The Old New Synagogue, despite its strangely contrasting name, is actually the oldest active synagogue in the entire land of Europe. Also known as the Staronová synagoga in Czech, this synagogue is located in Josefav, Prague. Definitely one of the most symbolic structures in Prague, it is also one of the many historical sights and Prague attractions.
The Old New Synagogue was completed in 1270. Designed completely in gothic style, it is another era of architecture that Prague has kept intact within its many narrow streets and cobbled pavements. Not only is the Old New Synagogue one of the oldest synagogues, it is also one of the first gothic structures to be built in Prague itself.
An interesting aspect of this strange name Old New Synagogue is that it was meant to be called something else entirely. This synagogue was supposed to be called the New or Great Shul. However, after the demolition of the older structures, this synagogue remained the oldest synagogue and the name, somehow attaining “new” in the process, came to be called so.
The building of the synagogue itself is a single story. The synagogue contains beautiful vaulted ceilings and the large columns make you feel eerily small. In the main room, there is a prayer hall for men at the center and a curved gallery for women around it. The architecture of the synagogue is said to be an imitation of the Christian architects of the time.
Legend has it that the body of Golem rests inside the synagogue. The Golem was said to have been created by the Rabbi Judah Loew Ben Bezalel. It is known as the “golem of Prague”. Stories also reveal that a Nazi agent had once approached the Genizah; however, he had perished there.
The New Old Synagogue is an important structure. It is a token from history that shows off all the beauty and also the strength, as the synagogue is still active. Drop by the synagogue when you pass by. Time has erased many things, so let us cherish what is left of our past.