Written by Alex Mazzarisi
Located in the heart of Prague, Old Town Prague or Staroměstské náměstí as the locals call it, is an ancient settlement, founded in the 12th century. Once the hub of medieval market activity, the square is now home to historical monuments and tourist attractions including Old Town Hall Tower & Astronomical Clock, Old Town Square and the Jewish Quarter.
The Jewish Quarter, where the cemetery is located, is home to some of the oldest cemeteries and synagogues in the world. During the 13th century, Jews were evicted from their homes and forced to settle in this small section of Prague, making the living quarters and other sites here a testament to hundreds of years of Jewish culture. These sites even managed to survive Nazi occupation, because Hitler intended to preserve them as “a museum to an extinct race.” The synagogues, cemeteries and housing remained untouched, and serve as a reminder of Jewish perseverance in Prague.
Today, Old Town is not only known for its various monuments, churches, town squares but also it’s vibrant café culture – Vaclav Havel (playwright and future president) would drink and dine at Café Slavia. It remains a popular destination for tourists who are looking to take a step into history with the convenience of the modern world a short walk away.