We started off Sunday with a trip to the street market to pick up a few souvenirs, then got serious about our sightseeing.

We began our tour of the Jewish quarter at the Maisel Synagogue, which houses a museum of Jews in the Bohemian lands from the 10th through the 18th centuries. The synagogue itself dates from the 16th century, but has been renovated and updated. The exhibit inside is beautifully simple.

Next, the Pinkas Synagogue, which serves as a memorial to the victims of the Shoah (Holocaust) from Bohemia and Moravia. Grouped by community, the names of victims have been handwritten on the walls. The original inscription of the 78,000 names took five years. After the fall of the communist regime, the names were restored, a project that took three years. Following flood damage in 2002, the names were restored once again.

The first floor of the Pinkas Synagogue contains a gallery of children’s drawings from Terezin concentration camp, a kind of art therapy directed by Friedl Dicker-Brandeis in which children expressed their memories and their hopes for the future. The majority of the child artists died in concentration camps. Many of the 4500 pictures, later found and donated to the Jewish Museum in Prague, have been collected in a book, I Never Saw Another Butterfly.

Last, we strolled through the Old Jewish Cemetery, adjacent to the Pinkas Synagogue, which dates from the 15th to the 18th century.

Our ticket (about 15 euro) also included the Klausen Synagogue (Museum of Jewish Customs and Traditions I), the Ceremonial Hall (Museum of Jewish Customs and Traditions II), the Spanish Synagogue (History of the Jews in Bohemia and Moravia II), and the Old-New Synagogue, but we were already overwhelmed and decided to save those for another trip.

After an emotional day of sightseeing, we settled in for dinner at the restaurant down the street recommended by the desk clerk at our hotel: Restaurant U Cerveneho kola (the Red Wheel). We had tried to go there Friday, but a film crew had the street and restaurant closed down. Later, we got pictures of the crew trailers, but we never figured out what the film was.

After dinner, we settled in at the Banker’s Bar adjacent to our hotel. A little pricey, but fancy cocktails are just that way.


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