Thanks to its geographical position, the capital of West Bohemia has always been something of a cultural crossroads. A number of exotic buildings have survived in the city, lending Plzeň the feel of a cosmopolitan centre in this part of the Czech Republic. One of these buildings is the Great Synagogue, an integral part of Plzeň’s cityscape.
The Great Synagogue in Plzeň is the second largest in Europe and the third largest in the world. It was built in the Moorish-Romanesque style and even today you can still admire its wonderful decoration, resplendent in floral motifs. Although the synagogue gives the impression of being a historical building, it was actually only built in 1888. Looking at the front of the synagogue you immediately notice the two immense towers. The original plans show that these should have been half as tall again, but the city council of the day didn’t like the fact that the new synagogue would compete in height with the nearby cathedral.
A Jewish temple with a special atmosphere
This mammoth edifice not only hosts religious services, it’s also an important exhibition venue. The great acoustics mean it is also a frequent concert venue, for concerts that make use of the synagogue’s unique pneumatic organ.