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Spanish Synagogue in Prague

The Spanish Jews, driven out of Spain by Isabella of Castile in the 16 th century, found a refuge in Prague. They gained an old synagogue called The Old School or Temple, probably the oldest Prague synagogue from the 12 th century. It was called Spanish Synagogue since then. The present building was built between 1867 and 1868 in Moorish style. An exhibition of the Jewish Museum in Prague is held there nowadays.

The Spanish Synagogue is situated at the corner of Dusni Street and Vezenska Street in Prague Old Town. It replaced the Old School, which became deficient in capacity in the 19 th century. The new synagogue was built with an emphasis on good acoustics, because concerts of choir music are held there.

Splendid interior of the Spanish Synagogue

It is a Neo-Renaissance building with a copula and ostentatiously decorated interior. It imitates the interior of Spanish Alhambra – there are only ornaments, stylized gilded stuccoes inspired by Islamic architecture. Handicrafts are in the similar style.

Exhibition about the history of Jews

Divine services took place there till 1941. The Spanish Synagogue was handed over to the Jewish Museum in Prague in 1950s. There is a permanent exhibition called “History of Jews since their emancipation to the present time”. The exhibition is situated in the central nave and at the gallery.

You can see an interesting monument of Prague writer Franz Kafka near the Spanish Synagogue. The statue of the writer sits on the shoulders of a headless person statue and shows him which way to go. The monument was made by Jaroslav Rona in 2003.

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