Writing with Light

Posts tagged “Jewish Ghetto

The Spanish Synagogue in Prague

There are times when things certainly don’t pan out as you plan them. For instance I had started preparing this post and was going to finish it up and publish at the beginning of the week before leaving for Montreal. Unfortunately I got sick on Christmas Day with what I thought was a cold but end up turning into bronchitis. so needless to say…no blog post…no Montreal.

I still have a few images of Prague that I wanted to share with you. One of things that my husband and I did (and I highly recommend) was a 1/2 day private tour of the old Jewish Quarter. Really we should have done the full day but we had a train to catch back to Vienna.

We knew that there was so much history and so much to learn that hiring a private tour guide was the best way to make the most of our time. I’ll be sharing my images of the Jewish Quarter in the next few posts but during this tour I wasn’t the “photographer” trying to get the shot but rather a tourist learning about what took place here.

Prague, Czech Republic, Spanish Synagogue, Praha, architecture, Moorish Revival, travel photography

This is the Spanish Synagogue which is the “newest” synagogue in Prague built 1868. It was actually built on the site of the oldest synagogue, the “Altshul” built-in the 12th century in the Prague ghetto.

It’s called the Spanish Synagogue because of its interior Moorish design and architecture.

While it’s still a functioning synagogue it’s part of the Jewish Museum of Prague and houses an impressive exhibit on the History of the Jews of Bohemia and Moravia.

I wish I had more pictures of this beautiful place but I had to be stealth with my photography. I got warned more than once (in different locales) that photography was not allowed.  The reason being they wanted you to buy the postcards.

Prague, Czech Republic, Spanish Synagogue, Praha, architecture, Moorish Revival, travel photography

An Italian Vignette

This past Friday Why Go Italy travel site published a guest post / photo tour I did for them on the Jewish Ghetto in Venice. You can see the photo tour here. I was very excited to partner with Why Go Italy on this because I used their site extensively in planning my trip to Italy this past summer. Everything from sample itineraries, off-the-beaten track recommendations and general advice on buying tickets to museums online. I found the site indispensable to planning my trip.

I thought it only appropriate to post an Italy shot today. This was taken in Florence. I was walking back to my hotel from the Pitti Palace and turned onto a small side street when I came upon this vignette. As I mentioned in a previous post I just love bicycles leaning against interesting walls or buildings, especially in Europe. You can see that post here.

Concerto Veneziani

Sometimes you walk by something and it just makes you want to stop and take a minute to look carefully and take in the detail…the color…what’s around it.  I don’t know what it was about these concert posters. Maybe it was the wall that it was posted on or the old posters underneath and surrounding it. I just liked the look and feel of them.

As usual you can click to enlarge the picture and take in the detail.


Project 52 – Entry #18

I’m taking you back today to the Jewish Ghetto in Rome. This little bar/restaurant was just a perfect scene from, the weathered building, the cobblestone sidewalk, the chalkboard menu and of course the Vespa parked outside.  If this shot looks familiar it should. I posted it on this blog while I was still in Italy. You can see it here. I was on the go and only had my iPad with me and I used the Snapseed app to process it. I think Snapseed is a terrific app and I use it quite a bit but I shot 3 brackets of this image so that I could ensure that I’d capture the whole dynamic range of the scene. It was early afternoon, the sun was shining but because of where the restaurant was situated on the street it was a bit on the shady side.

I processed the 3 brackets with Photomatix and then brought it into Photoshop and adjusted levels and sharpened it slightly. I then selectively masked the cobblestone side and used Topaz Adjust to bring out a bit of detail. What I’m very happy about with this version is the detail that it brought out especially the bar area inside the restaurant and the reflection in the glass door and window.

Farewell Hero

Directly across the river from Trastevere is the old Jewish Ghetto of Rome. The ghetto was built in 1555 to keep the Roman Jewish population separate from the rest of society. At the time, this 4 block area housed approximately 1,000 people but in time the Jewish population within the ghetto walls grow to 4,000. The ghetto had 3 gates that were locked at night to keep the Jews in. Outside each gate the Romans built a church in order to encourage the Jews to convert to Christianity. In 1870 during the unification of Italy the new Italian government ended the oppression and the walls of the ghetto were torn down.

Less then 100 years later the oppression and persecution began again in earnest. Largo Square is in the Jewish Ghetto. On the wall within the square is a plaque that reads “Largo – 16 Ottobre 1943” This is the day that the Nazis demanded that the community pay over 100 lbs of gold within 24 hours or the Jews that lived in the ghetto would be taken to the concentration camps. Both Jews and non-Jews came together and met the demand. The Nazis took the gold but they also took 2,100 Jews away. At the end of the war only 7 survivors returned.

On the day that we visited the ghetto I was touched by some freshly spray painted writing that was on the side of the Jewish Day School. One of the Holocaust survivors had passed away the previous day.

It reads as follows: “Farewell Hero. We will not forget you.”  The number preceding this inscription was his Auschwitz number tattoo.

Today this little four block neighbourhood, while still called the Jewish Ghetto is home to both Jews and non-Jews alike.

Synagogue & Jewish Museum of Rome

Arrivederci Roma!

All good things must come to an end. Later tonight we leave Rome and head home. But this is definitely not good-bye to Italy it’s more of a “We’ll see each other again.”

A parting shot…What I love about Rome, amongst other things, is that around every corner is a photo op.