Zizkov Jewish Cemetery

Zizkov Jewish Cemetery is not as famous as the Old Jewish Cemetery in the Josefov district or the New Jewish Cemetery in the Vinohrady district. From 1787 to 1890 the Zizkov cemetery was the most important burial place in Prague. 40.000 people were buried in the Zizkov Jewish cemetery – rabbis, scholars, leading Prague industrialists and other famous and less famous people of the Jewish community. Today only a small corner of the original graveyard is left.

Zizkov Jewish Cemetery

Zizkov Jewish Cemetery

Zizkov Jewish cemetery was established in 1680 as a burial place for the plague victims of the Prague Jewish community because the Old Jewish Cemetery in Josefov had become too crowded. The Jewish community bought a plot of land in Zizkov to bury the plague victims. Later on it became the main Jewish cemetery. When in 1890 Zizkov was full, the New Jewish Cemetery in Vinohrady took over its function. Today people are still buried here.

Return of the Stones (Návrat kamenů)

The Return of the Stones (Návrat kamenů) is a memorial made of some 6,000 broken headstones of Jewish graves which in 1987 were used as cobblestones to pave Wenceslas Square. When in 2020, the square was renovated, the cobblestones were handed over to the Jewish community who commissioned the artists Jaroslav and Lucie Rona to create a memorial comprising comprises a mound surrounded by nine blocks made up of the cobblestones. Hebrew and Roman alphabets can be seen on some of the stones.

Zizkov Jewish Cemetery

Jewish Cemetery becomes a Park

After World War II the cemetery fell into disrepair. A number of tombstones were destroyed and weeds and wild plants took over. In the 1960s graves were cleared away and the area was converted into a park – Mahlerovy sady. In 1984 another part of the cemetery was cleared this time to make place for the telecommunication tower – the last building project of the communists. With a height of 287 m it was a prestige object and the tallest building in Prague.

Zizkov Jewish Cemetery

The  Cemetery in Zizkov and the TV Tower

The telecommunication tower is famous for the sculptures of babies seemingly crawling up to the top. They are the works of David Cerny, enfant terrible of the art world. The television tower was meant as a jammer to interfere with West German radio and television transmissions. The irony is that it became operational after the fall of communism. The cemetery became more and more neglected, the gravestones weathered badly and weeds and plants took over. The restoration of the northern part of the cemetery took place in 1986. You will find here a number of Baroque and Classicists gravestone.

Zizkov Jewish Cemetery

Getting there

Old Jewish Cemetery in Zizkov,  Fibichova / Mahlerovy sady, Zizkov, Prague 3

The easiest way to get to the Zizkov Cemetery is from metro station Jiriho z Podebrad on metro line A. Cross the square in front of the Church of the Most Sacred Heart of Our Lord. Milesovska Street takes you straight to the cemetery.

Daily 09.00-17.00, Fridays until 14.00

Read on:
Old Jewish Cemetery and Jewish Museum
Dablice Cemetery
Mala Strana Cemetery

 

photos Marianne Crone

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