Jewish Heritage Europe

Latvia: Great Synagogue in Ludza to reopen after restoration

 

Ludza Great Synagogue project. Photo: Ludza Municipality
Ludza Great Synagogue project. Photo: Ludza Municipality

The historic Great Synagogue in Ludza, Latvia — dating from around 1800 and the oldest surviving synagogue in the country — will be rededicated on August 11 after a detailed restoration that included restoring the wooden structure and also interior painted decoration.

The only synagogue in Latvia to preserve an inner cupola, the building will now house a museum with a multimedia exhibition on Jewish life, culture and local Jewish history as well as a section on the World War II Ludza Ghetto.

Ludza-synagogue-sm
Photo: Ludza municipality

The €250,000 restoration project was mainly funded by a more than €200,000 grant from the European Economic Area (EEA). Other funding came from the city and state.

According to the EEA, The Great Synagogue is “one of rare buildings in the old center of Ludza which did not suffer in the big fire of 1938, when the entire town center was completely ruined.”

It said the building was used as a meeting house till the end of 1980s and as such  preserved “its original image, architectonic facade composition, basic wooden construction,” and authentic plan including the vestibule, prayer room, stairway to the upper floor,  women’s gallery, and study room, as well as other key features dating back to the 18th-19th centuries, such as the Aron ha Kodesh and Bimah.

 

Announcement of dedication ceremony
Announcement of dedication ceremony

 

See our January 2015 post about the restoration, with pictures

 

 

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