Synagogue

Pécs Attractions - Sights in Pécs

Synagogue

Synagogue
7621 Pécs, Kossuth tér
06-72-315-881

The famous Jewish School of Pécs and the still operational Romantic style Great Synagogue were finished after four years of construction on the 22nd of July 1869. Their designers, Frigyes Feszl (his most well known works include the buildings of the Pest Vigadó and the sanctuary dome of the Dohány street synagogue of Budapest), Károly Gerster and Lipót Kauser were significant figures of 19th century Hungarian architectural art. The building next to the church is the former Jewish community school. The small synagogue is used on weekdays by the members of the small Pécs Jewish community and it is situated in the school's garden.

Jewish people lived in the town well before the Turkish occupation, however, it took a long time until they resettled following the end of the Turkish era. Pécs citizens swore an oath in 1692 that they would not let non-Catholic people settle in the town. In spite of their efforts to the contrary the Jewish population gradually grew in numbers, their culture was spreading as well. The community bought a cemetery in 1827, a prayer house was created in the Engel house at 10 Zrínyi street, while in 1843 a synagogue was constructed in Citrom street. The famous Jewish School of Pécs and the still operational Romantic style Great Synagogue were finished after four years of construction on the 22nd of July 1869. Their designers, Frigyes Feszl (his most well known works include the buildings of the Pest Vigadó and the sanctuary dome of the Dohány street synagogue of Budapest), Károly Gerster and Lipót Kauser were significant figures of 19th century Hungarian architectural art.
The interior of the church was preserved in its original state, while the restoration of the façade took place between 1980-1983. The church was opened for tourist visits on the 18th of May 1981. According to Jewish religious laws there are no figurative motifs neither in the inside nor on the outside.
The main façade of the church is divided into three sections. The façade inscription is a Biblical quotation: "The house of prayer for all peoples"- according to this people of any religion may visit the Jewish services.
The "stone tablets of Moses" stand on the top of the front façade with the numbers of the Ten Commandments (in Hebrew, every letter may indicate numerical values as well). Macehead ornaments stand on both sides of the stone tablets.
Inside the synagogue the nave has three sections. The painted geometrical forms, the floral and fruit ornaments form a harmonic unity. The sanctuary is directed towards Jerusalem, its ceiling is covered by stars, and it is divided from the nave by a row of richly ornamented bronze railings. The Ark formulated by four marble columns and a large dome is situated in the sanctuary. In front of these stands the Torah reading table and the "Book of Tears" which contains the names of 3022 martyrs tortured to death in concentration camps, mainly in Auschwitz. The sanctuary lamp symbolizes the eternal presence of God and is shaped as the Star of David. This is where the benches of the community elders, the pulpit and the candle holder symbolizing the seven days of creation called the Menora stand. There are tablets decorated with mourning ribbons on the walls in front of the sanctuary. The Hebrew inscriptions of the plaques refer to the very last service in 1944 where everybody was still present, even those, who later died in the concentration camps.
The dressing rooms of the cantor and the rabbi open towards the left and right. The place of the choir and the organ are situated above them - the organ represents a historical value. The director of the then rather new Angster Factory was commissioned to build the organ. This instrument was the first masterpiece of the factory and it was completed in March 1869. There are so-called "soul candles" in the glass boxes on the two sides of the nave.
The granite tablets of the entrance hall display the names of the former functionaries and the donors of the community. The water basin in the left corner represents the ritual bathing of older ages. Above the basin the miniature clocks used to indicate the order of prayers on Saturdays. A number of memorial plaques commemorate the victims if the First World War and the Holocaust.
The building next to the church is the former Jewish community school. The small synagogue is used on weekdays by the members of the small Pécs Jewish community and it is situated in the school's garden.


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