Saturday, January 10, 2009

Czech Republic - Plzeň (CZ-19667)

Out of 3 official Czech cards that I've received, 2 are from Plzeň (and the senders of both cards are colleagues), but this one is completely different than the previous one :) I love city views with a lot of snow :) Here's some information about the Great Synagogue in Plzeň, which you can see on the right side of this card:

The Great Synagogue (Czech: Velká Synagoga) in Plzeň (Pilsen), Czech Republic is the second largest synagogue in Europe.

A Viennese architect called Fleischer drew up the original plans for the synagogue in Gothic style with granite buttresses and twin 65-meter towers. The mixture of styles is truly bewildering; from the onion domes of a Russian orthodox church, to the Islamic style ceiling, to the distinctly Indian looking Aron kodesh. The synagogue was used without interruption until the Nazi occupation of World War II, and the Jewish community that retook possession of the synagogue at the end of hostilities had been decimated by the Holocaust. The last regular service was held in 1973, and then the synagogue was closed down and allowed to fall into disrepair under communist rule. Restoration was undertaken from 1995-98, and the synagogue was reopened on February 11, 1998 at a cost of 63 million Kč. The synagogue is still used for worship, but only in what was formerly the winter prayer room. The present number of Pilsner Jews is a little over seventy.


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