The Maisel Synagogue

View of the top of the Maisel Synagogue

The Maisel Synagogue is located south of the Old-New Synagogue and the Old Town Hall at number 10 Maiselova Street, which is the main drag in Josefov, the old Jewish quarter of Prague. Like almost everything else in Josefov, this synagogue was founded by Mordechai Maisel, the wealthy mayor of the Jewish Town and the leader of the Prague Jewish Community, who funded extensive reconstruction of the ghetto in the 16th century. The Maisel Synagogue was built by Josef Wahl and Juda Goldsmied de Herz in 1590 - 1592.

The original building was damaged by the great fire in 1689 when French troops set fire to Old Town Prague; afterwards it was renovated in the Baroque style. The building underwent further remodeling between 1893 and 1905 when all the buildings in the ghetto except for six synagogues, the Ceremonial Hall and the Old Town Hall were demolished and the ghetto was destroyed. This last reconstruction was done in the neo-Gothic style by Professor A. Grotte. The building is set back a few feet from the street with a tiny courtyard in the front.

Doorway into the Maisel Synagogue

In its day, the Maisel Synagogue was very ornate, but now the inside is filled with museum displays and hardly looks like a synagogue at all. This was the first stop on my tour of Josefov; it was here that I purchased my ticket to The Jewish Museum and spent the most time, looking at the extensive exhibits which depict Jewish history.