where reform Jews pray today. Of all the synagogues we saw today, this was the biggest and most lavish.

We ate a late lunch/early dinner at Kmotro which came highly recommended from a friend who lived in Prague. It was nice to have a neopolitan pizza and large greek salad after last night's heavy Czech food.

We concluded the night at the Image Black Light Theatre. Black Light Theatre was created in Prague. It is a show where the performers wear neon outfits and use props that give the illusion they are floating, flipping in mid air, all while in the dark. In between the performances, there was a hoakie pantomime show that was so stupid it was funny. I am glad we went and saw this unique show but 1.5 hours was plenty for me!

Tomorrow we are checking out the Castle District of Prague.

1. Pizza at Kmotro (please ignore the black pepper stuck in my teeth)!
2. Old-New Synagogue (pictures are not usually allowed but our tour guide sits on the board of the synagogue and said it was okay!).
3. Glimpse into this neat historical cemetery.
4. Please note the headstone coming out of the tree.
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