The Jewish Quarter or Jewish Surburbia
The committee is spearheading the restoration of the historic Jewish Quarter or Jewish Suburbia- including the Old Synagogue and the pre-war Bikur Cholim Synagogue.
The historic Jewish quarter or Jewish Suburbia - a depiction of Jewish communal life dating from the 19th century- is comprised of the Old Synagogue, Beit Hamidrash, and Mikvah. UNESCO included the compound in its nomination of Bardejov as a World Heritage Site due to “its cultural and historical significance.” The compound – its buildings and grounds – is currently occupied by a large building supply company. The committee considers this a sign of great disrespect to the compound’s religious significance, to the memory of the thousands of Bardejov Jews who perished in the Holocaust, and to their descendants, and is seeking an immediate resolution to this profoundly disturbing situation.
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Click here to read more about the committee’s position on the restoration of the Jewish Quarter or Jewish Suburbia
Visit our Photo Gallery to see more images of the current useage of the compound
The information and images below are attributed to Synagoga Slovaca, a joint documentation project of the Institute of Jewish Studies, Comenius University; The Slovak National Museum – Museum of Jewish Culture; and the Faculty of Architecture, Slovak Technical University. (www.slovak-jewish-heritage.org)
The Old Synagogue
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The largest and most famous of the pre-World War II synagogues in Bardejov is the Old Synagogue. Built in 1829 or 1836, prior to the Jewish Emancipation, it is the oldest building of what is known as the Jewish quarter or židovské suburbium (Jewish suburb), which contained the synagogue, mikvah, beit hamidrash, slaughterhouse, and other community buildings.
Reflecting architectural features of the Baroque and Neo-Classical styles, it is one of two remaining nine-bay synagogues in Slovakia (along with the synagogue in Stupava). Ror this reason, it is considered one of the most valuable pieces of synagogue architecture in the country. Eight vaults covered with beautiful ornamental decoration are supported by pillars and pilasters.
The old synagogue has been in great disrepair, but, recently, preservation work has begun on the structure of the building (Spring 2010). This work is under the supervision of the Monuments Board of the Slovak Republic. The synagogue was emptied of all the merchandise stored there by the tenant who has been, and continues to, operate a plumbing and hardware business in the suburbia. Extensive repair work to the brickwork surrounding the windows has been carried out by highly trained restorers for the past months. In early 2011 work was completed on installing a complete set of weather-proof windows in the entire structure. The missing staircase and portico which collapsed in the 1990s continues to be an issue for the restoration of the building. Drainage issues will also need to be addressed as moisture continues to degrade the building. The interior decorative painting on the ceilings and walls has been scientifically assessed. A damaged inscription of the Hebrew Psalm 113:3, “From the rising of the sun unto the going down therof the Lord’s name is to be praised” remains on the eastern interior wall.
Visit our Photo Gallery to see more images of the Old Synagogue
Chevra Bikur Cholim Synagogue
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This synagogue, built in 1929, is located in the historical city center. It is named for the community association that established it, Chevra Bikur Cholim, which assists sick members of a Jewish community. The eastern façade of this simple building faces the street. A pair of pointed windows marks the sanctuary. To the right of the façade is a gateway with a smaller pointed window above. The interior, while narrow, extends toward the back of the lot and leads to a backyard.
Up until his death in 2005, Mr. Meyer Špira, one of the last Jewish residents of Bardejov, maintained the building and prayed in its sanctuary. Thanks to his efforts, the synagogue is considered one of the best preserved synagogue interiors in Slovakia.
Visit our Photo Gallery to see more images of Chevra Bikur Cholim Synagogue