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The Dohány Street Synagogue

Today the Great Synagogue in Dohány Street, which has been one of the most renowned landmarks of Budapest for a long time, serves as the main synagogue of the local Jewish community.

In 1991 a monument dedicated to the memory of the Hungarian Jews who perished in the Holocaust was installed in the rear courtyard of the synagogue, in a small park named for Raoul Wallenberg. The Holocaust memorial, the work of Imre Varga, resembles a weeping willow whose leaves bear inscriptions with the names of the victims and boasts the inscription: Whose agony is greater than mine. 240 non-Jewish Hungarians, righteous among the nations who saved Jews during the Holocaust are inscribed on four large marble plaques. The memorial was made possible by the generous support of the New York based Emanuel Foundation for Hungarian Culture, with funds raised by private donors.

After World War 2, the damaged structure became again a prayer house for the much-diminished Jewish community. Only in 1991, following the return to democracy in Hungary, the renovation works could start and were completed in 1996 when once again the building was restored to its former beauty.
The 5,000 tube organ of the synagogue was built in 1859; Franz Liszt and C. Saint-Saensare probably the most famous musicians that played on this remarkable instrument.

The western facade boasts arched windows with stone-carved decorations and brickwork in the heraldic colors of Budapest: blue, yellow and red. The western main entrance has a stained glass rose window above it. The gateway is flanked on both sides by two polygonal towers with long arched windows and crowned by copper domes with golden ornaments. The towers rise to a height of 43.6 meters each, their decoration features stone carvings of geometric forms and clocks with a diameter of 1.34 meters each. The facade is topped by the Tables of Covenant.

It is a monumental, magnificent synagogue, with a capacity of 2,964 seats (1,492 for men and 1,472 in the women’s galleries) making it one of the largest in the world. The building has a lenghth of more than 53 meters while its width has 26.5 meters. The design of the Dohány Street synagogue, while basically in a Moorish style, also features a mixture of Byzantine, Romantic,and Gothic elements.

The Great Synagogue in Dohány Street, also known as the Dohány Synagogue, or the Tabac-Schul, the Yiddish translation of dohány (tobacco), after the Hungarian name of the street, is located in Belváros, the inner city of Pest, in the eastern section of Budapest. It was built between 1854-1859 by the Neolog Jewish community of Pest according to the plans of the Viennese architect Frigyes Feszl and Ludwig Förster. The synagogue neighbours a major Budapest thoroughfare expressing the optimism and the newly elevated status of the Hungarian Jews in the mid years of the 19th century.

Coordinates47° 29.7398' N, 019° 3.5808' E

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