Visit one of the most beautiful Jewish worship places in the world
Choral Temple is the largest synagogue and the best known monument of Jewish heritage in Bucharest.
It is also one of the most beautiful Jewish worship places in the world.
The idea of Choral (meaning Chorus) Temple belonged to a Polish Jew leader from Bucharest.
This wished an impressive synagogue as those from Paris, Berlin or Vienna.
Choral Temple is a copy of Tempelgasse of Vienna (aka Leopoldstadt neighbourhood’s Temple).
In 1938 Nazis destroyed this temple built by an Austrian architect between 1855-58.
Five times smaller than the original one that had 1,000 sqm, the copy in Bucharest is its only surviving replica.
This is one of the precious few Romanian synagogues with known architects.
The initial project presented Gothic architectural features.
Viennese architects Enderle and Freiwald designed it with a touch of Moorish and Byzantine architectural styles.
Symbol of Judaism in Romania
Built between 1864-66, the red-brick monumental building has counter-forts and small towers in the corners.
The rosettes existing on the front facade nicely process cruciform concepts, also existing in the model of Vienna.
The Hebrew inscription on the building reads: My home is a home of pray and requests for all religions.
It is the same inscription as that on the Holy Union Temple.
They ordered Torah scrolls and other necessary items for the religious service from Budapest.
In 1866 there was a proposal to include within Constitution, an article that was granting Romanian citizenship to local Jews.
Romanian nationalists protested against it.
Burning almost completely the temple on its inauguration’s eve, they forced the Government to withdraw the Article.
Prince Carol I of Romania was one of the contributors to the restoration work.
The Temple, open a year later, became the symbol of Judaism in Romania.
Bucharest’s most important synagogue
Restoration and extension works from 1892, 1932 and 1945 changed its architectural design.
The earthquake in 1940 damaged it.
And in 1941, the far-right Legionaries from Iron Guard devastated it during their fascist rebellion.
Since 1991 a great Menora-shaped Holocaust memorial monument fronts the Choral Temple.
After a 7 years restoration, between 2007-2014, they re-inaugurated the synagogue on December 16, the first Hanukkah night.
Then they also celebrated 150 years since the beginning of Temple’s construction.
The interior is visually stunning.
Its fabulous rich and colorful decoration includes lavish furnishing and lighting, adding yet more to temple’s grandeur.
The most important Bucharest’s synagogue, still serves the Jewish community, hosting daily religious services.
This is one of the few active synagogues in the city and in Romania.
And it is Ashkenazi meaning women pray separated from men.
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