Old Jewish Cemetery

August 27, 2015

Visiting the Old Jewish Cemetery was one of the most memorable part about this trip. Prague being so pretty and romantic in Spring time surrounded by beautiful nature and architectures, it was so surreal to have come into this little pocket of quietness. This second largest Jewish cemetery in Europe lies in Josehov, in Jewish quarter of Prague. The cemetery was founded in the 15 th century, the oldest existing gravestone dates back to 1439. Apparently it is among the top ten cemeteries to visit around the world according to National Geographic magazine.

When you walk into the cemetery you will be shocked to the number of tombstones layered together just lying. It is nothing you ever seen in a cemetery. At least it was for me.

Although there isn’t an accurate number but it has been estimated that there are approximately 12,000 tombstones presently visible, and there may be as many as 100,000 burials in all. It’s not stated very clearly as to why tombs are layered and squeezed in tangle on wikipedia nor on other websites but there are notes on how Nazis had used Jewish grave stones as slabs for sidewalks. Also in Jewish culture,  it is strictly forbidden to dig out buried corpses, the tombs were squeezed in or even piled up on several layers. Hence the oldest tombs appear next to the newest ones in a disorderly tangle.

One of the images that struck to me the most is where tombstones that are not related, even from different generations are standing side by side, almost leaning onto someone’s shoulder. It made me think of how people rely on each other and support one another. Coping to live strongly in this beautiful nature even after your passing. By the time you leave, you find so much beauty in this chaotic disorder.

Visiting cemeteries makes you think a lot about histories, cultures and our ancestors. We may come from different cultures or backgrounds but we are one as humankind, we will also be part of history one day. What can we learn from history? In many ways cemeteries are the place to be in touch with part of our history.






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