The Old New Synagogue, Prague

The Old New Synagogue, Prague

The Old New Synagogue in the Jewish Quarter is the oldest synagogue in Europe that is still in use as a place of prayer. It is also the oldest synagogue that boasts a twin nave.

The synagogue was built in 1270 and is one of Prague’s 1st Gothic buildings. The twin nave is explained by the building’s architects being Christians who based the plans on monasteries of the period.

The double naves have six vaulted bays each with five-ribbed vaulting, which is rather unusual, as most Gothic vaulting is four or six-ribbed. Some scholars say that it was to avoid a semblance of the Christian cross. The bays each have two narrow Gothic windows. Over the tympanum of the portal, the moulding depicts 12 vines with 12 bunches of grapes. The number 12 would seem to represent the 12 Tribes of Israel.

Several legends are attached to the synagogue; one being that the foundation stones were carried to Prague from the ruins of Solomon’s Temple by angels and that the synagogue is “Tnay” which means “on condition”. This means that the building will remain undamaged until it is moved to Jerusalem. “Thay” might have been corrupted to “alt-neu” (old-new) which could explain how the synagogue came by its strange name.

Another legend relates that the body of the Golem of Prague lies in the genizah (attic) and that a German soldier who tried to enter the attic was struck down by the Golem. It’s true that during the 2nd World War, the Nazi’s never penetrated the genizah. The lower 3 metres of the stairs leading to the attic have been removed and it is not open to visitors.
Sight description based on wikipedia

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The Old New Synagogue on Map

Sight Name: The Old New Synagogue
Sight Location: Prague, Czech Republic
Sight Type: Religious
Guide(s) containing this sight: Josefov Walking Tour

Walking Tours in Prague, Czech Republic

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Mala Strana Walking Tour

Mala Strana Walking Tour

Malá Strana ("Little Quarter") is a district in Prague, one of the most historically significant in the city. Back in the Middle Ages, it was predominantly populated by ethnic Germans and, in later years, largely retained Germanic influence, despite prevalence of the Baroque style in architecture. The most prominent landmark of Malá Strana is the Wallenstein Palace. There are also a...  view more

Tour Duration: 2 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 3.5 Km or 2.2 Miles
Holesovice Walking Tour

Holesovice Walking Tour

Holešovice is a suburb in the north of Prague situated on a meander of the river Vltava. In the past it was a heavily industrial area, while today it is home to the main site of the Prague's National Gallery, the Veletržní palác, and one of the largest railway stations in Prague, Nádraží Holešovice. Take this tour to enjoy what Holešovice area has to offer.

Tour Duration: 3 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 5.9 Km or 3.7 Miles
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Tour Duration: 1 hour(s)
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Tour Duration: 2 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.9 Km or 1.8 Miles
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Tour Duration: 3 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 4.3 Km or 2.7 Miles

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