Sunday, August 5, 2012

Třebíč, Czech Republic

Today, Claudia and Norbert took Natalie, Katka and I on a little road trip to see Třebíč and Telč; both of which are UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Moravia.

Třebíč (pronounced T-rzh-eh-beach) dates back to 1101.  It is 65 km (40 miles) west of Brno in the Vysočina (Highland) region of Moravia.  Třebíč is a regional center with over 38,000 people.

Třebíč used to be a center of Jewish culture in Moravia.  Today, there are two synagogues and the old Jewish cemetery.  After WWII, there wasn't hardly any Jewish community left which is why, in the Jewish quarter, many of the building such as the town hall, rabbi's office, and hospital no longer serve their original purposes.  The Jewish quarter and the cemetery are the only Jewish monuments, outside of Israel, that are on the UNESCO list.

The "Back Synagogue" is in the middle of the Jewish quarter.  It was originally built in 1837 and renovated from 1987 to 1988.

It is now used for exhibitions and concerts.  Inside is an detailed exhibit on Jewish life in the town.

The "Front Synagogue" was built from 1639 - 1642.  In 1757 it had to be lowered because it was higher than other houses which bothered an earl who owned a nearby manor.

The Jewish Cemetery was established in the early 17th century behind the town.  The cemetery was extended in 1888.

At almost 12,000 sq meters (~129,000 sq feet) it is one of the largest Jewish cemeteries in the ČR.  It is certainly one of the best preserved.  It's much more impressive than Prague's Jewish Cemetery.

There are around 11,000 people buried here in almost 3,000 graves.  The oldest tombstone dates back to 1625.

St. Procopius' Basilica was built in the 12th century.  Originally it was a Benedictine monastery.  The basilica, Jewish Quarter and cemetery are reminders that the Christian and Jewish cultures co-existed from the Middle Ages to the 20th century.  This is in part why the town was added to the UNESCO list in 2003.

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