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Central Synagogue in Kharkov

The Central Kharkov Synagogue is an architecture monument that dates back to 1912. Among the architects who contributed to the construction were I. Hewirtz, M. Piskunov and V. Feldman. The synagogue is located in Pushkin street, 12. From 1868 to 1910 there was a small praying house.

The Central Kharkov Synagogue

The Emperor’s St. Petersburg architect community advertised a competition to create the best plan for the synagogue, and the one created by Hewirtz took the first place among dozens of others and was published in the “Zodchiy” magazine. Since the Nicholas church is located very close to this spot, according to the law the synagogue had to be moved several meters further. The construction was led by the architect M. Piskunov.

In 1923 the Soviet officials pretended to be asked by the Jewish community of the city and turned the synagogue into a “Jewish working club in honor of the Third International”. As soon as the war broke out, the place was made a children’s movie theatre. In 1945 the synagogue started functioning again only to be shut in 1949 and have the sport union “Spartak” to be opened there. In 1990 the building was once again given to the Jewish community. To make everything right they brought a rabbi from Israel so that he helped to organize everything and remove the gym equipment. 1993-1995 were the years when the Hasid movement started to claim their rights for the synagogue. Finally they got what they wanted, but in 1998 a massive fire almost completely destroyed the building. In 2003, after a major restoration, it was given to the Jewish community and opened to public again. Currently it is still functioning.

The inside of the synagogueThis synagogue is considered to be the largest in Ukraine and the CIS and the second largest synagogue in Europe. It’s dome is 42 meters tall, the hall is 30 meter tall and the roof is 25 meters tall. The side wall is 50 meters long, while the overall territory of the building is 2067 square meters. The synagogue can host up to 1000 people. Until the 1917 revolution there were 5 synagogues in Kharkov, but only one of them survived until nowadays.

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