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Golden Rose Synagogue, Lviv

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Golden Rose Synagogue, Lviv


Basic Information

Location 49°50′46″N 24°01′47″E
Country Ukraine
City Lviv
Address Staryi Rynok square, 1, L'viv, Lviv Oblast, Ukraine

General Information

Open to visitors no
Need appointment no
Handicap accessibility no
Website http://www.lvivcenter.org/en/lia/description/?ci_objectid=274
Geographical Coordinates 49.84656,24.02953


The Golden Rose Synagogue, known also as the Nachmanowicz Synagogue, or the Turei Zahav Synagogue (Hebrew: בית הכנסת טורי זהב‎) was a synagogue in Lviv, Ukraine. The Golden Rose Synagogue was the oldest synagogue in Ukraine. The synagogue was designated a World Heritage Site in 1998. The article by Tom Gross published in The Guardian's "comment is free" section on September 2, 2011 under the headline "Goodbye Golden Rose" reported that the authorities in Lviv, contrary to Ukraine's laws designed to preserve historic sites, were allowing a private developer to demolish parts of the adjacent remnants of the synagogue complex in order to build a hotel, which would endanger the mikvah and other Jewish artifacts, as well as possibly the remaining outer walls of the synagogue itself. Lviv officials refuted that information. Reacting to international pressure generated by Gross's article, and by pressure from the Ukrainian president's office in Kiev, the city authorities ordered a halt to the hotel work in order to preserve the Jewish artifacts and to ensure the synagogue's outer walls would not be threatened. The mayor of Lviv also hastily announced the city would proceed with long-delayed plans to build a Holocaust memorial near the Golden Rose synagogue in the former Jewish quarter of Lviv's old town.

History and time period

A midtown plot of land was bought in 1580, and the synagogue was founded and funded in 1581 by Yitzhak ben Nachman (alias Izak Nachmanowicz), a financier to King Stephan Batory. Therefore, the oldest name of the synagogue was the Nachmanowicz Synagogue. It was built in 1582 by Paulus Italus ("Paolo the Italian") from Tschamut (Chiamut) village in canton Graubünden, Switzerland, a master builder known by his guild nickname Paweł Szczęśliwy (Paul the Fortunate, in Polish). In 1595, the same Paolo, assisted by Ambrogio Nutclauss (alias Ambroży Przychylny), by Adam Pokora, and by master Zachariasz (most probably, Zachariasz Sprawny, alias Zaccaria de Lugano) built a vestibule and a women’s gallery in the synagogue. Men prayed in a hall which was spanned by a cloister rib vault with pointed lunettes above the windows. An alabaster Torah ark in renaissance style was located at the eastern wall. A bimah was located in the middle of the prayer hall. The building was topped by an attic in Mannerist style. In 1606 the building was confiscated by the Jesuits. In 1609, after paying a ransom of 20,600 guilders the synagogue was returned to the Jewish community. A local legend (first published in 1863) ascribed the merit of the restitution of the synagogue to Rosa bat Ya'akov, Yitzhak's daughter-in-law. The synagogue was therefore also called the Golden Rose Synagogue after her. Rabbi Yitzhak ben Shemuel HaLevi composed in 1609 Shir Ge'ula (a Song of Deliverance), – which was read each year as a part of the shacharit prayer on Shabbat following Purim. The Song of Deliverance compared the return of the synagogue to the Jewish community to the salvation of the Jews from the Babylonian and Egyptian captivities. In 1654-67 Rabbi David HaLevi Segal, called TaZ after his main work Sefer Turei Zahav, the younger brother of Yitzhak HaLevi and his pupil, prayed in this synagogue. For that reason the building was also named the TaZ Synagogue. In 1941 the synagogue was desecrated, and in 1943 ruined by the Nazis.

There is a plaque which commemorates the Golden Rose Synagogue: "Remnant of the old temple called 'Di Goldene Royz'. Built during 1580-1595 by the Nachmanowicz family in the memory of Nachmanowicz's wife. The building designed by the Italian architect Pablo Romano was destroyed by Nazis and burnt in summer 1942."

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