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Budapest Medieval Synagogue

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Budapest Medieval Synagogue

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Basic Information

Location Táncsics Mihály utca 26-28, Budapest, Hungary
Country Hungary
City Budapest

General Information

Open to visitors yes
Need appointment no
Handicap accessibility no
Website http://www.sacred-destinations.com/hungary/budapest-medieval-synagogue
Geographical Coordinates 47.49841,19.04076

Summary

The Medieval Synagogue (Kozépkori Zsidó Imaház) of Budapest is a two-room Sephardic synagogue from 1364 that was discovered in the 1960s during general excavation work in the Castle District.


History and time period

The first Jewish families in Budapest arrived in the mid-13th century and lived in the precincts of Buda Castle. A Jewish community connected with the coin-minting industry became established in the area from the former Zsido Gate, to the Szent György Street – formerly known as Zsido (Jewish) Street.

The Jewish families of the area were forced to leave during the reign of King Lajos IV. After they were allowed to return, they settled in New Zsido Street (now called Táncsics Street) and built this synagogue in 1364.

Buda's Jews were massacred in the late 17th century following the defeat of occupying Turks by a Habsburg-led Christian army. The Medieval Synagogue was turned into an apartment and its history was soon forgotten. It wasn't until the 1960s that it was rediscovered by accident during general excavations. It includes 17th-century murals with biblical inscriptions, including a bow pointing to heaven with the text, "The bows of the mighty men are broken, and they that stumbled are girded with strength," and a Star of David with Aaron's blessing: "The Lord bless thee, and keep thee: The Lord make his face shine upon thee, and be gracious unto thee."

Another excavation project nearby unearthed the ruins of another, much larger, synagogue dating from 1461. It stood across the street from the Sephardic synagogue at Numbers 21-23. All that remains of it are parts of walls, a keystone (on display inside), and three stone columns standing in the courtyard.

Some Hebrew gravestones are on display behind a grate in the entryway; the small one in the center of the front row dates from the 3rd century AD.

You can see just about everything from the entrance; consider the admission fee a contribution to the museum. The English-speaking caretaker will give free informal tours to those who express an interest.

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