Czech name: Pinkasova synagoga
The Pinkas Synagogue, a top Prague sightseeing attraction, is the second-oldest building in the city’s Jewish Quarter. This building dates back to 1535 when it first became used for prayer by a wealthy family. One of the most important additions came in the 17th century when the congregation added a women’s gallery. Today, one of the things that the synagogue stands out for is its tribute to 80,000 Bohemian and Moravian Holocaust victims. This site stands out as a Jewish museum, the only Prague synagogue to fit such criteria.
Location & How to Get There
You’ll find the Pinkas Synagogue in Prague’s Old Town area. All areas of the Jewish Quarter are within a few minutes of the synagogue by foot. Old Town square is five minutes from the site, and Charles Bridge is ten minutes away. Nearby bus stops are U Staré školy and Staroměstská. If you’re driving, parking is easy to find at the paid lot near the Čechův most bridge.
Opening Hours & Entry
Pinkas Synagogue is open from 9 am to 4:30 pm Sundays through Friday. Saturdays and Jewish holidays are the only days that the synagogue stays closed to the public. The entrance to the synagogue is included in the admission price for the Jewish Museum. Admission for adults is 350 CZK; for children between six and 15 or students under 26, the cost is 250 CZK, and for the disabled cost is 50 CZK. Society of Friends members and children under six are admitted free.
What to Do & What to See
One of the most fascinating things to see in this synagogue is the collection of exhibits dedicated to the Moravian Jews who died in the Holocaust. The drawings created by children in the Terezín ghetto between 1942 and 1944 are on display. Most of these children died in Auschwitz-Birkenau.
An outdoor exhibition highlights the deportation of Bohemian and Moravian Jews to the ghettos and concentration camps. Every evening, photos of Holocaust victims are projected onto one of the walls of the mikva. This exhibit also has a digital kiosk version visitors can access when they wish.
The names of the 80,000 Jews from the area who died in the Holocaust are hand-lettered on the synagogue walls. Writing the victims’ names on the walls was a process that took four years, between 1992 and 1996.
Aharon Meshulam Horowitz, a vital member of the local Jewish community, constructed the building as a private oratory in 1553. Horowitz named the house after Rabbi Pinkas Horowitz, his grandson. The location was near a mikvah or ritual bath.
When the house started to be used as a synagogue open to the public in the 17th century, renovations included the addition of a women’s gallery. The synagogue’s status as a Holocaust memorial dates back to 1955 to 1960. Although the building was closed when the Soviets invaded in 1968, Pinkas Synagogue reopened in 1995.