Great Synagogue of Grodno

Grodno city throughout its long history was a place of special concentration of the Lithuanian-Polish Jewish population for a long time. And the main synagogue in Grodno of stunning beauty, fully confirms this fact. It is noteworthy that street, where now this magnificent building is located, formerly was known as Jewish street. 

The Great Choral Synagogue, or the Great Synagogue in Grodno, is one of the oldest synagogues in Europe, with a well-deserved title of the most beautiful one. Grodno Synagogue is a wonderful facility of Belarusian historical and cultural heritage, perfectly functioning today. Regularly, the services on the occasion of many Jewish holidays are held in the synagogue, where pilgrims from all over the world get a portion of kosher food. The Jewish Museum was also opened in the synagogue.

The history of creation of the Great Choral Synagogue

The Great Choral Synagogue, in its current form, was built only at the beginning of the 20th century. However, the synagogue was prepared for a bumpy and difficult road, which originates in the 16th century, when there was a small building made of wood on this place. However, the first major synagogue appeared on the initiative of Rabbi Mordecai Yoffe, only in 1578. Yoffe, scrupulously and carefully treated its construction and for this purpose he ordered genius Santi Gucci - then popular architect from Italy. Wonderful Belarusian artist Napoleon Orda depicted the old synagogue on his canvases.

Its fate was deplorable: periodically, in the flame of fire, its former glory had been destroyed. The main synagogue in Grodno was completely rebuilt in the early twentieth century, in the style of Russian Art Nouveau, where the main facade as well as the adjoining buildings on either side is quite interesting. The synagogue has a square shape and occupies three floors, which are characterized by magnificent interiors. However, a new synagogue, too, faced hard trial: when the Soviet power was established, a massive lock was hung on its door. During World War II, the synagogue was completely looted and damaged by bullet holes and shells in numerous battles. It is known that the German fascist invaders gathered Jews in a historic building before sending them to concentration camps, as well as on the eve of execution. After the war, the synagogue, for a long time, was not renovated, and it became in a state of deep neglect. And once the main synagogue in Grodno was a building of stunning beauty, rich history and full of religious life!

In Soviet times, it housed a lot of things, starting with warehouses and ending with art workshops that had nothing to do in Judaism. And only in the 90-ies of the last century, the historic building was returned to the local Jews. The Jewish community fully restored and refurbished the synagogue, where everything was renovated, starting with a leaky roof and ending with restored electricity.

Synagogue - a tourist attraction attracting tourists in Grodno

The main synagogue in Grodno is of great interest to numerous tourists from Belarus and pilgrims from all over the world who gather in a cozy town, on the bank of the majestic Neman to admire the most beautiful European synagogue and pray.It is enough to book one of the fascinating excursion tours around Belarus, the program of which includes a visit to Grodno: