Old Jewish Cemetery, Prague

Danielle Bloxsom

Townsville, Australia

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Old Jewish Cemetery, Prague
2012

It is not clear when exactly the cemetery was founded. This has been the subject of discussion of many scholars. Some claim that the cemetery is over 1000 years older than the accepted date, which is the first half of the 15th century. The oldest grave belongs to the Prague rabbi and poet Avigdor Kara from 1439. It was founded by the king Ottokar II of Bohemia.[citation needed]

According to halakhah, Jews must not destroy Jewish graves and in particular it is not allowed to remove the tombstone. This meant that when the cemetery ran out of space and purchasing extra land was impossible, more layers of soil were placed on the existing graves, the old tombstones taken out and placed upon the new layer of soil. This explains why the tombstones in the cemetery are placed so closely to each other. This resulted in the cemetery having 12 layers of graves.

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