April 3, 2021 charlesbridgehostel0

Old Castle Stairs

The old castle stairs connect the eastern gate of Prague Castle, a place known as Na opyši, within the Klárov district of Prague. They are about 150 metres long and were built in 16th century. The present appearance of the Old Castle Stairs, which includes 121 stone steps, is the result of the reconstruction carried out between 1835 and 1837. The steps are walled on both sides.


St Wenceslas Vineyard

When we walk from Klárov the terraces of the southern gardens below the Prague Castle stretch behind the wall on our left hand side. The former vineyard of St Wenceslas is hidden behind the wall on our right hand side. It was here where he worked, pressing grapes and guarding the place at the beginning of the 10th century.


Entrance To The Castle

The main road leading from the East to the Castle led through here, across Opyš. This entrance to the castle was known as Malé vrátce or Malá fortna. In front of the castle entrance there used to be a deep ditch with draw-bridge dating back to  1278.


Picturesque Place

The name ‚Old Castle Stairs‘ has been officially used since 1829, and was probably derived from the Old Route which led to the castle as early as the 9th century. This route is considered to be one of the most picturesque places in Prague. It even inspired a Czech patriot and musician, Karel Hašler who was tortured to death by German occupiers after writing the popular song “Po Starých zámeckých schodech” which means “On the Old Castle Stairs”.  Nowadays it is mainly used by tourists as one of the busiest access routes to Prague Castle.


Old Castle Stairs are only 5 minutes from our hostel, book one of our cosy private double rooms!

April 3, 2021 charlesbridgehostel0

Jubilee Synagogue

The Jerusalem or Jubilee Synagogue represents the most recently built, as well as the largest synagogue edifice, in Prague. However, it is situated outside of the Jewish Quarter, in the proximity of the Main Railway station and Jindrisska Tower in Prague.


The Jubilee Synagogue was built in 1905-06 in the Art Nouveau and pseudo-moorish styles to make up for demolished synagogues of the former  Jewish Ghetto. It acquired its name in honor of the 50th anniversary of the reign of Franz Josef I. Nowadays, services are held held mostly on Fridays and Saturdays. The synagogue contains 850 seats, and the side galleries are designated for women who also have their own separate entrance.


Beautiful Facade

The front facade of the synagogue is characterized by its large arch and its rosette-window with the Jewish star inside. The western facade of the synagogue bears both Czech and Hebrew inscriptions. On both sides of the entrance, the facade is dominated by two towers. The design of the synagogue certainly stands in the row of houses lining that street.


If you want to sleep near by the Jubilee Synagogue, book from wide selection of our rooms and apartments!

April 3, 2021 charlesbridgehostel0

Klausen Synagogue

The Klausen Synagogue is the only Baroque synagogue in Prague. The synagogue is situated in the neighbourood of the Ceremonial Hall. The complex consisted of three small houses, called “klausen” giving the Klausen Synagogue its name. The establishment of the synagogue was supported by Jewish Maecenas Mordechai Maisel who bought a large building lot in the proximity of the cemetery where construction started. The Klausen synagogue was heavily damaged by the fire in the Jewish ghetto in 1689. The present synagogue was built here in the early Baroque style in 1694. Initially, it was called the New Klausen School. In the middle ages it was considered to be the largest Prague synagogue, the second most important synagogue of the Prague Jewish community and the main seat of Prague burial-society.



The building was modified between 1882 and 1883 to the designs of the architect Bedřich Munzberger and other alterations followed after 1921. During the Nazi occupation the interior was badly damaged, but after the Second World War, extensive reconstructions were carried out during 1979-1984 and 1995-1996.


Klausen Synagogue Today

Nowadays it houses a permanent exhibition of Jewish Customs and Traditions. It is situated in the main nave of the building and highlights the significance of the synagogue and the importance of specific Jewish feasts. In the gallery you will find an exhibition devoted to the everyday life of the Jewish family and customs connected with birth, circumcision, bar mitzvah, wedding, divorce and the Jewish household.


Klausen Synagogue is just 15 minutes walk from our hostel, stay with us!

April 3, 2021 charlesbridgehostel0

Maisel Synagogue

The Prague quarter of Josefov offers six preserved synagogues from the former Jewish Ghetto. One of them is the Maisel Synagogue which was built in accordance with the agreement issued by the emperor Rudolph II for the wealthy mayor of the Jewish Town in 1592.


Mordechai Maisel

This synagogue acquired its name in honor of its builder Mordechai Maisel who was the Mayor of the Jewish Town and who initiated and financed the extensive Renaissance reconstruction of the ghetto. Incidentally, the Maisel family actually wanted to build the synagogue as their own private house of worship in the late 16th Century.  There are several legends which tell how Mordechai Maisel gained his money. One legend tells us of forest sprites bringing large quantities of money to him. Another,  that Mordechai had a small shop in Jewish Quarter and one day a strange man arrived and left a large suitcase there. He said he would return for his luggage, but he was never seen again. When Mordechai opened the suitcase several years later, he found a huge sum of cash inside.



It was constructed as a new building in the Renaissance style, but was still closely linked to the previous traditional Gothic style. The original project was designed by the architect Juda Coref de Herz and the construction works were supervised by the builder Josef Wahl. Unfortunately, the building completely was completely destryed by fire 1689. After reconstruction, the synagogue was further modified by the architect J.M.Wertmuller between 1862-1864. In the course of the extensive area clearance of Josefov, the building was modified into the neo-Gothic style between 1893 and 1905. The present appearance of the synagogue represents the work of Prof. Alfred Grott. The Maisel synagogue remained in the original Renaissance style and the ground plan was designed as a tripartite central hall with the upper storey women´s section. Interestingly, it was also the first Prague synagogue accessible to women.


Second World War

During the Second World War the synagogue was used as a repository of the Jewish artifacts, which Hitler planned to use as exhibits in a “Museum of the Extinct Jewish Race”, which he intended to establish.

Maisel Synagogue Today

Nowadays the Maisel synagogue houses one of the exhibitions of the Prague Jewish Museum as well as a repository of artifacts. Its permanent exhibition is devoted to the history of the Jewish community in Bohemia and Moravia from their first historical settlements to the beginning of their emancipation.


The Maisel Synagogue is just 15 minutes walk from our hostel, book from wide selection of rooms and apartments!


April 3, 2021 charlesbridgehostel0

Spanish Synagogue

This beautiful synagogue was built between 1867 and 1868 on the site of the oldest Prague Jewish house of prayer. It was designed in a Moorish style by the architects Vojtěch Ignátz Ullmann and Josef Niklas. Its front facade was inspired by the Leopoldstädter Tempel which was built in Vienna, Austria.


Moorish Style

This temple was built in 1853 as a tripartite facade with a tall central section flanked by lower wings on each side. As with its counterpart in Vienna, the central section of the synagogue is topped by a pair of domed turrets. The interior decoration of the Spanish Synagogue features a profusion of Moorish motifs depicting flowers and geometric patterns in brilliant reds, blues and greens with gold trim. The entire interior is full of color on the ceiling and the walls. The stained glass windows repeat the brilliant colors and patterns. The windows as well as the interiors were designed by the architects A. Baum and B. Münzberg and their work was not completed until 1893. In the same year, the city authorities decided to tear down most of the old Jewish ghetto. Three sides of the main hall are lined by galleries on metal structures, which fully open onto the nave. The Islamic motives are applied also on the walls, doors and gallery balustrades.


The typical synagogues in Europe usually put a bimah in the center of the main nave and benches around the walls. Supprisingly the Spanish Synagogue has benches arranged in rows in the center of the nave, similar to Christian churches. All of the orthodox synagogues use to have a separate women’s gallery which is situated above the main hall, like a balcony. The Spanish Synagogue contains beautiful cast iron columns holding up the women’s gallery.


During the Second World War, the Germans converted the building into a repository of confiscated Jewish artifacts. In 1955 the synagogue was handed over to the Prague Jewish Museum. All the interiors were reconstructed to designs by the architect Otto Rothmayer between 1958 and 1959. The last extensive repairs were carried out by the architect Petr Běťák between 1995 and 1998. In 1998, it was made accessible to the public again.

Spanish Synagogue Today

Nowadays the synagogue is used as a museum as well as a concert hall. For example František Škroup, the composer of the Czech national anthem, worked here as the choir director in 1836-45.

Name Of The Synagogue

There are two theories about who the Spanish synagogue acquired its name. Firstly, that the Moorish architectural style may have been found reminiscent of the Golden age of Jewish culture in Spain. The second theory is that the synagogue was constructed on the site of the city’s most ancient synagogue, which may originally have been used by Byzantine Jews. This fact may have given rise to the legend of a historic Sephardic community. But we may never know.


If you want to stay near by this amazing synagogue, book one of our beautiful apartments!


March 13, 2021 charlesbridgehostel0

Pinkas Synagogue

The Pinkas Synagogue is in the Prague quarter of Josefov. This synagogue was founded as the private house of worship of Aaron Meshullam Horowitz who built it in 1535 between his house and the Old Jewish Cemetery wall. The building protrudes from the cemetery wall and is situated below the present street level. In its central courtyard you might find two doors, one of them leading directly to the building, and the other one serving as the entrance to the Old Jewish Cemetery. The Pinkas synagogue was built in two phases. In the first half of the 16th century, it was built as a Late Gothic building with Renaissance features. It gained its final Renaissance appearance at the beginning of the 17th century.


Memorial Of The Jewish Victims

The Pinkas Synagogue has become a memorial of the Jewish victims of the Holocaust from Bohemia and Moravia. Their names are written on the walls of the main nave and adjoining areas. Moreover, in addition to the names of Holocaust victims, there are also their dates of birth and death inscribed on all the interior walls. If the precise date of death is not known – as is usually the case – then the date of deportation to the ghettos or extermination concentration camps in the east is stated instead – this is often the last information we have about the victims. Their names are arranged by the towns and villages where they lived prior to deportation or arrest and all are presented in alphabetical order. The main part of the building bears the names of people whose last address prior to thein deportation was in Prague; the rest of the interior space commemorates victims from towns and villages outside of Prague. The interior of the synagogue comprises over 80 000  names of Jews from the Czech lands. The Memorial was designed and created by the painters Václav Boštík and Jiří John between 1954 and 1959. The Synagogue was converted into the memorial of the Czech Holocaust victims as early as 1958. Ten years later the Communist government of Czechoslovakia closed the memorial and removed the names from the wall.


Renovation Of The Memorial

Between 1992 and 1996, the Memorial was successfully renovated and the names were rewritten on the walls of the synagogue. Interestingly, Madeline Albright visited the synagogue in 1997 to see the proof that her parental grandfathers were also victims of the Holocaust. Today, in Pinkas Synagogue is also an exhibition of paintings by the children from the Terezín concentration camp.


Pinkas Synagogue is only 20 minutes walk from our hostel, book from wide selection of rooms and apartments!

March 13, 2021 charlesbridgehostel0

Old New Synagogue

The Jewish town in Prague is full of monuments and important places. One such place is the Old New synagogue. The Old New Synagogue can be found in Josefov, and is considered to be the oldest active synagogue in the Central Europe.  It also represents one of the oldest preserved medieval synagogues of twin nave design. This synagogue was completed in 1270 in the Gothic style. It belongs to one of Prague’s first gothic buildings, the Old Prague synagogue which used to be situated on the site of the present-day Spanish Synagogue, and was demolished in 1867.



Nine steps lead into the vestibule, from where it‘s possible to enter the double-aisled nave with six vaulted bays. The synagogue’s Christian architects who designed this double-nave system were probably inspired by plans of monasteries and chapels. The molding on the tympanum of the synagogue’s entryway is adorned with twelve vines and twelve bunches of grapes representing the Twelve Tribes of Israel. You will also find two large pillars aligned East to West in the middle of the room each supporting the interior corner of four bays. These bays include two narrow Gothic windows on the sides, with a total of twelve which also represent the Twelve Tribes. The narrow windows are perhaps responsible for many descriptions of the Altneu Shul as being dark and dingy, but it is now brightly lit with many electric chandeliers. Inside you can see the vaulting on the six bays with five ribs instead of the typical four or six. The reason for is that this was an attempt to avoid association with the Christian cross. But many scholars dispute this theory because they point to synagogues that have quadripartite ribs and Christian buildings that have the unusual five rib design (depicted to the right). The bimah from which Torah scrolls are read is situated between the two pillars. The base of the bimah repeats the motif found on the tympanum and it is decorated with engravings of twelve vines. The Aron Kodesh where the Torah scrolls are stored is situated in the middle of the customary niche in the  eastern wall. Five steps lead up to the Ark which has two round stained glass windows on either side above it. A lectern in front of the ark has a square well a few inches below the main floor for the leader of the service to stand in.The twelve lancet windows in the synagogue direct light towards to the center of building, over the bimah, and, apparently, this led some members to compare the structure with Solomon’s Temple. The first three metres of the stairway leading to the attic have since been removed and the attic is unfortunately not open to the public. The synagogue follows the orthodox custom with separate seats for men and women during prayers. Women usualy sit in an outer room with small windows looking into the main sanctuary.


Unusual Flag

The unusual sign is a large flag on the standard at the west pillar bearing the Star of David, the text of Shema Yisrael and a Yarmulke-Jewish hat – probably the last a symbols of the Jewish community in Prague since the 15th century. The right to carry the flag which is the symbol of Jewish community autonomy was granted by Ferdinand II, Holy Roman Emperor in recognition of the services of the Jewish community in the defense of Prague against the Swedes. The current flag was presented by King Charles VI.



One legend tells of the body of Golem, which was created by Rabbi Judah Loew ben Bezalel, has been stored in the attic where the genizah of Prague’s community is kept. Golem was usually used for the protection of the Jewish town faithfully if sometmes with confusion. At the end of Rabbi Loew‘s life he excerpted a Shem from Golems head and moved it into the Old New Synagogue because he was afraid that Golem would damage the Jewish town.


World War II

During World War II a Nazi agent was reputed to have interfered with the genizah and paid for the trangression with his life. Strangely enough, the Gestapo apparently never entered the attic during their occupation of Prague, and the building was spared destruction by the Nazis.


Old New Synagogue is only 20 minutes walk from our hostel, book one of our lovely apartments!


March 13, 2021 charlesbridgehostel0

Old Jewish Cemetery

Old Jewish Cemetery is in the Jewish quarter of Prague sometimes known as Josefov  – in honor of the emperor Joseph II who gave the the Jewish inhabitants full citizen rights. The Jewish cemetery was founded as early as in the first half of the 15th century. The oldest preserved tombstone marks the grave of the poet and scholar Avigdor Karo, and dates back to 1439. An ancient burial ground called “The Jewish Garden”, was discovered during the archaeological excavations under the surface of the Vladislavova street in the New Town. The number of graves, tombstones, and people buried here have not been determined exactly, due to there being many layers of tombs. However, it has been estimated that there are almost 12,000 tombstones presently visible and as many as 100,000 burials took place here.


Famous People

The most famous person buried in the Old Jewish Cemetery is the great religious scholar and teacher Judah Loew ben Bezalel, often known as Rabbi Loew, who died in 1609 and who is associated with the legend of the Golem. Among other prominent people buried in the Old Jewish Cemetery is the Mayor of the Jewish Town, Mordechai Maisel who died in 1601, and the renaissance scholar and historian, mathematician and astronomer David Gans who died in 1613. We should also mention scholar and historian Joseph Solomon Delmedigo, as well as rabbi and collector of important Hebrew manuscripts and printed books, David Oppenheim. The last person to be buried in the Old Jewish cemetery was Moses Beck in 1787.


World War II

The worst period in history for Jews and Jewish cemeteries anywhere in the world came with with the Nazi occupation. The Nazis tried to destroy all Jewish cemeteries and even using their tombstones for target practice. Fortunately, Hitler decided that this cemetery had to remain intact, as he was planning to build a Jewish museum in Prague once all the Jews in Europe had been exterminated. As we know, during World War II, Adolf Hitler made every effort to erase of the face of the Earth not only the entire Jewish population,  all synagogues, but their old burial grounds as well.


Old Jewish Cemetery is only 20 minutes walk from our hostel, stay with us!


March 13, 2021 charlesbridgehostel0


Josefov represents one of the historical towns of Prague as well as the smallest catastral district of Prague and was formerly the old Jewish ghetto. It is completely surrounded by the Old Town and this quarter is often represented by the flag of Jewish community with a yellow Magen David called the Star of David on a red field.


Jewish Quarter

Over the centuries more and more people were forced to live in the area because Jews were banned from living anywhere else. Restrictions on their movements and trade that they were allowed to conduct constantly changed. This quarter of Prague takes its name – Josefov – in honor of the Emperor Joseph II who accorded full citizens rights to the local Jewish inhabitants.


Important Buildings

With the exception six synagogues, the Old Cemetery and Jewish Town Hall, no other buildings remain from the former Jewish Ghetto, as during the 19th and the 20th centuries, the entire area was cleared. Today, mostly eclectic architecture is found here. When visiting the area of Josefov, you should not miss the Kafkas home, Maisel synagogue, Spanish synagogue, Klausen synagogue, Pinkas synagogue, Ceremonial Hall with the Old Jewish Cemetery.


Josefov is just 15 minutes walk from our hostel, book from wide selection of rooms and apartments!

March 13, 2021 charlesbridgehostel0

Goltz–Kinsky Palace

Goltz-Kinskych palace, with its beautiful pink and white stucco fasade, promotes the unique look of Old Town Square. The original palace was built for Jan Arnost Goltz in 1755-65 on the site of several former Renaissance palaces with early medieval foundations. Jan Arnost Goltz had the whole complex rebuilt into Rococo palace with two entrances framed with two pillars each. On the first floor the massive pillars are connected with a balcony and balustrade. After Count Goltz’s death, the palace was bought by Kinsky family who use to reside in there until 1945. In the palace is possible to find a valuable family library which today hosts collections for the National Gallery.


Special Positioning

One thing makes the palace very special in the Old Town Square. Notice that the palace doesn’t stand in-ine with the neighbouring buildings but protrudes a little into the square.  One legend tells that the town council didn’t want to allow this special positioning of the palace. But the count successfully bribed three avaricious councilmen, in order to obtain permission. By the time the other councilmen saw the positioning of the palace it was almost finished and therefore too late to do anything about as no-one wanted to demolish the building. Even though the count was prosecuted, he was found not guilty due to testimony from the three councilmen he had bribed. And what happend to them? They were hanged in front of the palace. Well, the legend was proved wrong as evidence sugests that the architect only followed the original position of previous buildings.


Famous People

The Goltz – Kinsky palace is connected with the names of some very famous and important people. For example the Austrian writer, baroness Bertha von Suttner, the first woman to be awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1905, was born in Goltz – Kinsky Palace in 1843. The palace also housed a German speaking grammar school attended by the famous writer Franz Kafka. Kafka’s  father used to have a small shop on the ground floor of the palace.


Important Announcements

On 25th February 1948 Klement Gottwald, the leader of the Communist party of Czechoslovakia and later President of Czechoslovakia, announced the Communist party’s successful coup here and therefore officially started the communist era in our country. On the same day, but 42 years later ,also the first President of free Czechoslovakia, Vaclav Havel, declared that the communist era was at an end in Czechoslovakia.


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