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.
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).
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..'
VIIITH Jewish Summer Festival Aug 27-Sep 4: Program: Bruch’s Scottish Fantasy. Miskolc Symphony Orchestra. From 7pm at Dohány utca Synagogue. Budapest Jazz Orchestra. 7pm at Rumbach Sebestyén utca Synagogue). Organizers: Jewish Cultural Center, Pest, District VII. Síp utca 12. Tel: 343-0420, www.jewishfestival.hu. Details under Aug 27.
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.
Central Europe largest Jewish community lives in Hungary, mainly in the Budapest. Of the 22 synagogues in Budapest the Moorish style Dohany utca synagogue is outstanding and also unparalleled in Europe.
It is Europe's largest exsisting and still functioning synagogue, seating 3.000 worshippers, was built from 1854 to 1859. This was the first usage in the history of synagogues built in Hungary of two towers. The red and white striped brick of the exterior is decorated by ceramics. The inside hall consists of three naves. Seven rooms contain the collection of historic and religious relics of Jews in Hungary. There is also a Holocaust Memorial in the courtyard.
Because of its excellent acoustics it is also frequently used for concerts.
During the Second World War, 600.000 of the 720.000 strong Jewish population in Hungary perished in Nazi concentracuon camps.
Next to the main building of the Sunagogue in Dohany street lie the arcades of the Jewish Heroes' Mausoleum and Temple in memory of the thousands of Jewish martyrs who died during the Second World War, and the ghetto created here by German troops during the war.
One of europes largest synagogues ,centre of the former Jewish Ghetto district ,charactersized by dark narrow streets and bullet holes in the facades round windows and doors. The synagogue was left intact as a memento of a " extinct " race and housed a collection of Jewish artefacts ,was also the scene of several massacres by the Arrow Cross towards the end of the war.
Its an impressive building at first sight closer to Astoria square and Deak ter..it was building in the middle of 19th century by an austrian (Forster). The face og the bulding is in white and red brick with a wealth of ceramiche entrance is not free, costs around 400 and 1000HUF and alow enter to the museum
On our Budapest VT meeting VT member croisbeauty guided us to a few Synagoges of the city.
The Central Synagoge (Zsinagoga) of Budapest is the worlds second largest Synagoge. It was build between 1854-1859 and has seatings for 3000 worshippers.
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