Dohány Street Synagogue

Budapest, Hungary

The Dohány Street Synagogue is the largest synagogue in Europe and one of the largest in the world. It seats 3,000 people and is a centre of Neolog Judaism.

The synagogue was built between 1854 and 1859 in the Moorish Revival style, with the decoration based chiefly on Islamic models from North Africa and medieval Spain (the Alhambra). The synagogue's Viennese architect, Ludwig Förster, believed that no distinctively Jewish architecture could be identified, and thus chose 'architectural forms that have been used by oriental ethnic groups that are related to the Israelite people, and in particular the Arabs'. The interior design is partly by Frigyes Feszl.

The Dohány Street Synagogue complex consists of the Great Synagogue, the Heroes' Temple, the graveyard, the Memorial and the Jewish Museum, which was built on the site on which Theodore Herzl's house of birth stood. Dohány Street itself, a leafy street in the city center, carries strong Holocaust connotations as it constituted the border of the Budapest Ghetto.

The synagogue was bombed by the Hungarian pro-Nazi Arrow Cross Party on 3 February 1939. Used as a base for German Radio and also as a stable during World War II, the building suffered some severe damage from aerial raids during the Nazi Occupation but especially during the Siege of Budapest. During the Communist era the damaged structure became again a prayer house for the much-diminished Jewish community. Its restoration started in 1991 and ended in 1998. The restoration was financed by the state and by private donations.

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Founded: 1854-1859
Category: Religious sites in Hungary

Rating

4.4/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

Trishie Shumba (2 years ago)
Beautiful synagogue from the inside and out. They have guides in different languages. The ticket will allow you to visit the synagogue, exhibition of photos and also a museum that they have inside. All of these places are worth visiting. I highly recommend.
Angie Bee (2 years ago)
I don't know what I can say that others haven't said. This synagogue is magnificent and you must go there when you're in Budapest. Even if you're not Jewish, this synagogue is breathtaking and moving and will have you under its spell. It is serene inside and you can't help but marvel at the gorgeous details in every single feature of the interior. There's the main synagogue and a smaller one that is used in winter, and out the back is a cute little garden area with a Holocaust Tree of Life Memorial monument that is stunning too (if that's the right word to use). You can wander around on your own, or take tours that are led in various languages. To be honest, we did our own thing, but I now wish I'd taken a guided tour. I hope to go again, so if I do, this is what I'd choose. Yes, it's a little overpriced, but it's "mandatory" to visit here when visiting this great city. I'm willing to bet this old, magnificent shule (the biggest in Europe) is probably the most beautiful in the world and you can easily spend a good solid hour or two looking around and taking in the grandeur of it all. I highly recommend it.
Miles Macdonald (2 years ago)
No visit to Budapest could be complete without visiting this magnificent Synagogue, it's truly beautiful inside. Completed in 1859 it remains the largest in Europe with a seating capacity of 3000. Start with the 30 minute talk by a guide explaining the History of the Synagogue and also of the experiences of Jews in Hungary. The jewel in the Crown is obviously the main Synagogue, but don't miss the smaller Synagogue (used in Winter months for energy conservation), The Museum (objects relating to religious and everyday life) and another exhibition of the Budapest Ghetto 1944/45. At the North End, before the exit gate, stop to see the Holocaust Tree of Life Memorial. Easy to spend a couple of hours here and totally worth the entry fee.
Bobby T (2 years ago)
Although entrance fee is expensive there is a free great and extremely informative guided tour that gives you an insight into Jewish customs as well as Hungarian Jewish history. Memorial and tree of life can be seen from the outside of you are on a budget but I think it’s well worth paying to see this. Can easily spend 3 hours here.
Yue Sun (Halo) (2 years ago)
A very ornate Jewish church. After buying the ticket, there is an English guide tour to explain the history of the Jews and their habits in daily life. It was very interesting. In addition, there are cemeteries, exhibitions, and museums to visit.
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