Synagogue - Dohány Street Central Synagogue, Budapest

4.5 out of 5 stars 71 Reviews

1071 Budapest, Dohány utca 2.

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    Raoul Wallenberg Memory Park
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  • MedioLatino's Profile Photo

    The Tree of life and the Raul Wallenberg park

    by MedioLatino Written May 25, 2005

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    The Tree of Life

    Behing the main Synagogue in Dohany street, you can find the park named after the famous Swedish diplomat Raul Wallenberg.

    In the center of the park there is the Tree of Life, modelled after a weeping willow. The tree is a memorial of the 600.000 martyrs who were victims of the holocaust.

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  • MedioLatino's Profile Photo

    The Great Synagogue - The biggest in Europe!

    by MedioLatino Written Jan 4, 2005

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    One of the towers of the Great Synagogue

    The Great Synagogue of Dohany street was built between 1854-1859 by the Neolog Jewish community of Pest according to the plans of the Viennese architect Frigyes Feszl and Ludwig Förster. In 1996 they finished it's reconstruction, so nowdays it shows it's original splendor.

    It's really a great synagogue, in size as well, since it's capacity is 2,964 seats (1,492 for men and 1,472 in the women’s galleries) making it one of the largest in the world and the biggest in Europe.

    The building has a lenghth of more than 53 meters and it's 26.5 meters wide. The design of the Dohany Street synagogue, while basically in a Moorish style, also features a mixture of Byzantine, Romantic, and Gothic elements.

    The 5,000 tube organ of the synagogue was built in 1859; Franz Liszt and C. Saint-Saens are probably the most famous musicians that played on this remarkable instrument.

    Next to this synagogue there’s the Jewish Museum (with a Holocaust memorial room) and the Hall of Heroes (with the Monument of Hungarian Jewish Martyrs). The two towers of the building are 43 meters high. Inside the Synagogue very special concerts are held.

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  • nicolaitan's Profile Photo

    The Great Synagogue ( 4 photos )

    by nicolaitan Updated Dec 9, 2006

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    Jews first settled in the Budapest region in the 11th Century and as in many European nations passed through periods of ascendancy alternating with years of persecution and even expulsion. After the anti-Semitic years of Empress Maria Theresa, Jewish prosperity reached a new peak under the friendly rule of Emporer Joseph II. As a reflection of their new-found success, the Reformed (Neolog) Jewish community of Pest undertook to build this massive synagogue, second largest in the world after New York's Temple Emanu-el, with room for 3000 worshippers, to the plans of a Viennese architect Ludwig Foerster. It would be enlarged in 1931. The square in front honors Zionist Theodore Herzl, who had his bar mitzvah here.

    During WWII, the Nazis occupied the building as a radio center and stable. Adolf Eichmann had offices here. It was used as a concentration point for transport of Jews to the extermination camps, and over 2000 Jews died here from exposure and starvation near the end of the war. Damage was heavy, both by Nazis and their allies the Arrow Cross party, and by the attacking allied forces. After the end of Communist rule during which the building fell into serious disrepair, funding for rehabilitation came largely from the US, much from Hungarian American actor Tony Curtis and from Estee Lauder. The three year reconstruction ended in 1996 with the synagogue restored to its earlier glory.

    The ornate west facade is almost Moorish in appearance, with long arched windows and carved stone with gold ornaments and domes on the windows. A large stained glass rose window overlooks the main door. The exterior brickwork echoes the colors of Budapest - yellow and red. The flanking towers are almost 50 feet high with gold ornaments on green onion domes. Arriving from the Astoria metro stop and rounding the corner, the sight of this building is truly breathtaking.

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  • jumpingnorman's Profile Photo

    See Bulldozers around the Budapest Synagogue

    by jumpingnorman Written Jan 30, 2009

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    Bulldozer near Budapest Synagogue (tree of life)

    I first read about the Jewish Synagogue in Budapest while I was reading the National Geographic. It was an article on endangered sites around the world. Apparently, a lot of the old Jewish establishments around the Synagogue are being demolished since developers wanted to commercialize the area.

    True enough, when I visited the Synagogue in 2007, there was a huge bulldozer at the back (destroying some apartment), while I was at the famous metal “tree of life” which had the names of some Holocaust victims.

    The Great Synagogue in Dohány Street, also known as the Dohány Synagogue, or the Tabac-Schul, the Yiddish translation of dohány (tobacco), is the second largest synagogue in the world! It was finished in 1859 and can accommodate 3000 people.
    The area of the Synagogue is known as the inner part of the seventh district of Budapest, considered a Jewish ghetto during the Second World War when a wall was built around this area. It was time of oppression and Jews could only leave the ghetto with permission.

    Years later, the Synagogue still stands and used by an active Jewish community in Budapest. And I think its great that they are allowing tourists to enter their place of worship. They have even built a Jewish Museum in Synagogue itself, where I saw some old expensive looking menorahs.

    There are other synagogues in this area of Budapest, and you will also find some kosher restaurants and shops, a rabbi training school. Hopefully, commercialization will not ruin the character of this historical Jewish community.

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  • mallyak's Profile Photo

    The Great Synagogue

    by mallyak Written Dec 17, 2010

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    The Great Synagogue, also known as Dohány Street Synagogue (Hungarian: Dohány utcai zsinagóga/nagy zsinagóga, Hebrew: בית הכנסת הגדול של בודפשט‎ bet hakneset hagadol šel budapešt) or Tabakgasse Synagogue, is located in Erzsébetváros, the 7th district of Budapest. It is the largest synagogue in Eurasia[1] and the second largest in the world

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  • ViajesdelMundo's Profile Photo

    DOHANY St. SYNAGOGUE

    by ViajesdelMundo Updated Jul 28, 2009

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    This is the world's second biggest synagogue today. Moorish style, designed by German architect, Ludwig Forster. Opened on 6 Sept 1859.

    There are guided tours in Hebrew and English, and can also be booked in season in French, German, Italian, Spanish and Russian. In addition to providing information about the synagogue, they also include much about the Hungarian history, which is a must for understanding the area.

    Opening hours: 1Nov - 31Mar 10am to 3 pm, Fridays and Sundays til 2pm; 1Apr - 31Oct 10am to 5pm, Fridays til 3pm and Sundays til 6pm.
    The synagogue and cashier close half an hour prior to to those times and is closed holidays and festivals. Groups of a minimum of 10 persons receive a discount.

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  • nicolaitan's Profile Photo

    The Great Synagogue Interior ( 5 photos )

    by nicolaitan Written Dec 9, 2006

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    Spectacular, opulent - words can not do justice to the sanctuary of the Great Synagogue. Designed by Frigyes Fresl, the walls are covered with gold ornamental designs. The womens' galleries are supported by heavily decorated poles. The huge ark at the east end with its beautiful blue and gold filigreed dome contains many Torahs saved from synagogues destroyed elsewhere by the Nazis. The massive organ built in the mid 1800s has drawn great artists most notably Franz Liszt. Both it and an area for a choir are located behind the ark. The whole room is naturally illuminated through arched and round stained glass windows as well as by large ornate chandeliers. Sitting in the polished dark wooden benches, the visitor is compelled to search every corner for the beauty within this room.

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  • The Great Synagogue

    by blint Updated Nov 21, 2004

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    The Great Synagogue, Pest
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    Located in Pest it is the largest synagogue still in use in Europe. It now contains the Jewish Museum which is open from 10am to 5pm Monday to Thursday, 3pm Friday and 2pm Sunday. Remember that it is the Jewish Sabbath on Saturday so it is closed all day.

    The Synagogue is at Vll Dohány utca 2-8 and behind it between Dohány utca,Kertész utca and Kiraály utca is the old Jewish ghetto.

    During WWll, Hungarian Jews were some of the last to be rounded up, however this actually proved more fatal for them as the where sent straight to the gas chambers from the trains. It is a great tragedy that should be remembered, therefore a trip to the Synagogue and the Jewish museum is a truly worth while activity.

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  • antistar's Profile Photo

    Central Pest: Great Synagogue

    by antistar Updated Jul 3, 2011

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    Great Synagogue, Budapest
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    Budapest once had a thriving Jewish population, one of the biggest in the world. The Holocaust took its toll, and as many as 40% of the quarter of a million Jews in the city lost their lives to the Nazis or Hungarian Arrow Cross. Today Budapest, in spite of everything, is still home to one of the largest Jewish populations in Europe.

    The biggest Jewish population in Europe is served by the biggest synagogue in Europe. With the capacity to host 3,000 prayers, it is even, according to the New York Times, the second biggest in the world. It was built in 1859 in the style of Moorish synagogues in North Africa and Spain and has survived bombings by the Arrow Cross Party (deliberate) and Allies (accidental) to become of one Budapest's most impressive sights.

    Entry to the synagogue can be quite complicated. First there is a metal detector, a tragic reminder that even today Jews have been targeted by bombs in Budapest. Secondly you have a choice of tours that is not all that clearly marked.

    Basically it goes like this:

    * If you want a guided tour, buy a ticket from the kiosk outside the metal guard rails, then follow the instructions you are given.
    * If you don't want a guided tour, then enter directly through the metal detector, and buy a ticket from the kiosk on the right of the synagogue before entering. You'll be directed here if you forget and try to enter without paying.
    * If you don't want to spend any money, you can just walk through the metal detector and wander the grounds of the synagogue for free.

    Note: After writing this tip I moved into an apartment overlooking the Synagogue!

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  • melissa_bel's Profile Photo

    The Great Synagogue

    by melissa_bel Written Aug 24, 2004

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    The Great Sinagogue in Budapest

    The Great Synagogue, or NAGY ZSINAGÓGA, is the largest in Europe. Before World War II, Hungary had a large Jewish population and this mid-19th-century building, with its Byzantine towers and Moorish atmosphere, was a tribune to this thriving community. It was in bad shape, but thanks to donations from all over the world, it was about to open when we were there. We didn't go in but looked at the exterior and got a look to the cemetery, where you can clearly see that tombstones that have been desecrated have been put lovingly back again.

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  • rexvaughan's Profile Photo

    Europe's Largest Synagogue

    by rexvaughan Updated Feb 27, 2007

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    The Tree of Life
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    For centuries Budapest has been an important center for Jewish life, culture and commerce with indications that there were Jewish settlers in Buda in the 12th C and in Pest by the early 15th if not earlier. This city is also the birthplace of two of the leaders of the Zionist movement, Max Nordau and Theodor Hertzl.
    Sadly the story of the Jews in Budapest is a familiar one involving isolation and persecution at best and attempted extinction at worst. Through the middle ages they were expelled several times. Closer to our time, is said that 600,000 Hungarian Jews were killed in the Holocaust. There are about 80,000 Jews in Budapest today with 26 active synagogues in the city
    One of the best places to gain some understanding and appreciation for this heritage is at the Great Synagogue and its Jewish Museum. The Synagogue was build in the mid 19th C which appears to have been a prosperous and peaceful time for the Jews of Budapest. Interestingly enough the synagogue is designed like a church (basilica to be exact) so that when you go in it feels like a church except the symbols are different. It is said they wanted to feel more integrated into the community so this was done purposefully. It is a large edifice, seating 3000 and is second largest in the world after Temple Israel in New York. During WWII it is said that the Nazis used the building for some of their Holocaust activities and that Eichmann had an office here which I find ironic but repulsive. There are mass graves of thousands of vitims in the courtyard and the famous “Tree of Life” which marks the site. Each leaf has inscribed on it the name of one of the victims.

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  • Jefie's Profile Photo

    Great Synagogue and Holocaust Memorial

    by Jefie Updated Nov 11, 2012

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    Great synagogue of Budapest
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    The Great Synagogue of Budapest, also known as the Dohany Street Synagogue, is the largest synagogue in Europe and one of the biggest in the world. Completed in 1859, it was built in a Moorish style and it seats close to 3,000 people. The ground floor, reserved for men, has 1,492 seats, while he balconies have room for 1,472 women. Important restoration work was conducted during the 1990s and chiefly funded by Hungrian Jewish immigrant Estée Lauder. There is a Jewish cemetery right next to the synagogue. Over 2,000 people are buried there, most of whom lived in the Jewish ghetto and died from hunger and cold during the Siege of Budapest that took place in the winter of 1944-1945. Also next to the synagogue is the Holocaust Memorial Park.The "Memorial of the Hungarian Jewish Martyrs" takes on the form of a weeping willow with leaves bearing the names of the 600,000 Hungarian Jews killed during World War II.The memorial was partly funded by American actor Tony Curtis (born Bernard Schwartz) , whose parents were Hungarian Jewish immigrants.Guided tours of the synagogue are available in different languages everyday except Saturdays.

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  • m-joy's Profile Photo

    Synagoge

    by m-joy Updated Jan 10, 2005

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    This is the biggest synagogue in Hungary and one of the biggest ones in Europe. The two twin towers are bulb-shaped with a height of 43 meters. The gigantic church, which offers place for more than 3000 people inside, was built in 1859. No guided tours or information every Saturday (as it’s Sabbat).

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  • Mique's Profile Photo

    the holocaust monument

    by Mique Updated Dec 19, 2003

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    The name leaves on the holocaust monument

    Behind the synagoge there is the holocaust monument made by Imre Varga. All the leaves of this tree are made of names of people from Budapest that died in one of the concentration camps. And that terror gets a whole new meaning if you hear someone next to you say.. 'found my dad, and this my mum..'

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  • Great Synagogue

    by Lena1979 Written Oct 25, 2005

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    This synagogue built in Byzantine-Moorish style is largest in Europe. We entered synagogue and were amazed to see a lot of ornaments and decorations inside. It is so different from synagogues in Israel with their modesty of interior.

    The price of admission includes entry to synagogue and the Jewish museum where Jewish related items from the Roman period to the present day are assembled. If you want to take pictures in synagogue, you are expected to give some donation.

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