Prague’s Old Jewish Cemetery
Posted by Avital Pinnick on October 15, 2013
Prague’s Old Jewish Cemetery is a daunting subject to photograph. The sheer number of graves gathered in such a small area (although it’s larger than you might think) can be overwhelming. The cemetery contains around 12,000 tombstones, although the number of burials could be as many as 100,000. When they ran out of space, more earth was brought in, creating layers. It’s generally accepted that there may be as many as twelve layers of burials. The cemetery was in use from the late 15th century to the late 18th century. Rabbi Loew of Prague is buried here, along with other prominent Jewish residents of Prague, such as David Oppenheim and Mordechai Maisel.
The stones of cohenim (priests) are often adorned with carved hands, a symbol of the priestly blessing.
In these photos I was experimenting with colours and textures. The mix of cool blues and warm browns is an appealing combination.
The sun was bright that day and hit these stones at a diagonal angle.
The cemetery is a surprisingly peaceful place, if you can ignore the hordes of tourists crowding the paths, behind a rope. You’re not allowed off the outside paths, so I took a lot of photos with a zoom lens. This photo reminded me of people sleeping, with their heads resting on the shoulders of their neighbours.
In this photo I emphasized the bluish tinge of the stones and earth.