Today, many of the Synagogues in Prague are no longer centers of religious activity. The years of World War II and the extermination of a people reduced their numbers drastically. Several of them have adopted the cause of serving education. One such Synagogue is the Spanish synagogue.
The Spanish Synagogue dates from 1868. It stands on the site of a previous synagogue, Prague’s first, the Old School. It derives its name from two factors. It arose during a period when the Sephardic Jews (Spain) desired a temple reflective of their needs. Its architectural style, a Moorish-style, is also conducive to the name. The walls and stucco reflect the décor of Alahambra temples in Spain. There are vivid reds, blues and greens in floral motifs on the walls and echoed in the stained-glass windows. Today, it houses a permanent exhibit on the history of Judaism and Jews in Bohemia. There is a section on Prague’s early German-Jewish writers, including F. Kafka. Before you enter, cast your eyes upwards. Carved deeply into the façade are the Ten Commandments.
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