Friday, October 22, 2010

day 2- awake in prague

On the second day we woke up and wow! We were in Prague! We felt a lot better, Adam even woke up around 4 AM to get a jump start on the day... Really we were both wide awake pretty early. One of those jet laggy things. We had an amazing breakfast buffet at our hotel (can you say Grand American?) and headed out to visit the Jewish quarter of Prague.
I loved this blue fence outside one of the synagogues!!!
We walked around the Jewish Quarter and went inside one of the synagogues. This neighborhood has a long history in Prague. Long story short is that the Jews were forced to live in a ghetto and live apart from the Christians (this went back to the 12th century!) and even had to build a wall around their neighborhood and wear yellow badges. As time went on, they were able to tear the wall down and even knock down and build new buildings. By 1939, there were 120,000 Jews living in the area. But only 10,000 survived the Holocaust to see liberation in 1945 and today only a few thousand Jews remain in Prague. This was BAFFLING to me! To be there and hear these numbers! It still makes my heart hurt. :(
cool doorknob
This room was filled with handwritten names of 77,297 Jews who were killed in prison camps. Hometowns are written in gold, family names are in red, followed in black by the first name, birthday and last date known to be alive. There were a couple of walls dedicated to kids too. It was hard to see.
They asked the boys to wear these special caps in the synagogues to show respect. Adam's wouldn't stay on. Neither could Steve's. Puffy hair? Big heads? Not sure what the problem was, but I should have lent them a bobby pin. hehe. Next we walked through the Old Jewish cemetery- can you see it behind Adam?
From 1439 to 1787, this was the only burial ground allowed for the Jews in Prague so graves were laid on top of each other. Now this sits high above the street. They have never moved the bodies since it's against Jewish belief to move them, and as the ground has settled, all the headstones have shifted. It's the coolest cemetery I've ever been to.
This old tree grew right around the headstone.

Our guide told us people put pebbles on the grave and do something like have a peaceful thought, prayer or wish. So we did. Really they are called "flowers of the desert," reminiscent of the old days when rocks were placed upon the sand gravesite to keep the body covered.
(Added in later- thanks L!)
Can you believe all those headstones? I guess each headstone had all of their life's major accomplishments written on them.
Karen, Adam and Steve
Rose was our English tour guide through the Jewish quarter. She was really nice and at the end we learned that she when she was about 7, she was put into Terezin, a concentration camp. She lost her family but she survived. Wow. She said she didn't realize what was going on, she was just too young and didn't know what was happening. And she said she couldn't marry a Jewish boy later on because there were hardly any left. I learned a few new things about the Jewish culture here. Interesting stuff.
Synagogue stained glass.
Next we went up to the top of the clock tower to get a better view of Prague and the square. I think I might be getting more afraid of heights in my old age. Every once in a while it took my breath away!
All the red roofs. So fun to look at!
The tiny people in the square below waiting for the clock show... suckers! Ha.
The stairs were on the outside, elevator on the inside. We used both.

Happy that fall was in bloom in Prague too.
Such amazing views. Pictures will never do justice, but we tried!

Prague streets are covered in cobblestones- even the tiny sidewalks! You really had to get used to walking on this all day. It made your feet tired- but so pretty to look at.
Don't you love the little pathways between buildings? P.S. Prague might also have a little graffiti problem?
Autumn cobble. SPOL? Maybe.
So many bridges and views of the Vltava River.
I had to laugh at these teeny, tiny hot chocolates. I always get tired by the end of big ones anyway, but in the U.S. these would have been 5 times the size haha!

And then Prague at night is a whole different, beautiful place. Adam and I would go out and walk the streets looking around, maybe find a place that had free wifi and relax. It seemed a very peaceful place at night with hardly any people out. In the day it had so many tourists. And I don't know how, but it always seemed to warm up at night, which was nice. I loved our nights there.


The Nielson Family said...

I am loving all these pictures! So, what's with the pebbles on top of the tombstones??? I've seen that a movie...

emily said...

Beautiful. Amazing! Great pics. My fav? Well, all of them are amazing, but the one that I loved the most was the one with your hubby and the hot chocolate. (weird, i know) I loved the fuzzy effect of everyone else except him. Did you do that on purpose? Haha. Prague is a beautiful city and the history? I would love to go there someday just based on what you have shared!

sinika said...

Emily! I loved that pic too! The other is a better one of the bridge so I had to put them both. I wish I did the focus/fuzzy on purpose...

Tisha and Mark said...

Absolutely gorgeous! I would love to go to a country that is that OLD! So beautiful and the "door" post inspired me to rethink what color I am going to choose...loving the blue! :) Glad you had a great time.

lindsey v said...

That graveyard is cool and crazy.

That's so great that Fall was 'in bloom' for you to see - (hee hoo!)

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