Dohány Street Synagogue

The biggest and perhaps most beautiful synagogue in Europe is to be found in Dohány Street in district VI of Budapest. The building is not just enormous but it is magnificent together with the adjacent courtyard, built in Romantic style in 1854-59. The construction works were led by Frigyes Feszl, based on the plans made by Ludwig Förster. This is a 3-nave hall church with over 3000 seats. Although it was built in accordance with Romantic style rules, it also represents a strong influence of Byzantian architecture: raw bricks, ceramic decorations and domes. The synagogue had a most sad role in history: Its territory with the adjacent blocks of flats was designated as the Ghetto of Pest during World War II, when thousands of people died here. This is why there had to be a cemetery next to the church, in contrast with Jewish traditions. Next to the garden stands the Holocaust memorial park with a metal willow tree designed by Imre Varga (a major Hungarian sculptor), commemoration the victims of Holocaust. One can engrave the name of their deceased relatives on its leaves. The synagogue plays an active role in the cultural life of the capitol city too: it often houses classical concerts and cultural festivals.

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