Portuguese Synagogue, Amsterdam

Portuguese Synagogue, Amsterdam (must see)

The option of enjoying religious freedom is what brought a majority of Jews from all over Europe to Amsterdam. The city has over the years earned a reputation for being tolerant and offering equal rights to individuals of every community.

The Jewish community first took refuge in Amsterdam in the late 15th century. Fleeing from Spain and Portugal, they enjoyed religious freedom in the Netherlands like no other. During that time, the Dutch Republic was also at war with Spain. To avoid further mishap, the refugees called themselves Portuguese Jews.

The community grew at a fair rate and about a century later in 1665, the Portuguese Synagogue was built. Also known as the Esnoga, the building back then was the largest synagogue in the world, having drawn inspiration from the Temple of Solomon in Jerusalem.

Seemingly untouched by the hands of time, the Portuguese Synagogue overlooks traffic on one of Amsterdam’s busiest streets. Not much has changed in the design and interiors of the structure since the 17th century, and one can still appreciate the antiquities and grand interiors that time has no effect on. After dark, about 1000 candles light up the entire space (there is no electric light).

Why You Should Visit:
To witness the second-oldest Synagogue in continuous use in Europe.
The entrance fee also allows access to the Jewish Historical Museum across the street.

Tip:
Don't skip going the various annexes to the main building (board room, winter synagogue, baths, office, candle room, mourning room, rabbinate, etc.), and make sure to go downstairs to visit the treasure chambers, which house some lovely items such as precious 16th-century manuscripts and gold-threaded tapestries, among other things. You can also see a number of books belonging to the oldest Jewish library in the world!

Opening Hours:
Sun-Thu: 10am-4pm; Fri: 10am-3pm

This sight is featured in a self-guided walking tour of Amsterdam, Netherlands within the mobile app "GPSmyCity: Walks in 1K+ Cities" which can be downloaded from iTunes App Store or Google Play. Please download the app to your mobile phone or tablet for travel directions for visiting this sight. The app turns your mobile device to a personal tour guide and it works offline, so no data plan is needed when traveling abroad.

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Portuguese Synagogue on Map

Sight Name: Portuguese Synagogue
Sight Location: Amsterdam, Netherlands
Sight Type: Religious
Guide(s) Containing This Sight:

Walking Tours in Amsterdam, Netherlands

Create Your Own Walk in Amsterdam

Create Your Own Walk in Amsterdam

Creating your own self-guided walk in Amsterdam is easy and fun. Choose the city attractions that you want to see and a walk route map will be created just for you. You can even set your hotel as the start point of the walk.
Jordaan Walking Tour

Jordaan Walking Tour

The Jordaan is a district of the city of Amsterdam. It was originally a working class neighborhood, but in recent years it has become quite upscale and home to many museums and art galleries, particularly those focused on modern art. The district is also dotted with specialty shops, markets and restaurants. This tour is a perfect opportunity to see the main attractions of the district of Jordaan.

Tour Duration: 1 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.4 Km or 1.5 Miles
Museum Quarter Walk

Museum Quarter Walk

The Museum Quarter (Museumkwartier) of Amsterdam gets its name from the major museums located in Museum Square therein, namely: the Rijksmuseum, the Stedelijk Museum and the Van Gogh Museum. In fact, it is the construction of the former that boosted the development of the whole neighborhood. Other than museums, the area is also home to the world-famous IAmsterdam letters, as well as exclusive...  view more

Tour Duration: 1 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 0.7 Km or 0.4 Miles
Jewish Quarter Walking Tour

Jewish Quarter Walking Tour

Amsterdam has been the center of the Dutch Jewish community from the 16th century up until the Second World War. Once crowded with open-air stalls, smoking factories and tenement buildings, the Old Jewish Quarter still retains several moving reminders of the Jewish community that was torn apart during the war. Follow this self-guided walk to explore several key sights in the area, which have much...  view more

Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.0 Km or 1.2 Miles
Western Canal Belt Walking Tour

Western Canal Belt Walking Tour

One of Amsterdam's most scenic parts, the Western Canal Belt is where the web of historic canals is most tranquil. Various attractions are found here, from tiny shops and cafes to churches, museums and galleries. Fine views and excellent shopping opportunities abound particularly in the "Nine Little Streets" that run between the canals. Take this self-guided walk to explore the best...  view more

Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.6 Km or 1.6 Miles
Churches Walking Tour

Churches Walking Tour

Amsterdam's numerous churches are an unique example of architectural diversity. Whether you are a keen church goer or simply interested in the architectural and historic aspects, Amsterdam will not disappoint. Take this self guided walk to visit the important religious sites in Amsterdam. The walk starts from the central station and visit eight religious sites in the city.

Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 4.3 Km or 2.7 Miles
Amsterdam Food Walk

Amsterdam Food Walk

Starting from the historic Dam Square area, passing through the posh Western Canal ring, and ending in the conveniently-located Jordaan neighborhood, this self-guided walk takes you through Amsterdam's interlocking canals, prettily lit bridges, and a maze of streets laden with some of the most diverse eateries and bars.

From top tastes such as raw herring to indulging in an infinite range...  view more

Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.8 Km or 1.7 Miles

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