Completed Project

Jerusalem Synagogue

Prague, Czech Republic

Jerusalem Synagogue has been a religious and cultural center for the Jewish community of Prague since 1906. It is one of the few synagogues in Prague that was spared destruction. Designed by Viennese architect Wilhelm Stiassny in 1903, and completed in 1906 by Alois Richter, the synagogue reflects a unique confluence of styles, including Art Nouveau and Moorish architecture, in an early twentieth century religious and cultural building. Its large central arch frames a rosette window with the Star of David. Inside, a deep triple nave is illuminated by stained glass windows. Two rows of arches support the women’s gallery, adding a unique architectural movement to the synagogue.

Conservation work returned the synagogue to its original function

In 1989, Prague’s Jewish community and its institutions were once again established. Conservation work on the synagogue, which had been used as a warehouse during World War II, began in 1992 with restoration of the stained-glass windows. Five years later, the upper floor prayer hall was renovated, and between 2001 and 2002, restoration work on the façade and portal was completed. World Monument Fund’s Jewish Heritage Program supported the restoration of the decorative paintings in the vaults in a project between 2009 and 2010. Prior restoration work had covered the original paintings. A main goal, to restore the colors of the interior vaults by brightening and cleaning the polychrome surfaces, was achieved. After flaking and worn surfaces were strengthened, the team removed sediments and impurities from paint layers. Damage from humidity was addressed, and the considerably oxidized rods connecting the vault structures were cleaned and treated.

Jerusalem Synagogue is a testament to the growing Jewish community in Prague and its dedication to conserving its built heritage. Conservation work returned the synagogue to its original function as the center of religious and cultural activities for the community in Prague. Throughout the year, concerts of Jewish and classical music, exhibitions, and other activities are offered in the restored synagogue.

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