The first written record of the presence of Jews in Třebíč dates back to 1338. The autonomous Jewish Religious Community of Třebíč was founded in the second half of the 15th century. With 260 legally residing families of 1,700 members, which represented a whole quarter of the city’s population in the mid-19th century, the local community grew into one of the most populous in Moravia before 1850. The Jewish community of Třebíč was, similarly to other ones, heavily affected during the Nazi occupation. The Jewish community was restored after the end of WWII for a short period of time; later it was formally adjoined to the Jewish Community of Brno. In the past, Třebíč represented one of the important cultural centres of the Moravian Jews.

The Jewish quarter in Třebíč is probably the best preserved one in Europe. A priceless urban complex, it was – together with the St. Prokop Basilica – rightfully listed as the single landmark of its kind in the world as a UNESCO World Heritage Site (see at www.trebic.cz/unesco). The Jewish quarter on the left bank of the river of Jihlava, in the valley under the castle and in the vicinity of the historical centre, is situated in the picturesque location between the river and the Hrádek Hill (Fig.1). Fourteen narrow streets and public passages through the houses diagonally interconnect its two main streets Blahoslavova and L. Pokorného. The quarter is preserved exceptionally well; out of the initial 123 houses of the ghetto in Zámostí only four were torn down. The preserved buildings earlier housing Jewish institutions include a Jewish council house at 8 L. Pokorného Street, a rabbinate at 4 Tiché Square, a school at 15 L. Pokorného Street, a hospital at 23 Pomezní Street and a workhouse at 23 Blahoslavova Street. Some of the buildings have kept their renaissance or baroque disposition and feature many interesting architectonic details such as corner archways. Condominiums often occur, meaning that the house is divided into vertical and horizontal sections owned by several different owners. All the sights are presented as part of an educational trail winding through the Jewish quarter; the tired traveller can also pay a refreshing visit to one of the several stylish restaurants.

The Front synagogue at 12 Tiché Square (Fig.2) was built in baroque style at the site of an older temple in 1639–1642. It was later rebuilt in Gothic Revival style in 1856–1857 and then converted into a Hussite Church chapel in 1953–1954. It is a discrete building of standard synagogual design, featuring a hall with a trough vault. The chapel is open to public during services or upon a prior appointment with the parish of the Hussite Church (contact: Mr. Pražan, phone +420 568 841 632).

The Rear synagogue at 43 Blahoslavova Street (Fig.3) was founded as a baroque building in 1669. Its walls and vaults were historically decorated with floral and ornamental motifs combined with Hebraic liturgical texts (Fig.4) during a major reconstruction in 1705–1707. The building was again altered in 1737 and exactly one hundred years later a women’s gallery was annexed. Since the 1920 the synagogue was used for profane purposes as a store house. A historical reconstruction enabling the use of the synagogue as a cultural facility, which also involved restoring the valued interior decoration, was carried out in 1994–1997. Nowadays the synagogue hosts an exposition covering the history of the local Jewish Community and featuring the preserved relics. The synagogue is open to public daily from 10:00 AM to 12:00 AM and from 1:00 PM to 5:00 PM, phone +420 568 610 023, more info at www.visittrebic.eu and www.mkstrebic.cz.

The Jewish cemetery is situated in the Hrádek Street north of the ghetto in the slope above a stream. Compared with the long-term the state of the cemeteries of the other perished Jewish communities, the Jewish cemetery of Třebíč is kept in a great shape. It was founded in the second half of the 15th century and expanded in 1888. The 3-acre cemetery comprises circa 3,000 tombstones, the oldest readable of which dates back to 1625. The cemetery features valuable renaissance, baroque and classicist tombstones. It is a place where you can visit the graves of the noted personalities of the region, such as rabbi J. J. Pollak (died 1879). By the cemetery entrance there is an eclectic hall of farewell built in 1903 (Fig.5) with an interior preserved in an intact state. Memorials to the victims of WWI and WWII can be found in the open area beyond it. The cemetery, one of the most impressive landmarks of the funeral art in the Czech Republic (Fig.6), is open to public daily except Saturdays, in May to September from 8:00 AM to 8:00 PM, in November to February from 9:00 AM to 4:00 PM, October and March from 8:00 AM to 6:00 PM. Contact: Mr. Malášek, phone +420 568 827 111.

Třebíč is the birthplace of the orientalist Wolfgang Wesselý (1801–1870) and the literary critic Kurt Beer-Konrad (1908–1941, Dresden). Every year, at the beginning of August, the city comes alive with the visitors of Třebíčský židovský festival“ (Třebíč Jewish Festival). See also www.mkstrebic.cz.

Further information on Třebíč sights and landmarks can be found at www.visittrebic.eu/trebic-mesto-pamatek-unesco/

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