Hungary // Budapest and around //

The Great Synagogue and Jewish quarter

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On the corner of Wesselényi and Dohány utca stands the Great Synagogue or Dohány Street synagogue. It is the world’s second-largest synagogue (the largest is in New York) and the central place of worship for what remains – despite the devastation of the Holocaust – Central Europe’s largest Jewish community. The Byzantine-Moorish interior is worth a look, but the history is the powerful part: Theodor (Tividar) Herzl, father of Zionism, was born on this site, and in the courtyard are buried the bodies of more than 2000 people who died here in 1944–45 when the synagogue was part of the Budapest ghetto. Take the time to look at the beautiful silver tree in the “garden of remembrance”, named after Raoul Wallenberg, the Swedish diplomat who rescued many Jews during World War II. Behind the synagogue lies Pest’s old Jewish quarter, today dotted with trendy cafés and snug little patisseries.

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