There are a lot of reasons why one decides to travel and visit someplace. The first one is usually because that place is world-famous, but you can also decide to travel because someone recommended that place or just because you saw a picture online. Getting in touch with your religion is another great reason and the synagogues are temples that everyone needs to see at least once.
No matter if you are Jewish or not, it is a fact that religious places bring you peace. They are something that allows you to learn more, know more and just have that feeling of belonging and peace. There are a lot of different synagogues all around the world, but chances are, you cannot visit all of them.
Here we are going to talk about the world’s greatest synagogues you must visit and we are going to help you learn where they are located and why they are worth seeing.
Grand Choral Synagogue, Russia
This is one of the oldest synagogues that are still standing. The original one was built in 1893 in St Petersburg. Decades later, in the early 2000s, it was renovated and now we can see the original glory of the building. When you visit this house of worship, you will be able to notice the mesmerizing 47-meter high cupola and the bright colors the resemble sherbet.
Unlike many other synagogues, the tours offer the English language as well, and you can also opt for Russian tours. If you visit the Grand Choral Synagogue during the visiting hours, you can see many things including the courtyard and Greater Hall. The courtyard is worth seeing because it has a mural of the Western Wall. Did you know that in the Great Hall there is room for more than 1,000 people?
After you are done visiting it, you can go to the gift shop to get something for your loved ones back at home, or you can go to the on-site kosher restaurant. This place is definitely worth visiting and it will take your breath away.
Musmeah Yeshua Synagogue, Myanmar
In the 1800s, there was a huge Jewish community in the city, but now only 20 Jews are left in Myanmar. Today the Musmeah Yeshua Synagogue is the last remaining house of worship in the city and it stands to show that there are still traces of the community that once existed there.
The original building was built in the 1850s and it was a lot smaller and the building we can see now was built around 1890, 40 years after the first one. The one we can see now is a lot bigger and more beautiful while it still shows the original tradition.
When you enter this building, you can walk around it and admire the wooden interior. It also features memorial lamps as well as the two Torah scrolls that are housed there. Visitors say that the high ceiling is one of the most beautiful things in this synagogue.
Unfortunately, it is not known for how long this house of worship is going to stand and continue working because there are not many Jews remaining in Yangon. So, if you have the time and the means, you have to check out this building because it is definitely worth seeing.
The Belz Great Synagogue, Israel
The original synagogue that stood in Belz was destroyed in the Holocaust and to honor it and the tragic past, this house of worship was built in Israel according to the original plans. It is said that this is the biggest house of worship in Israel and that is one of the many reasons why you should visit it.
Today it is said that this synagogue shows the triumph over the Nazi destruction because the German Nazis destroyed the original building as well as many other houses of worship. The one that is located in Israel took the same amount of time to be finished as the one in Hungary – approximately 15 years.
This magnificent building can hold up to 10,000 people and it is also a home of 70 Torah scrolls. The wooden ark became a part of the Guinness Book of Records because of its capacity. The sanctuary looks like a ballroom because it features nine chandeliers. Each one of them holds more than 200,000 pieces of Czech crystals and it is said that they will take your breath away.
One thing you need to be careful about when visiting this building is that English tours are not common, so if you want to know more about the synagogue you will need to call beforehand and book a tour in English.
After visiting the Belz Great Synagogue you will definitely want to have some piece of it at home. If you cannot find a gift shop there, then you can use a Jewish website for gifts where you can handpick something that will remind you of your trip.
Ohel Jakob Synagogue, Germany
One of the most beautiful synagogues is located in Germany and in Hebrew it is called Ohel Jakob. Translated that means Jacob’s tent. That is an entirely fitting name for what is a modern creation made largely from stone and steel as well as the glass cube. The masterminds behind this structure everyone must visit are famous architects, Rena Wandel-Hoefer, quite renowned in the Jewish community and Wolfgang Lorch. About two decades ago, they joined forces to win a design competition that allowed them to embark on this project.
Did you know that the glass used to create it actually has a story behind it? It represents the tents that the Israelites used during the exodus.
This place has a history that is as interesting as the design. The design, among other materials, consists of wood decorated with gold letters. The original Ohel Jakob Synagogue was destroyed during WWII, in 1938 and it was located only a few blocks away from the one we know now.
There are a lot more things you can find surrounding this building that commemorates the Jewish community. One of them is the Museum who is also a really good place to visit. The Jewish center is linked to the synagogue with the Corridor of Remembrance. The corridor holds that name because here you can learn about the Jews that were killed in the war.
Paradesi Synagogue, India
After the Sephardic Jews came to India, they built this house of worship. It is said that it is the oldest active synagogue in India. One of the interesting facts about this building is its name. The word Paradesi in Indian means foreigner and it shows the beginnings and the struggles the Sephardic Jews had when they first came there.
When you visit this structure, remember that you will need to enter barefoot and you will definitely not regret that. When your skin touches the hand-painted ceramic tiles you will get a magical feeling. Here you can see four Torah scrolls in a teak ark, along with an oriental rug and gold crowns. This place features many different antiquities that are definitely worth seeing.
One thing can be said about all of these houses of worship – they will make you feel calm, happy and they will help you get in touch with your roots. In these houses of worship, you will learn more about Judaism, but you will also learn about the history and the traditions.
If you are visiting any of these places, don’t forget to take your time and see the temples. They are surely breathtaking and they are something you will remember forever. Do you have a favorite synagogue? Where is it located?