Jewish Town Hall - History

Jewish Town Hall is a representative area of the Jewish population of Prague, which is located in the heart of the Jewish Quarter, right opposite from the Old-New Synagogue and the Old Jewish Cemetery.

Brief History

Jewish Town Hall in Prague was first mentioned in 1541, but it had probably been standing in the heart of Josefov since earlier. The first town hall was most likely Gothic and was not rebuilt until 1564 when the Renaissance reconstruction started. The next step in the architectural development of this building is also difficult to determine: it was either when the High Synagogue was started to be built in 1568, or when the Jewish elders bought the empty land after the fire in 1577.

In 1689 the Jewish Town Hall was damaged in the French Fire, and once again in 1754 ghetto fire. After that, the town hall was reconstructed in the late Baroque style by the architect Josef Schlesinger, who also added the new clock to the bell tower of the town hall. 18th century was the time of major renovation work in the Jewish Ghetto that also received a new treasury, hospital, the house of the main rabbi, fountain, and a gate.

 

Fun Fact about Jewish Town Hall

  • The Town Hall is famous for its unique clock that goes counterclockwise! It is called Hebrew Clock and also displays the letters of the Hebrew alphabet instead of the regular numerals, as well as the hands of the clock that are switched around - the short one shows minutes while the long one points at hours.

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Author: Valeriia Zahradnikova and Vaclav Zahradnik, Prague guides certified by Prague City Tourism agency. Valeriia and Vaclav have worked in tourism for over 6 years and have guided thousands of Prague visitors.