Judaism is an old religion in the world. Its followers do visit their synagogues often. However, when traveling, one does tend to look around more at places of worship. Therefore, if you want to experience the spirituality of worship places we have compiled a list of such synagogues that are more famous due to their historical reasons.
People worldwide look at the work of history with architecture. Therefore, many countries have tried to keep the assembly houses of Jews functioning. The history of Jews is not very fancy as they have faced many wars and bloodshed. Such wars destroyed many temples and worship places. But many countries later came forward to renovate and reconstruct these buildings. As faithful followers and history lovers do end up visiting such places.
In case, you are a fan of gothic structures, lover of buildings with great stories then we have compiled a list of the oldest synagogues that you may explore while traveling.
Dubrovnik Synagogue, Croatia
The Nordic region is a favorite of many travel lovers. Also, the beauty and affordability of Croatia is another major pull for the people. The synagogue is now a museum. However, it dates back to the year 1352.
The expulsion of Jews in 1492, led to many Spanish Jews migrating to Croatia. The then residing Jews of Croatia helped them and used this synagogue as their temporary refuge as well.
The building has been a witness of the Holocaust, the Croatian war as well as natural calamities in the preceding centuries. However, with time as Jews left to settle down in Israel. This building became more of a museum. Presently, the Jewish community of the area looks after the building. On special occasions and festivals, the main floor is opened for people. The Jew community of the area participates in such festivals.
Ben Ezra Synagogue, Egypt
This place has been the longest-serving synagogue for their community till the 1950s. Ben Ezra is now a museum and as well as a tourist attraction in Cairo. Once Israel surfaced on the map of the world, most Jews fled from Egypt to their homeland. Ben Ezra was built in the 9th century. It was a time when the empires were strong and Jews were in power.
The present state of the building shows the effort put in the design and construction of the synagogue.
Altneuschul, Czech Republic
Altneuschul is more famous as the Old-New Synagogue of Prague. It was constructed in 1270, with strong Gothic elements in the architecture. This synagogue has survived the anti – Semitic movements that were prevalent in all of Europe.
This place is an active worship spot for followers of Judaism.
Scolanova Synagogue, Italy
In 13th-century Scolanova Synagogue was built in Trani. The city had four synagogues for the worshippers. However, a century later when the anti-Semitic movement rose in Europe this town was also a part of it. Not only the synagogue was converted to a church, but also Jews were forced to convert to Christianity.
It continued to be a worship place for the followers of Jesus. The narrow alleys and the old white paint of this building is the quintessential Spanish structure of the bygone era. The small one-room synagogue is an old architecture in southern Italy and attracts many tourists as well.
However, Scolanova was desacralized in 2006. Also, its status was that of a synagogue. David’s Star, Menorah, and all essential symbols added for the sanctity of the synagogue.
Santa María la Blanca, Spain
Santa María la Blanca was previously called the Ibn Shushan Synagogue. Said to be one of the oldest synagogue building in Europe built in the year 1180. This change of name occurred as it was converted to a church in 1405-1411.
Presently this building is a museum under the Catholic Church. However, in its heyday, this synagogue was a prime example of tolerance in the region.
Mulsim architects built this synagogue for Jews in a Christian majority area. The elements of the architecture are different and show their touch to the building. A notable change in this edifice is the absence of the women’s gallery.
Many researchers claim this due to the construction and design being led by Muslims, who kept their prayer areas for men. However, the building is a must-see for its amazing architecture and well-preserved beauty without any major changes or renovation.