The synagogue was established between 1854 and 1859. It was designed by the Austrian architect, Ludwig Forster. It is predominantly Moorish in style, although it also has Byzantine, Gothic and Romanesque styles. It's 53 m high and 26 m wide and can seat up to 2,964 people, of which 1,492 are men and 1,472 are women.
The Synagogue is also called Tabakgasse Synagogue, the Great Synagogue or Dohány Street Synagogue. In Hebrew, dohány means tobacco.
The Jewish Ghetto
During World War II, the Nazis created a Jewish Ghetto around the Great Synagogue, which was later transformed into a concentration camp. From this camp, many Hungarian Jews were sent to the extermination camps.
Over 2,000 Jews died of hunger and cold in the ghetto during World War II. The bodies were buried in the cemetery just in front of the Great Synagogue.
Visiting the Great Synagogue
Outside the synagogue is the Jewish cemetery (not as striking as the Jewish cemetery in Prague). A sculpture in the form of a weeping willow called the Tree of Life was created in 1991 in memory of all Jews that died during the War. Each leaf has a name of a person who passed away during the Jewish persecution inscribed on it. Clicking here you can book a guided tour.
June to October: from 10 am – 7:30 pm (Friday until 4:30 pm).
November to February: from 10 am - 3:30 pm (Friday until 1:30 pm).
March to May: from 10 am - 5:30 pm (Friday until 3:30 pm).
Adults: 3,000 Ft (US$ 10)
Students: 2,000 Ft (US$ 6.70)
Children 6 - 16: 800 Ft (US$ 2.70)
Children under 6: Free.