Whichever of the four Jewish trails you choose, your starting point will always be the city of Plzeň. The birthplace of the world’s most celebrated beer is also a city with a wealth of Jewish sights. Head first for the Great Synagogue, the second largest in Europe and third largest in the world. The first of the Jewish trails leads from Plzeň to Rabštejn nad Střelou where you can see a Jewish cemetery, a monastery and the ruins of a castle. The trail then continues to Nečtiny were the remains of a Jewish cemetery are hidden in the woods. A Jewish lane with a former synagogue awaits at next stop, Pňovany. You can finish the walk in Touškov, where you can see the house of Salomon Löbl. If you’d like to add on some of the area’s Christian sites, head for the monastery at Plasy or the magnificent Baroque chateau at Manětín, said to be Europe’s smallest town.
Jewish sites along the River Berounka
The second Jewish trail leaves Plzeň for Rokycany, where you’ll encounter a new Jewish cemetery as well as a church and town walls. The walk continues on to Radnice, where you can stroll through the Jewish ghetto containing a synagogue. The trail then takes you to Terešov with its Jewish lane and chateau and then on to Hřešihlav and Kožlany with their well preserved Jewish cemeteries.
Picturesque Jewish cemeteries to the south
The third trail will take you to various Jewish cemeteries hidden in villages in the southern reaches of the district. The first stops are Štěnovice and Dolní Lukavice where you can call in at the local chateaux. The trail then continues to Přeštice with its exquisite archdeacon’s church, and Švihov where a tour of the moated castle is a must. You can end your excursion in Merklín or head for the fascinating Benedictine monastery in Kladruby, where the church sports a bizarre dome and is regarded as one of the most attractive in the Czech Republic.
The only surviving ghetto in the Plzeň Region
The last of the trails linking sights associated with the Plzeň RegionPlzeň Region’s Jewish community runs from Plzeň to Spálené Poříčí. Here you can amble along a Jewish lane and see a house with an old kitchen and the cemetery. And be sure not to miss the Renaissance chateau here. The trail then heads to the Kasejovice Jewish ghetto where the local synagogue houses a museum. Next stop, the town of Nepomuk, known across the Catholic world as the birthplace of St. John of Nepomuk. The trail ends in Blovice, where in addition to a Jewish cemetery you’ll also find an enchanting chateau. If you’ve still got an appetite for exploration, head to Starý Plzenec with its famous rotunda dating back to the 10th century, and the elegant chateaux at Kozel and Nebílovy.