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Tips to avoid crowds
The best way to avoid crowds is to come in the morning, right at the opening: the first hour sees the smallest number of visitors.
Fridays and Sundays are the busiest day of the week. Prefer coming mid-week for a quieter experience.
All the venues of the Jewish Museum are closed on Saturdays, consider it while planning your trip! For the weekend trippers the advice would be therefore to hit the Jewish museum on Friday afternoon: though it may also be crowded, Sunday tends to be much busier.
Jewish Museum is closed on Jewish holidays: check our table, we have all those dates black-out!
There is a number of ticket offices, where you can buy tickets for the Jewish Museum. We advise to buy them at the recently opened Resevation and Information Center at Maislova 15. There tend to be less queues, you can rent an audioguide, and get more general information about the Jewish quarter.
It may happen that you fall right behind a big and loud tour group or a group of schoolers. Better just wait 10 minutes before they pass further for a quieter visit.
August tends to be the busiest month of the year, when taking precautions to avoid crowds is a real must for a pleasant visit. July, April and May are the next busiest periods. Avoid visiting the museum during bank holidays’ weekends in May: it’s very, very crowded! Out of the warm months, try to schedule your trip on June or September - that’s when the crowds are the lowest, and the weather is great. If you want to visit Prague without other tourists in sight - choose the months of January and Februrary: those are the calmest and ideal for a cultural getaway: no queues, no crowds, no advance bookings needed and rates are very cheap (compared to other periods) everywhere in the city!
Photo credits to thomas via Flickr (CC BY-SA 2.0)
There are 2 main types of combined tickets:
Jewish Museum ticket (Maisel Synagogue / Pinkas Synagogue / Old Jewish Cemetery / Klausen Synagogue / Ceremonial Hall / Spanish Synagogue + temporary exhibitions in the Robert Guttmann Gallery):
- Adult: CZK 330;
- Children aged 6-15, students under 26: CZK 220;
- Visitors with disabilities: CZK 50;
- Children under 6: free.
That’s the cheapest option to see the museum’s highlights or any of its venues. Even if you only want to see the Cemetery - you’ll have to buy this ticket, as there are no separate tickets for museum sites.
Prague Jewish Town ticket (all of the above + Old-New Synagogue):
- Adult: CZK 500;
- Children aged 6-15, students under 26: CZK 340;
- Visitors with disabilities: CZK 85;
- Children under 6: free.
Each ticket is valid for seven consecutive days from first use. Each site can be visited only once.
Photo permit: CZK 70.
After purchasing the photo permit it is possible to take pictures everywhere around the museum.
Venues of the Jewish Museum
The Jewish Quarter in Prague contains the best preserved complex of historical Jewish monuments in Europe, including the synagogues, the Jewish Ceremonial Hall and the Old Jewish Cemetery. There are actually 6 monuments clustered together:
The Klausen synagogue is the biggest synagogue in the Prague Jewish Town. The ticket counter and museum shop are in the synagogue vestibule. The Synagogue also hosts the permanent exhibition Jewish Customs and Traditions, Part 1, making this place a common starting point for the Jewish Museum’s tour.
Located next to the Old Jewish Cemetery on the site of an old mortuary used by the Prague Burial Society, the Ceremonial Hall was built in 1906–08. The first floor once housed a room for the ritual washing of the dead; on the second floor was the burial society’s club room. Ceremonial Hall hosts the exhibition Jewish Customs and Traditions, Part 2, which continues the Klausen Synagogue exhibition.
Dating from 1535, the Pinkas Synagogue was turned after the Second World War into a Memorial to the Jews of Bohemia and Moravia murdered by the Nazis. On its walls are inscribed the names of the Jewish victims - about 80,000 names are inscribed. The permanent exhibition - Children’s Drawings from the Terezín Ghetto - focuses on the fate of Jewish children who were incarcerated in the Terezín ghetto during the Second World War.
Old Jewish Cemetery
The Old Jewish Cemetery is among the oldest surviving Jewish burial grounds in the world. Founded in the first half of the 15th century, it was never big enough to meet the needs of the Jewish Town. Because of the lack of space, bodies were buried on top of each other, with graves layered up to 10 deep.
Maisel Synagogue (temporarily closed)
The Maisel synagogue, erected in 1592 and rebuilt several times after, is temporarly closed to visitors. It hosts the exhibition Jews in the Bohemian Lands, 10th-18th Century, that is supposed to precede the Spanish Synagogue’s visit.
This is one of the most recent synagogues in the Prague Jewish Town, with remarkable interiors. Called “Spanish” for its impressive Moorish interior design, influenced by the famous Alhambra, the Synagogue hosts the exhibition on the history of the Jews in the Bohemian lands from the reforms of Joseph II in the 1780s to the period after the Second World War.
Ceremonial Hall - photo credits to thomas via Flickr (CC BY-SA 2.0)
Some of the venues are big enough to receive an important number of tourists, and crowds will not be of big importance. In other ones, however, they may bother you more. That’s why we advise you the following itinerary to avoid crowds at least where those are the most disturbing:
1) Start from the Pinkas Synagogue & Old Jewish Cemetery
If you come during the high season, on busy periods or on Sunday - start at the museum’s opening with these two. Pinkas Synagogue is the most touchy monument, along with its collection of children drawing. That will be much more comfortable and moving to discover it without being elbowed here and there. The Old Jewish Cemetery is another place where quiet and solitude will influence your visit - staying alone (or almost) here is striking. During peak hours you may feel yourself a herded cow - there is a constant flow of visitors in the cemetery’s alleys.
2) Then head to the Ceremonial Hall & Klausen synagogue
Ceremonial Hall also has narrow stairs and there may form queues to enter it, that’s why it’s better to visit it before the main crowds arrive as well. Klausen synagogue is rather big, so even with many visitors inside you’ll be able to discover the collection without any difficulties. If you want absolutely to follow the exhibitions in the chronological order - then visit the Klausen synagogue first before heading to Ceremonial Hall for the second part of the exhibition on Jewish customs and traditions.
3) Finish your visit at the Spanish Synagogue
It’s big and impressive: crowds won’t be a problem and the aftertaste of the visit will be memorable. This synagogue is located a bit aside of the other museum’s sites, so in order not to lose time it should be visited either first or last. We’d recommend to save it for last. The Kafka Monument is right by the side, and once the Synagogue is visited, that would be a great starting point to explore the Jewish quarter on foot.
Overcrowded Old Jewish Cemetery - photo credits to Joe Ross via Flickr (CC BY-SA 2.0)
Tips for a few days in Prague
This page will give you many tips to avoid crowds in Prague as well as crowd schedules for top tourist attractions in order to plan your visits.
Photo credits to Bjorn via Flickr