Located in the city center of Pest, the Great Synagogue of Budapest is a must visit when in the Hungarian capital.
The second largest in the world after New York, the Budapest synagogue was inaugurated in 1859. The work took 5 years, lead by the Austrian Catholic architect, Ludwig Förster.
The Great Synagogue of Budapest stands out for its Moorish style as seen in the red brick exterior, oriental motif and two bulbous towers reminiscent of minarets.
It also impresses by its dimensions. With a width of 27 meters and length of 75 meters, it can accommodate nearly 3,500 faithful.
Inside you will be surprised by the richness of the decorations, notably the two huge candlesticks (weighing 1.5 tons), the reading table of the Torah at the front of the building, the apse in a church). It has two floors including a gallery (the men worship on the ground floor, the women on the upper).
As another singularity of the structure, the Synagogue of Budapest is endowed with an organ, a first at the time of its construction. Composer Franz Liszt played at the inauguration, as did Camille Saint-Saëns.
The Park of Memory of Raoul Wallenberg
The Park of the Memory of Raoul Wallenberg is home to a memorial to the Swedish diplomat, Raoul Wallenberg, who saved thousands of Jews during the Second World War by issuing diplomatic passports.
The Tree of life:
You will discover The Tree of Life in the courtyard behind the synagogue, a sculpture created in 1989 by the Hungarian artist, Imre Varga, as an holocaust memorial.
This steel weeping willow has silver leaves on which is written the names of victims.
As such it commemorates the 600,000 Hungarian Jews killed during the Second World War. This monument was financed by the Emmanuel Association of the American actor of Hungarian origin, Tony Curtis.
The Jewish Museum – Budapest synagogue
The Jewish Museum of the Budapest Synagogue presents the Jewish history of Hungary with many works of art. It offers various art exhibitions throughout the year.
In the garden of the synagogue is a cemetery, which is unusual in the Jewish religion. During the second world war, because of its location in the Jewish ghetto, thousands of people were buried here.
Rules for visiting the Budapest Synagogue:
Women should have their shoulders covered and for men, a kippa, or cap, is distributed at the entrance. Taking pictures and filming are allowed.
Tip: avoid the long queues to visit the synagogue of Budapest (see below). Guided visits are recommended. Your tour can be in English language. Small groups are formed throughout the day:
Address: Dohány utca 2, VIIth district, Pest – map –
- From the beginning of March to the 25th of April from 10h to 18h from Monday to Thursday and from 10h to 15h30 on Fridays.
- From the end of April to the end of September, open from 10h to 19h30 from Monday to Thursday and from 10h to 15h30 on Fridays.
- In October open from 10:00 to 17:30 Monday to Thursday, Friday 10:00 to 15:30.
- From the beginning of November to the end of February open from 10h to 16h from Monday to Thursday and from 10h to 13h30 on Fridays.
- Closed on Saturdays.
- Also closed on January 18, March 15, April 19,21 and 26, June 9 and 10, September 29 and 30, October 23, November 1, December 24 and 25.
Access by public transport: Astoria Metro Station Line 2, Bus No. 7 and 7A, Tram No. 47 and 49.