6.5.11

Jewish Cemetery In Prague

The Old Jewish Cemetery in Prague is the oldest Jewish cemetery in Europe and was established at the beginning of the 15th century, when Jews were forbidden to bury their dead outside of their own district.  

The cemetery contains approximately 12,000 tombstones.  
As the Jewish community flourished in Prague, the cemetery became too small.
Laws (against the Jews) would not allow for the purchase of more land for burial.  
To accommodate their deceased, earth was brought in and people were buried on top of already existing graves, with the old tombstones being raised to the surface.  
There are some area of the cemetery where people are buried 12 layers deep.  
This accounts for the close proximity and unevenness of the tombstones.


The Hebrew letters are mostly faded, I became fascinated with the symbols, often on the top of the tombstones, which have withstood the test of time.  
Symbols such as a pitcher were for Jews from the tribe of Levites and hands for those from the tribe of Kohen, the priests descendant of Aaron. (Both pictured above)

Others symbols represented professions: 
Physicians had a lancet, Tailor would have scissors and an Apothecary a mortar. 


click on any collage to make it larger

Dr. J and I visited the day after a rain fall which somehow felt and looked perfect.  
We walked slowly and quietly and it was beautiful.  

15 comments:

heather said...

it must have been such a quiet place to walk through right after the rain. 12 layers deep... there's really nothing more i can say...

Nuit said...

so amazing and creepy at the same time... wow!

Oh, just one wall dear ;) the entire room would be a bit much, I am crazy but not entirely hopeless!! LOL xoxoxoxo

Claire Kiefer said...

Cemeteries are such fascinating (and haunting) places. The Hebrew letters are beautiful. The idea of layered graves is almost too much to comprehend!

David Toms said...

I have a funny fascination for cemetaries. They are so full of history.

Karena said...

Ren I have been thee and it is indeed a very moving site.

xoxo
Karena
Art by Karena

Punctuation Mark said...

amazing images so full of history... have a great weekend!!!

Krystal said...

wow, those headstones look unreal...as in so incredibly ancient. that walk sounds totally lovely and magical i think!
(i'm also jealous you've been to finland, i would love to go there!)

shopgirl said...

That's so incredible. I visited this area quite a few years ago, but never knew about its history. Quite fascinating and disturbing at the same time.

Have a great Mother's Day weekend!

xoxo

Dilan Dilir said...

great post:)

Mama Gone Green said...

I visited there when I was in Prague many years ago and I remember just sort of feeling at awe about all the history that that place must hold.

Anya adores said...

LOVE this cemetery - it has so much going on and so many memories, I went there years ago, but still remember this place like it was yesterday. Thanks for your sweet comment on my blog, I'm following you as I would love to see what you do next. Hope you follow me too :O)
A xx

Len♥reNeverM♥re said...

Hauntingly so beautiful, Ren!
Enjoy your Mother's Day weekend with the kids!

much love*

Pat Tillett said...

What an amazing place! History for sure...
I'd love to go there with camera in hand! thanks for the story that goes with the photos also!

Shari said...

After the years of persecution faced, I find it highly ironic that the tombs can still be read after all this time.

Dani G said...

I've been loving all your photos and stories from this trip, but this one was particularly awesome. Thanks for sharing all this!!

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