Jewish heritage tours in Budapest


2016. Május 17.

Are you interested in the Jewish community’s past, history and their important memorials in Budapest? Join us to learn more about the historic Jewish Quarter!

Let’s start our tour with the Great Synagogue in Dohány Street. It is the largest synagogue in Europe and the second largest in the world, capable of accommodating 3,000 people. It represents the Neolog type of synagogues with the front allocation of the Torah reading table, with partially seperated sexes. It means that women and men are sitting in different pews, not in different rooms. Following the Neolog style, the language of the service is Hungarian, because only a few people speak Yiddish today. 

The building was designed by a German architect, Ludwig Förster, teacher at the Vienna Academy. It was built between 1854 and 1859 in Moorish Revival and Neo-Moorish style. Ignac Wechselmann was in charge of the construction. Frigyes Feszl, the famous architect of the Vigado, was entrusted with the interior design. The indoor area is 1200 square meters, the two towers are 44 meters high, there are 1497 seats for the men downstairs, and 1472 for the women on the two balconies. The spread of the naves is 12 meters. 

The buildings and the courtyards of the Great Synagogue include the Jewish Museum, the Heroes Temple, the Jewish Cemetery and the Raoul Wallenberg Memorial Park. The Jewish Museum was constructed on the site where Theodor Herzl, the father of Zionism was born. Today it provides a lot of information about Jewish traditions, costumes, the history of Hungarian Jews and the Holocaust. The Raoul Wallenberg Memorial Park is located in the backyard of the Great Synagogue. The Holocaust Memorial, also known as the Emanuel Tree, is a weeping willow tree with the names of Hungarian Jews killed during the Holocaust inscribed on each leaf. This place commemorates Raul Wallenberg, a Swedish diplomat and other non-Jewish Hungarians who saved the lives of thousands of Jews during the Holocaust.

Let’s continue the Jewish Heritage Tour with the Rumbach Street Synagogue. It is known as the small Synagogue, because it is similar to the major Neolog building, the Dohány Street Synagogue. It was built between 1869 and 1872 in Islamic style, designed by Otto Wagner, the leader architect of the Viennese Art Nouveau. Today it is more like a museum because it does not work as a synagogue anymore.

In addition to the Neolog synagogues, the Orthodox Kazinczy Street Synagogue is worth visiting. The masterpiece of the late Art Nouveau architecture was built in 1913 according to the plans of the Löffler brothers. You will see the main characteristics of the Orthodox style: the Torah reading table in the middle, women and men totally separated. The synagogue is the main building of the Orthodox center and the only mikve (the ritual bath) can be found near the synagogue.

Walking around the Jewish Quarter with kosher shops, Jewish restaurants and cafes, you will experience how lively it is. Choose one of the Jewish Heritage Tours, if you are curious about the past and present of the Jewish Community in Budapest!



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