When we first visited Prague in the Summer of 2008, we were just awed by what this city had to show us. Every morning after breakfast, we would head out to explore, mostly on foot the various sections of the city from the Old Town Square (Stare Mesto) to its various tributaries and New Town (Nove Mesto), through Wenceslas Square and across the Charles River, through the Palace grounds, and back and around.
On one of our walks, we joined a walking tour through Prague’s Jewish Quarters (Josefov). The architecture of the buildings was certainly something to be admired and celebrated. For years, the Jewish people were discriminated against in Europe, as we all know, most infamously during the Second World War.
But way before WWII, Jews were already strictly confined to a defined section of the city for centuries. And so, people were born and people died in that small section of the city. What did they do with their dead? They buried them, of course. But after several decades, space became a premium. And so, we saw in the Jewish cemeteries, both the Old Cemetery and the New, that people were crammed shoulder to shoulder, so to speak, but not just side by side. Many were buried one on top of another and their tombstones were layered!
We learned that as many as 100,000 people were buried in the small space that probably could only hold a few thousands. There are only 12,000 visible tombs because of the layers. In many graves, there were as many as 12 layers of graves.
It was such a spectacle. It was hard to believe that people could be so cruel to an entire group of fellow humans!
This post was inspired by the Daily Post’s Weekly Photo Challenge: Layers. Do go see what other WordPress bloggers have done with this challenge.
- 10/1/13: Prague: The Jewish Cemetery and Zizkov Tower (cmc343.wordpress.com)
- Prague Highlights (beckyobrien.wordpress.com)
- The Magical City (hansenpatricial.wordpress.com)
- Throwback Thursday – Prague, 2009 (theglobetrottinggeek.wordpress.com)