The famous Jewish Museum in Prague re-opened to the public this Tuesday after being closed for two months for repair work following the devastating floods that hit Prague in August. Founded in 1906, it is the third oldest Jewish museum in Central Europe. With its exhibitions spread throughout Prague's historic Jewish quarter, it is one of the biggest tourist attractions in the city. Dita Asiedu spoke to the head of the museum's public relations department, Dr. Jana Smekalova, and started off by asking her in what state the museum was in after the floods:
"Due to the flooding of the basement areas, dampness in the naves of the Museum's historic buildings rose to such a level that it was no longer possible to provide a suitable climatic environment for the display of rare artifacts from our collection. Only now, after the dampness has fallen to an acceptable level and the affected areas have been dried and disinfected, is it possible to restore the original scope of the exhibitions. Only the Pinkas Synagogue where the necessary repairs are expected to last a year will be closed."
You mentioned rare artifacts. What rare artifacts can visitors find in the Jewish Museum?
"Our collections are from the 16th to the 20th centuries and in the Maisel Synagogue, we have old items such as the Robe of Solomon Molcho and old manuscripts. Visitors will be interested to see a circumcision chair, Matza rolls, the collection on Jewish weddings and Jewish burials and everything that is connected to Jewish life. The exhibition in the Klausen Synagogue is on Jewish customs and holidays and here you find information on Jewish holidays such as the Sabbath, Pesah, New Year customs as well as a furnished room of a family from the mid-19th century."
You mentioned the Jewish burial, there is also the Jewish Cemetery.
"People were buried in the Old Jewish Cemetery for three hundred years from the middle of the 15th century to 1787. Since it could not be extended any more, people were buried on top of each other and in some places there are twelve levels of tombs."
Please visit www.jewishmuseum.cz for more information on the Jewish Museum in Prague.
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