The Old New Synagogue (Czech: Staronová synagoga; German: Altneu-Synagoge) situated in Josefov, Prague, is Europe's oldest active synagogue. (The Scolanova Synagogue in Italy, also 13th century, was converted to a church by 1380 but was restored to synagogue use in 2006.) It is also the oldest surviving medieval synagogue of twin-nave design. Completed in 1270 in gothic style, it was one of Prague's first gothic buildings. A still older Prague synagogue, known as the Old Synagogue, was demolished in 1867 and replaced by the Spanish Synagogue.
Nine steps lead from the street into a vestibule, from which a door opens into a double-nave with six vaulted bays. This double-nave system was Most likely adapted from plans of monasteries and chapels by the synagogue's Christian architects. The molding on the tympanum of the synagogue’s entryway has a design that incorporates twelve vines and twelve bunches of grapes, said to represent twelve tribes of Israel. Two large pillars aligned east to west in the middle of the room each support the interior corner of four bays. The bays have two narrow Gothic windows on the sides, for a total of twelve, again representing the twelve tribes. The narrow windows are probably responsible for many older descriptions of the building as being dark; it is now brightly lit with several electric chandeliers.
Golem of Prague:
It is said that the body of Golem (created by Rabbi Judah Loew ben Bezalel) lies in the attic where the genizah of Prague's community is kept. A legend is told of a Nazi agent during World War II broaching the genizah, but who perished instead. In the event, the Gestapo apparently did not enter the attic during the war, and the building was spared during the Nazis' destruction of synagogues. The lowest three meters from the stairs leading to the attic from the outside have been removed and the attic is not open to the general public.