Židovské suburbium Bardejov
Suburbium Bardejov
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Old Synagogue

The Old Synagogue, erected in the early 19th century, was the first structure of the Jewish Suburbia compound to be built. Today it is one of Slovakia ‘s two surviving nine-bay synagogues — an architectural style from the 17th to early 19th centuries — and is therefore considered a valued example of Slovakia’s synagogue architecture. Partially hidden at the rear of the compound, the building consists of a sanctuary with a vestibule, a study room, and a women’s gallery. The synagogue floor lays deeper into the ground which associates with verse in Psalm 130:1, “Out of dephts have I called Thee, O Lord”. A monumental neo-Classical portico with a staircase once provided the entrance to the synagogue. The prayer hall is a three bay square space, with a bimah (the central raised platform from which the Torah-Jewish law-was read) placed in the middle. It is supported by four pillars that create a canopied enclosure above it. The ceiling above the bimah is covered with splendid, Moorish ornamental decoration. The synagogue’s most interesting artifact is a dedicatory plaque on the western wall above the entrance whose poetic Hebrew text describes the synagogue’s construction: Twenty-two years of the years had passed / And the hands of Josef [Guttman] who had started / to build this house [faltered], / But he was plucked before his time/ And grass and thistles nearly filled the halls / Until the challenge fell on the shoulders of his son-in-law. / And Isaac came and stretched his arms upward to God and to the mission. / He allowed his eyes no sleep, nor did he rest nor cease / Until his God answered him and the work was / completed, on Rosh Chodesh Elul, in the year, `May this / be a small temple` [5]596. By deciphering the date by using Hebrew letters, 5596 correspondents to the year 1836 of the Common Era. Above some of the building’s twelve windows representing the twelve tribes of Israel are Hebrew inscriptions from the Old Testament and a Hebrew engraving of the Keter Torah (Crown of Torah), which indicates the location of the AronHaKodesh (the holy ark, the place where the Torah scrolls were kept). Additionally, a damaged Hebrew inscription from Psalm 113:3 spreads on the eastern wall, “From the rising of the sun unto the going down thereof the Lord´s name is to be praised.” This wall also features an unusual row of small niches thought to keep prayer shawls and books. The Old Synagogue is a cultural monument listed under the number 1789/1 in the Central Register of the Cultural Monuments of the Slovak Republic.


unesco_svetove dedičstvo


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Supported by a grant from Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway. Co-financed by the State Budget of the Slovak Republic.
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© Federation of Jewish Communities in Slovakia. All rights reserved. Eligible authors of displayed renderings are Dr. Ing. arch. Ján Krcho, PhD. & Ing. arch. Michal Mihaľák.