Sofia Synagogue, Sofia

Sofia Synagogue, Sofia

The Sofia Synagogue serves the spiritual needs of Sofia's Sephardic Jews. It is the largest synagogue in Southeastern Europe and is one of the two operating synagogues in Bulgaria. Designed by the Austrian architect Friedrich Grunanger, it opened in the presence of Tsar Ferdinand I of Bulgaria in 1909.

It was similar to the Moorish Leopoldstadter Temple of Vienna. It was built on a lot previously occupied by another synagogue. It was intended as a part of the reorganization of the Bulgarian Jewish community. The synagogue is next to the Central Market Hall. It can hold 1,300 persons. The main chandelier weighs nearly two tons.

The attendance at services is never large enough to fill the space available. Although the Synagogue is located in "Tolerance Square", Bulgaria's reputation for tolerance has not been as as sterling as it might have been. Most of the country's Jews opted to move to Israel.

The style of the building is Moorish Revival with influences of the artists school of the Vienna Secession. The facade shows Venetian elements. The synagogue has an octagonal dome. The interior has columns of Carrara marble, Venetian mosaics, and ornate woodcarvings.

As of 1992 the Synagogue hosts the Jewish Museum of History. The history includes the fate of Jews in Bulgaria, the Holocaust and Rescue. There is also a gift shop.

Want to visit this sight? Check out these Self-Guided Walking Tours in Sofia. Alternatively, you can download the mobile app "GPSmyCity: Walks in 1K+ Cities" from iTunes App Store or Google Play. 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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Sofia Synagogue on Map

Sight Name: Sofia Synagogue
Sight Location: Sofia, Bulgaria (See walking tours in Sofia)
Sight Type: Religious
Guide(s) Containing This Sight:

Walking Tours in Sofia, Bulgaria

Create Your Own Walk in Sofia

Create Your Own Walk in Sofia

Creating your own self-guided walk in Sofia 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.
Communist Era Landmarks Walk

Communist Era Landmarks Walk

In the not-so-distant past Bulgaria was part of the Soviet-led Eastern Bloc. Today, this is one of the few countries where you can still find numerous relics of the Communist era manifested in monumental architectural landmarks. Concrete and metal were the main materials as a symbol of the industrialized nation, and the size was important too as a common architectural characteristic prescribed by...  view more

Tour Duration: 3 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 6.6 Km or 4.1 Miles
Sofia Introduction Walking Tour

Sofia Introduction Walking Tour

"Ever growing, never aging" This is the motto of Sofia, capital city of Bulgaria. Under different names, the area of Sofia has had a 7,000 year history. Organized settlements around the area's hot water springs existed as early as the third millennium BC. A Thracian state union there was raided by Philip II of Macedon in 339 BC.

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

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