The Jewish Cemetery in Prague

While traveling, you can’t really plan for everything. I mean, I guess you could, but I don’t. In fact, some of the most spectacular things that I’ve seen were things we’ve stumbled onto and didn’t even know were there. This Jewish Cemetery in Prague was one of those things for me. I had never heard of its existence, but CT had read about it somewhere, and since we were in town, we figured we’d check it out. Goose and TiFunk were kind of historied-out for the day, so they missed out on this rare gem.

The unique thing about this site is that Jews believed they weren’t supposed to destroy graves, and particularly, the tombstone. So the practical effect of that was that when they ran out of space, they just kept putting grave upon grave upon grave and ended up with this. Read on to find out how many bodies and how many layers of graves are sitting under this top layer.

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There are a bunch of other sites in the old Jewish town, but the cemetery appeared to have been the most visited.

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Yeah, I’ve really never seen anything like it. Tombstone upon tombstone upon tombstone. prague cem (3) (Small)

There are also several of these monuments that list the names of most of the people believed to be buried here. prague cem (4) (Small)

The cemetery was in use from about 1439 to 1787, and it’s a pretty small plot of land bordered on all sides by buildings, so there was a limit to the expansion of the graveyard. As a result, they started layering more soil on existing graves, and the old tombstones were taken out and placed on top of a new layer of soil. There is at least 12 layers of graves underneath the top layer. prague cem (5) (Small)

It’s truly a sight to see. It’s been estimated that there are approximately 12,000 tombstones, but there are as many as 100,000 actual bodies buried here. prague cem (6) (Small)

CT paying tribute.

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You can see how the buildings encroach on the gravestones, making it difficult to expand any further. prague cem (8) (Small)

This is a good example of how different cultures are around the world. I can see this as being so disrespectful in other parts of the world. But here, to do anything otherwise would be disrespectful. prague cem (9) (Small)

Just look at how close they stack these tombstones.prague cem (10) (Small)

Well, you get the gist. So just a few more pics of the graveyard. prague cem (11) (Small)

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If you ever get to Prague, this probably won’t be high on your trip list, but I found it to be a really unique experience and very eye-opening. Google for directions, it’s worth the trek.

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