The Old New Synagogue (Staronová synagoga) situated in Josefov, Prague, is Europe's oldest active synagogue. It is also the oldest surviving medieval synagogue of twin-nave design. Completed in 1270 in gothic style, it was one of Prague's first gothic buildings.

An unusual feature found in the nave of this synagogue is a large red flag near the west pillar. In the centre of the flag is a Star of David and in the centre of the star is a hat in the style typically worn by Jews of the 15th century. Both the hat and star are stitched in gold. Also stitched in gold is the text of Shema Yisrael. Ferdinand III, Holy Roman Emperor awarded the Jewish community their own banner in recognition for their services in the defence of Prague during the Thirty Years War. The banner now on display is a modern reproduction.

It is said that the body of Golem (created by Rabbi Judah Loew ben Bezalel) lies in the attic where the genizah of Prague's community is kept. A legend is told of a Nazi agent during World War II broaching the genizah, but who perished instead. In the event, the Gestapo apparently did not enter the attic during the war, and the building was spared during the Nazis' destruction of synagogues. The lowest three meters of the stairs leading to the attic from the outside have been removed and the attic is not open to the general public.

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Founded: 1270
Category: Religious sites in Czech Republic

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User Reviews

joby akkara (2 years ago)
old synaguoge
Simran Bourne (2 years ago)
Beautiful old synagogue, reasonable entrance for 100 czk. Great information provided. Highly recommended for a history of the Jewish community in Prague.
Torsten Kanngiesser (2 years ago)
Interesting and very nice staff! Quite impressive to see such an old synagogue still standing and in such good state.
Bernard Minne (2 years ago)
Impressive to visit and to have a guide explaining things.
Torsten Rauer (2 years ago)
An impressive, atmospherically fantastic place full of history. Architecturally fascinating, the entire museum ensemble in the Jewish quarter should be visited very quietly. The ladies of the staff were all very, very friendly and helpful. Even as a German, you felt very welcome. I am in love with this place.
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