13th Century Synagogue Restored

One of the oldest known synagogues, that in Sopron, built in the 13th Century has been restored and is now open to the public. The synagogue, located in the small village in western Hungary, is comparable in its age and architecture to the Neu-Alt Synagogue in Prague.

The ruins were discovered and identified in 1968 and reconstruction work has been in progress ever since with the help of the Hungarian State Museum and specialized craftsmen. The synagogue consists of several buildings: the actual house of prayer, a special hall for women, a ritual bath and a small hospital. The doors are described as one of the best examples of early Gothic art. The halls are panelled with wood and include lockers for prayer books. The names of the synagogue founders are inscribed on the western wall.

The synagogue’s opening last week was inaugurated by Hungary’s Chief Rabbi, Dr. Sandor Scheiber, who recited special prayers. Also present were Prof. Geza Entz of Budapest University who organized the restoration work and the deputy leader of the Sopron Jewish community, Josef Kocsis.

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