The Maisel Synagogue has not been active since 1955 and since then, it has been under the Jewish Museum in Prague. You will find a modern-style permanent exhibition tracing the history of Czech Jews from the 10th to the 18th centuries. The exhibit includes a unique video projection a film rendition of Langweil's model of Prague from the 19th century, which is otherwise on view at the City of Prague Museum at Florenc. Visitors thus have a chance to acquaint themselves with the mazy streets of the original Jewish ghetto, defunct synagogues, old Jewish houses from before the clearance of the ghetto, which took place between the 19th and 20th centuries.
Once the biggest and most spectacular building in the Prague Jewish ghetto, it bears the name of its founder, the preeminent leader of the Jewish Town and Emperor Rudolf II's Court Jew, Mordecai Meisel. In 1591, Meisel got a special prerogative from the emperor to build this synagogue. During Mordecai Meisel's lifetime, the synagogue served solely as a family prayer house, becoming open to the public only after his death. The final service in the synagogue was held in 1941.
The Maisel Synagogue underwent several reconstructions in its history. The originally Renaissance building nearly burned down in 1689. It had to be made smaller and even the entrance was originally where altar is located today. The synagogue got its current Neo-Gothic appearance during renovations at the end of the 19th and beginning of the 20th centuries, during the aforementioned ghetto clearance.
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 Maisel 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.
At the present time, the Maisel Synagogue is perhaps the most beautiful synagogue on the territory of Josefov. In the years 2014-2015, it underwent extensive reconstruction and modernisation. It was fitted with barrier-free access and audiovisual technology which make the tour much more pleasant.Alicia