Spitalske namesti 3517, Usti nad Labem, CZ, 40001
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Arts & Museums
The recently-renovated home of the National Gallery's prints and drawings collection has been designated as the main site for its interdisciplinary exhibitions. The permanent collection at this branch of the gallery is not normally on public display. Under the gallery's brash new director, exhibitions here should at the very least be controversial.
The Prague City Gallery uses this extraordinary Gothic palace as its prime site for temporary exhibitions. Past shows have featured Czech surrealism, Art brut, Joan Miro, German landscapes and a biennial of young Central European artists.
This restored 16th-century temple is part of the multi-site Jewish museum - and it's also Prague's most popular museum. The exhibits were collected during World War II as the occupying Nazis pillaged each and every Czech Jewish community and stockpiled the booty in Prague, where a small Jewish Museum had existed since 1906. The synagogue now houses the first part of an exhibition called "History of the Jews in Bohemia and Moravia" covering the period from the 10th Century to the 18th Century. Displays include silver Torah shields, pointers, fine tapestry, Torah curtains, documents, books and items from the ordinary everyday life of the city's Jews. Many of the finest objects date back to the relatively prosperous sixteenth century, when several of the richest synagogues in the Jewish quarter were built. For a more contemporary view of Jewish history, be sure to visit the Spanish Synagogue.
The Franz Kafka Society runs this gallery, which lies within steps of the writer's birthplace, one of his childhood homes and his school; these are all scattered around Staromestske namesti (Old Town Square). There are often exhibitions by either Jewish or Czech-born German artists, as well as those which are linked in some way to Kafka's writings.
A permanent collection of twentieth-century Czech art owned by the Prague City Gallery resides in this lovely Renaissance palace right in the center of the Old Town. Rather than the usual chronological arrangement, works are hung in a dozen or so thematic groupings. Works by Federico Diaz, Krystof Kintera, Katerina Vincourova and other young Czech artists are displayed in an underground space.
This place is for real enthusiasts of the Czech avant-garde movement of the twenties and thirties. Jaroslav Jezek (1906-42) was a major writer of political satires and anti-fascist dramas in the years leading up to the Nazi dismemberment and subsequent invasion of Czechoslovakia in 1938-39. Jezek asked the architect and designer Frantisek Zelenka to make over a small room in his flat in functionalist style. It is known as the "Blue Room" for its dominant color, which Jezek found soothing to his extremely weak eyes. Jezek's piano and record collection are also on display.
This, the largest of the Prague City Gallery's exhibition spaces, specializes in a half-dozen shows of Czech art each year with the occasional traveling show. The City Gallery curators are second to none, and shows here can be of superlative quality.
This is the site where the Jewish Museum's historical displays continue the story up to the modern day. The exhibits mostly contain books, photographs and documents covering the 18th-century beginnings of Jewish emancipation and enlightenment, the period of assimilation in the 19th Century, the catastrophe brought about by Hitler and his willing executioners, and post-war efforts to revitalize the community. The synagogue itself dates back to 1868. It is a dazzling, Moorish-style structure and its two-level, domed hall can be said to be one of the city's most stunning interior spaces.
The Jewish Burial Society, or Chevrah Kaddishah, (founded in 1564), used this neo-Romanesque building adjoining the Old Jewish Cemetery during the early twentieth century. Today it houses an exhibition by the Jewish Museum on medicine, death and burial. The great rabbi and philosopher Judah Loew helped found the society and it once counted many leading lights of the community among its members. The displays include some of the oldest tombstones from the Old Cemetery, china and silver used at society banquets, objects used in the ritual cleansing and dressing of the dead and a series of eighteenth-century paintings showing the society's many functions. Check the website for varying dates.
The Jewish Museum in Prague allows Central European Jews to celebrate their heritage, and serves as an important education in Prague's history for any visitor to the city. The museum has survived Nazi occupation and the Communist regime since its establishment in 1906. The museum has been sustained by its commitment to Jewish heritage and community. It houses an extraordinary collection of Judaic art and artifacts from Central Europe, and operates public exhibitions in historical sites around the city of Prague, such as the Old Jewish Cemetery, the Maisel Synagogue, the Pinkas Synagogue (The), the Klausen Synagogue, the Jewish Ceremonial Hall, and the Spanish Synagogue.
The name of this museum could be misleading, as there's no permanent collection here. Instead, the museum mounts temporary shows of contemporary Czech artists and sometimes also foreign ones. The main shows tend to be on the first two floors. The older generation of living artists are most often represented here. The Romanesque cellar is used for sculpture or other works that show up well when spot lit in the dim vaulted space.
The "other" wax museum in town presents an impressive collection of Czech personalities from both past and present. Visitors can also take a good look at Pope John Paul II, Einstein, Picasso and other international celebrities. Visit the website for details on admission prices and the list of waxworks.