Take a walk in the old Jewish Quarter of Pest
At the turn of the 18th and 19th century the Jewish community gathered in the VII. district along the road leading to the bridge, with Király Street as its center.
The city had not tolerated Jewish people for a long time. II. Joseph’s regulation put an end to the prohibition in 1783. At that time there lived fourteen Jewish families in the immediate vicinity of Budapest, in the great mansion of Barons Orczy. Their numbers increased rapidly. Most of the largest Jewish community of the era moved from Óbuda, but many of them came from other areas of the Habsburg empire, Moravia and Galicia as well.
In 1944 the Pest Ghetto was built here crowding 70.000 people together, one of the borders of the ghetto was the Row of Archways on the Wesselényi Street side. In 2002 the neighborhood bordered by Király Street, Csányi Street, Klauzál Square, Kisdiófa Street, Dohány Street and Károly Boulevard was named the old Jewish neighborhood of Pest and was entered into the Budapest world heritage conservation zone. In this area you can see most of the Jewish heritage sites of the Pest side, including the famous „Synagogue Triangle.”
Under the address of Dohány Street 2 you will find the worlds second largest and Europe's largest synagogue, which was designed in Moorish style by German architect and professor of the Academy of Vienna, Ludwig Förster. Construction was supervised by Ignác Wechselmann, who in Förster's absence hired Frigyes Feszl, Hungarian architect famous for his work on the Vigadó, to design the inner shrine. The inside of the synagogue is 1200 square meters, the towers are 44 meters high. The building is big enough to hold 3.000 people. The building next to the synagogue, which used to be an apartment building, is now the Jewish Museum. This building is especially important, because Theodor Herzl, also known as the Father of Zionism was born here.
In the garden you will find the Martyrs' Cemetery and the Raoul Wallenberg Memorial Garden. The Jewish Summer Festival is also held here in the Synagogue Garden. The Hungarian Jewish Archives (Wesselényi Street 7.) which document the rich history of the Pest Jewish Quarter are also accessible through the synagogue, the archive holds a fascinating collection of diaries, love-letters, petitions and permits that give visitors a unique look into the past. A permanent exhibition includes an 18th century ornamental Wimpel, the synagogue treasury's old collection plate and the mezuzah from Dezső Kővári's Kosher shambles which was established in 1914 and still functions today.
The exhibition opens at 10am and closes at 18pm from Sunday to Thusday. On Friday, from 10am to 16pm. On Saturday it's closed. Last entry is half an hour before closing time.
The second point of the Triangle is the synagogue on Rumbach Street, also known as „the little synagogue.” It was built in a mixture of Romanticism and Moorish style and somewhat echoes that of the Dohány Street Synagogue. It was built between 1869 and 1872, construction was made possible entirely by public donations. It was designed by Austrian architect, Otto Wagner, a famous figure of the Art-Nouveau movement.
The third point in the Synagogue Triangle is an outstanding example of Art-Nouveau architecture. The Orthodoxy Synagogue on Kazinczy Street was built between 1912 and 1923. The building complex, which includes a school was designed by the Löfler brothers and serves as the center for the Orthodox Congregation of Budapest and is more like a small village within the Jewish quarter. Nearing the synagogue tourists will find Kosher shops, Kosher butcher shops and Budapest's only mikveh (ritual bath).
The historic district, as a part of the city's rehabilitation strategy, started to to look towards youth culture and tourism in recent years: from 2002 some now very popular cafes, bars and summer music venues opened in buildings that were earlier considered for demolition: the Szimpla-garden, the Gozsdu Courtyard, or the Kőleves (Stone Soup) -garden to name a few. Since then the area, especially Kazinczy Street is not only known for its rich cultural heritage, but for it's unique "ruin pubs," art and design shops and nightlife.
We would like to not only show visitors the history of the Pest Jewish quarter, but the present day youthful, artistic and progressive neighborhood that it has become. Explore this vibrant part of the city.
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