The Klausen Synagogue is the biggest synagogue on the territory of the original Jewish ghetto. It survived its clearance and the wild 20th century and today it exclusively serves the Jewish Museum in Prague. The exhibits in the synagogue will take you through Jewish holidays, major milestones in the life of Jews and their everyday life.
The name of the synagogue is derived from three smaller buildings, so called klausens, which the great financier and patron of the Jewish community, Mordechai Maisel, had built in the 16th century on the spot where today's synagogue stands. One of them served as a Yeshiva, a Talmudic school which he founded and where the famous rabbi Yehuda Liva Ben Bezalel, otherwise known as rabbi Löw or Maharal, taught. The klausens burned down in 1689 during the great fire which consumed a huge part of the ghetto and the whole town, and so in 1694, a new house of worship sprang up in its place – the Klausen Synagogue. It was built in the early Baroque style, which it has maintained till today.
The Klausen Synagogue adjoins the Old Jewish Cemetery and the Ceremonial Hall of the Chevra Kadisha burial society. That is why the burial society used the synagogue as its prayer house.
If you have decided to visit this synagogue, you are required to buy a ticket to the Jewish Museum, which will also allow you access to the following: the Spanish Synagogue, Pinkas Synagogue, Maisel Synagogue, Ceremonial Hall, and the Old Jewish Cemetery. It is not possible to purchase a ticket only to the Klausen synagogue.
It is also possible to visit this synagogue with our guided (English language) tour of Prague synagogues, in order to learn much more about the history of Czech Jews, their traditions and daily life.
The Klausen Synagogue is the only synagogue in Prague where you can view a partially unrolled scroll of the Torah. It is kept in a cabinet on a centre stage. This is a copy, though, because the Jews cannot allow this holy text to be dishonoured by public display.Jana